Seasonal Safeguards for Your Home

Fall and winter are good times of the year for checking that the house will get through a tough winter. The foliage is dying down, and it is easier to see if there are any shrubs hanging onto your house. Brick and siding lasts longer without clinging vines or roots.

While you are out in the yard, the hosepipe can be drained and wound up. It is unlikely you will water the garden any more, so the hose can be stored away. The water should be turned off at the exterior faucet and then just run off until it drains dry. Clean your garden furniture and store it somewhere safe and dry.

If you have planted any young trees and this will be their first winter, you may wish to protect the roots with mulch.

If you have drainage ditches, these should be cleaned out ready to accommodate extra rainfall.

Several other jobs come to mind in the fall, as it gets colder and we think of our fireplaces. Call in a chimney sweep early, as once a cold spell hits, everyone calls at the same time. In some areas, cords of wood have been harder to locate this year, even with internet access. A drive around your local rural areas may turn up wood from a hobby farmer who just hangs out a sign.

With more open fires in the home, check your fire and smoke alarm batteries are still working.

If you leave your Christmas lights up all year, check the cords are still flexible and that the plugs do not warm up when they are switched on.

Start replacing the fly screens with storm windows if you use them. The weatherstripping may need replacing around the doors after drying out all summer. We keep our windows closed more often in the winter, so ensure that your range hood filters are efficient.

Ensure that your home hasn’t settled and that the ground around the house still slopes away from it. Water constantly draining into the basement or foundation of your home is bad news. You could end up with wet rot, which could lead to dry rot, and then you will be in big trouble!

It is advisable to check your whole house for water seepage or dampness. The main areas for leaks are the roof, the downpipes from the gutter, cracks in the rendering surrounding your house, and the plumbing works inside.

Some people like to cover the exterior of their air-conditioning units to minimize drafts; if your home is older, you may want to think about wrapping any exterior pipes to protect them from freezing.

If the carpets missed a spring shampoo, make sure they get a fall one. The dust is more noticeable in winter as we tend to be more shut-in.

Finally, give the windows a clean while you can still open them freely.