While the fall season is a beautiful time of the year in Cambridge and the surrounding area, it is also the time of the year when a number of chores need to be completed. Not only do these chores help to keep your home looking its best, but they also help to prepare you for the upcoming winter months. To that end, here are five fall maintenance tips for your Massachusetts home.
Tip #1: Clean Up Yard Debris
Yard debris needs to be cleared away before the winter months hit. This includes making sure your gutters and downspouts are free from leaves and other debris. If left unchecked, clogged cutters can lead to wood rot and pest infestations. Water should not be coming down behind the gutters and all support brackets should be securely in place. You should also take this time to prune your trees and shrubs in order to encourage healthy growth and to prevent trees from growing into power lines or into the roof of your house.
Tip #2: Inspect Your Heating System
Your heating system should be inspected at least once per year to ensure optimal performance. Considering hiring a professional to inspect your system and to making any necessary repairs. Addressing minor problems early will help to prevent more costly repairs in the future. You should also replace your filters and clean your ducts in order to improve the efficiency of your heating system while also reducing household dust.
Tip #3: Check Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are the biggest problem area when it comes to losing heat in the winter. Therefore, you should inspect your windows and doors so you can make any necessary repairs to the window and door frames. This is also a good time to install weather stripping or to place caulk around your windows and doors in order to prevent drafts.
Tip #4: Ensure Proper Ventilation
Proper ventilation is particularly important during the winter months, so fall is a good time to ensure all of your ventilation is properly flowing. This includes inspecting your chimney and fireplace to ensure the flue has a tight seal when it is closed. If your fireplace is used regularly, you should also contact a professional to clean your chimney once per year in order to prevent fires. Similarly, attic insulation should be checked to ensure it is not covering vents and all vents should be free from plants and debris. Bird and rodent screens used for attics should also be checked and cleared of unwanted pests.
Tip #5: Look Over Plumbing
Freezing pipes can lead to disaster during the winter months. Therefore, you should look over your pipes to ensure they are well insulated before the cold weather hits. If you do not already know, you should also locate your water shut-off valve so you know where to go if you have to turn off your water if your pipes do freeze. The sooner they are shut off in this situation, the better your chances of preventing further damage from occurring.