While the changing fall colours are beautiful, it is an excellent reminder to take care of a little routine maintenance. The following tips are related to the most common home insurance claims, so by following them, we hope to help protect you from potential problems when getting your home ready for fall.
1. Clean your eavestroughs
To get your home ready for fall, cleaning the eavestroughs is a crucial step. Throughout the summer season, they likely now have a significant build-up of leaves, seeds, sticks and other debris. The temptation is to wait until the leaves have fallen, but in truth, you should do it again as a lead-in to winter. After all, water damage is one of the most common home insurance claims.
2. Inspect the roof
While you are cleaning up the eavestroughs, do a roof spot check. It’s one of the most forgotten tasks when getting your home ready for fall. What you want to look for is any missing shingles, loose or warped roofing and/or any debris that may be building up. In some cases, you may be able to fix them yourself, but if it seems daunting, hire someone.
3. Check your weather-stripping and seals
As the weather cools down, the biggest reason for turning up the thermostat is heat loss. To keep the hot air in, check around windows for places that may need new caulking. Also, check your weather-stripping to ensure its integrity. If you find questionable places, replace it! It’s a simple and usually cost-effective way of keeping your house warm in the cooler months.
4. Drain the hose and put away tools
Fall is generally the time where you’re going to be doing a lot less gardening. As such, you can start to put away the majority of your gardening tools. In the same vein, drain your hoses, disconnect them from the line and put them out for the season. You should also clean outdoor taps and close water valves to all outside fixtures!
5. Winterproof the AC unit
Any hot days that come from September on are going to be a blessing, so it’s time to retire the AC for the year. If you have window-based units, the takedown is easy. For exterior units, covering them up from the elements is also reasonably straightforward.
6. Get your heating system inspected
Depending on the type of heating system you use, having a professional come and inspect the system is crucial. Ensuring the integrity of the systems, checking for any leaks and confirming efficiency will give you peace of mind and save you money. You should also check for carbon monoxide levels and change out air filters.
7. Chop down tree limbs
The last thing you want to do when the temperatures drop significantly is to spend time chopping tree limbs. Get ahead of this laborious maintenance while the weather is still warm! Falling limbs in the winter due to ice and snow build-up is a common cause of home damage. A little time spent now can save you from life-altering moments later!
8. Fertilize the lawn
This may not seem like something you’d typically do before the colder months, but applying lawn fertilizer in the fall will help prevent damage over the Winter and weeds in the Spring. Ask your local garden center about the different types of fertilizers, and which one you will need to apply.
9. Check smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers
Whether it’s firing up the furnace, oven or fireplace, fire damage can be devastating. To mitigate the threat, spend a few minutes checking your smoke detector batteries and performance. At the same time, check on your fire extinguishers and remind family members where to find them, if needed.
10. Inspect the chimney
Make sure there are no blockages or damage to the integrity of the chimney. You can do a check from on top of the roof and also by looking up from inside. Use a flashlight or attach a camera to a pole to help in your inspection. If you have any concerns, do not dismiss them. Call a professional immediately if you want a second opinion from a skilled tradesman.
11. Look into a programmable thermostat
Nowadays, digital thermostats are a thing of the present. If you already have a programmable thermostat, be sure to set it to lower the temperature automatically in the evening or when you’re not home. This can result in substantial cost savings!
12. Put away patio furniture
During the colder months, you won’t be making much use of your patio furniture, so time to pack it away! Be sure to clean it, remove seat cushions and store it all somewhere dry for the winter.
13. Close the pool
Last but not least, if you have a pool in your backyard, it’s time to close it for the season. If you’re unsure of how to do so yourself, you can schedule a professional to come and drain it for you.
Are you worried about natural disasters? Don’t know if you have coverage if an old sewer pipe deteriorates in your front yard? Speak to your isure insurance broker today so we can discuss your current home insurance needs, reduce your liability potential, safeguard your valuables and be better prepared for worst-case scenarios. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re now ready to take on the cool, autumn weather!