As the summer days fade and the leaves start to change, it’s time to think about winterizing your home. This task can seem like an arduous prospect while the sun is still shining, but advanced preparation can keep you warm and comfortable when the cool nights start to take hold.

Taking the time for some basic home or lawn maintenance will help you save money and nasty surprises when it matters the most. Here are six home maintenance tips to handle in the late summer and early fall to better prepare your home for winter.

Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up

The first thing you should do to prepare your home for winter is schedule a furnace tune-up. During this process, a skilled technician will come to look at your furnace, change the filters, clean away debris, and ensure everything is working as it should. If any repairs need to be made, they’ll do what needs to be done.

Scheduling this inspection has a few overarching benefits. First and foremost, the technician will ensure that your furnace is safe to use. Secondly, you can go into the winter months knowing that the furnace works, rather than discovering an issue the first time you need it. Finally, a tune-up will improve the furnace’s efficiency, ultimately saving you money on your heating bill.

Depending on your home heating system, this is also an ideal time to schedule an HVAC inspection and chimney cleaning.

Till the Gardens

Whether you’re a lifelong gardener or someone who embraced this new hobby during the pandemic, winterizing your garden is an essential fall task that can be accomplished with an online garden store. The first step after harvesting any crops is to remove debris and till your gardens. Use this opportunity to add a layer of mulch over bulbs and wrap your shrubs in burlap for the winter.

There’s a common misconception that leaving all the leftover stems and plant matter will help fertilize the soil. However, if this vegetation is already falling and decomposing, it can introduce harmful bacteria to your garden and impact next year’s growth. If you’ve had any problems with pest or plant disease, remove the plant matter and top layer of soil.

Clean and Store Summer Tools

Once the leaves have fallen and been properly disposed of, it’s time to clean and store your summer yard tools. Taking the time to clean your tools before you store them will help protect your investment and extend their lifespan. Clean and dry your tools to remove dirt and prevent rust from developing over the winter months.

Consider storing your summer tools somewhere accessible, just in case you need them for a last-minute project. This time is also perfect for checking your winter tools — snow blowers, for example — and conducting any necessary maintenance.

Clean the Gutters

Gutter maintenance often gets overlooked each season, but it’s well worth the time to handle this task. Consider hiring a gutter cleaning expert to sweep your eavestroughs to remove dirt and debris. This task is essential in areas that get heavy snowfall, as it promotes drainage away from your house.

If your gutters are clogged, you’re more likely to experience mold and flooding. If you choose to handle this task yourself, prioritize safety.

Check the Attic and Roof for Moisture

Next, check your attic and roof to determine if any makeshift maintenance is required. First, check your attic for signs of mold and moisture. Next, look at your roof to determine if any shingles need to be patched or replaced.

Again, safety is integral when exploring the high points of your home. It’s worth hiring a roofing expert to handle this task.

Identify and Repair Drafts

Finally, look for potential drafts in your home and make repairs as needed. Fixing up the caulking around windows or installing new weather stripping can save you hundreds of dollars in heating costs.

These simple yet effective home maintenance tasks will ensure your home and property are ready for the winter months. While there are plenty of things you could add to this list, these core duties will keep you covered.

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