Fall Checklist: Start Preparing Your Home Now

Autumn is here. There is no escaping it, and you know it. If you're like me, then you knew this and had a plan in place for the summer-to-fall transition. If this is new to you, then you'd better read the rest of this article! This fall checklist will help you plan for a smooth winter and keep you ahead of the curve.

1. Check all safety gadgets

This includes indoor and outdoor devices such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, and motion sensor lights. A good tip is to replace the batteries if you don't remember the last time you did. Also be sure to check labels for special instructions.

2. Rake those leaves

Keep lawn debris to a minimum. Leaves can hide dangers like sharp tools, and poo. Stepping in your own pet's poo is embarrassing, trust me. Fallen leaves will deprive your grass of vital sunlight in autumn. Clean your gutters: Make sure you keep this up until all leaves have fallen from the trees for the season. If left untreated, leaves in gutters can freeze with the help of moisture that can't escape because of the clog. This can prevent proper drainage when snow melts and add weight to gutters, bending and damaging them.

3. Don't delay exterior repairs

Walk the perimeter of your property checking for breaches into your home that animals or insects can enter through. Check for peeling exterior paint. This can lead to water damage and a great place for mold to hide. Pressure-wash your homes siding and outside windows and blast that dirt away. If you have outdoor lighting equipment, check for light bulbs that need to be replaced. A few more things you should look for include:

  • Driveway cracks and uneven walkways
  • Check railings and make sure they are secure, not wobbly or rusted
  • Shut off exterior faucets
  • Check your siding for loose boards


Start with cleaning your ceiling fan blades with a vacuum hose. While you're at it, flip the switch that reverses the ceiling fan rotation so warm air circulates better in a room through the winter months. Remove window air conditioner units and vacuum their internal components. Outdoor units should be covered with a fitting air conditioner cover. Sweep out and vacuum your fireplace as well. Be thorough and have the fireplace inspected by a certified professional, schedule a chimney cleaning, and heating system maintenance. While you're at it, conduct an energy audit. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.

5. Protect your Home from the elements

  • Replace all air filters to conserve energy and reduce dust circulation.
  • Check the caulking and weather seals around doors and windows for holes and draft.
  • Add weather-stripping or caulking to trouble areas where air seeps through.
  • Check your dryer vent. Make sure the exterior door to the vent closes when not in use. A clogged exhaust pipe is a fire hazard and should be cleaned biannually.

6. Stow your summer yard equipment & furniture

This includes putting away your summer equipment and preparing your winter gear for use. Let's call this rotating inventory; rotate your summer inventory with your winter inventory. Store your garden hoses, lawn mowers, and hedge trimmers towards the back of your shed or basement and move your snow equipment out to an easily accessible indoor area. It's a good idea to pre-check your winter equipment to see if it's still working and usable. No one likes to rush to the hardware store when snow is falling, only to find out that everything is sold out. It's also a good idea to clean all furniture and equipment before storing.

Official 2017 Winter Outlook from the Farmers' Almanac:

The 2017 Farmers' Almanac forewarns that exceptionally cold, if not downright frigid weather will predominate over parts of the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Midwest, Ohio Valley, the Middle Atlantic, Northeast, and New England this winter. The Farmers' Almanac's long-range weather predictions also suggest shots of very cold weather will periodically reach as far south as Florida and the Gulf Coast.In contrast, milder-than-normal temperatures will prevail over the Western States.NOVEMBRRRRR?While winter officially starts on December 21, 2016, the Farmers' Almanac predictions point to some snow and cold conditions in mid-November in the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Midwest. However, the good news is that the frigidly cold temperatures really won't take hold until much later in the season.DOWNRIGHT FRIGID FEBRUARYThe Farmers' Almanac, which breaks the country into 7 zones, and offers predictions for three-day intervals, forewarns of a mixed bag of wintry weather for both December and January. But it's really February when the frigid temperatures take hold (northern tier states could see ambient air temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero!). This is the month you want to make sure your heat works, your long johns are washed, and your slippers are nearby.WHAT ABOUT SNOW?Get the snow blowers ready in the East and umbrellas in the West! An active storm track will deliver above-normal precipitation to the Southeast, Northeast and New England states throughout most of the winter, especially February (see above!). In addition, another active storm track from the Pacific will deliver a dose of above-normal precipitation across the Western States. Meanwhile, near or below-normal precipitation will cover the nation's midsection. (Find out how much snow is forecast for your region in 2017 Farmers' Almanac.)Farmers' Almanac is also red-flagging February 16-19, when a small, but intense storm develops near the Virginia Capes and delivers a heavy snowstorm with strong winds for parts of the Tennessee Valley, through western North Carolina, the Virginias, Maryland, and Delaware northeast into southern New England "" some locations could receive 1 to 2 feet of accumulation! What other steps do you take to prep your home for the cold months? Share your thoughts in the comments below. By: Luis Leonzo Follow me on Google+