Your siding might need to be repaired, bricks may need replacing, or your stucco might need a patch. Any moisture over the upcoming months can ice up, creep into and expand in small spaces, and cause big damage. And you'll want to make sure your electrical receptacles are water tight, or you could be dealing with dangerous shorts and expensive electrical repairs.
Damaged window frames and broken glass can let in moisture, which can lead to mold or mildew buildup. And if your windows are cracked-or simply outdated single-pane designs-they can let in lots of unwanted cold air, causing your utility bills to spike much higher than needed.
Leaky pipes can cause wood rot, foundation cracks, and high water bills. All that moisture also breeds mold and mildew, terrible for health issues. And if any uninvited pests nestled in but didn't exactly survive the winter, you need to remove them before they start to stink. Plus, even though they're not in the land of the living, they can still spread disease.
If you have and use a wood-burning fireplace, the flue and chimney can build up with ash and creosote, which restricts the flow of air and causes smoke to back up. Getting this buildup cleaned out will make sure your flue works properly and your chimney draws well.
Who Can Help
It's a dirty job, but you can do it yourself with some inexpensive tools, or you can find a chimney sweep to do it so you can stay clean.
Over time, your water heater builds up with sediment like fine sands and minerals, which restrict the amount of water it can hold. In addition to a reduced capacity, this buildup also makes the water heater have to work harder to keep the water hot. Draining and flushing the water heater will refresh its capacity, and servicing the heating elements will make sure you have plenty of hot water for the coming colder months.
Your range hood can be the difference between relaxing comfortably inside and madly scurrying outside during mealtime-depending on the pungency of the meal and your ability to keep it from charring. If the fan and filter are caked with grease, airflow is restricted and it doesn't filter the air effectively, which means opening windows and escaping to the outside are your only means for fresh air. Plus, those smells can get imbedded in your fabrics like carpet, couches, and curtains. Cleaning the hood, fan, and filter will keep the air flowing well, so your home smells fall-fresh and you don't have to run out into the cold.
Your lawn is getting ready to hibernate, so you can turn off the sprinkler system and blow out the lines to prevent breaks due to freezing. However, your lawn still needs vital nutrients before winter, so it's a good idea to rake leaves often for good sun exposure, and lay down a fall fertilizer to get it ready for next spring.
If you have a pool and don't want to spend a fortune to keep it warm all winter, now's a good time to drain it and cover it up before Mr. Frost shows up. It's also important to winterize the pump and heater system so you don't have lines freezing and breaking for a messy and expensive start to next summer's poolside fun.