Fall Checklist: 10 Things You Need to Do Before Winter


The leaves are changing color and the weather is getting colder – it's definitely fall! As we head into winter, it's important to make sure you're prepared. Check out our Fall Checklist of 10 Things You Need to Do Before Winter Sets In. From checking your home's insulation to getting your car ready for the cold, we've got you covered!


Like checking for roof leaks before the first snowfall of the season. Preventive maintenance is key!


It's time to get started on a few straightforward chores when the last of the summer's heat is just a distant memory and you're wearing sweatshirts rather than shorts. They'll improve the winter and stop any unpleasant surprises for next spring.


LIST #1 Clean and Stow Your Mower

Learn about fuel stabilizer if you don't already. Gas will steadily deteriorate in a mower that has been sitting for months, which could harm internal engine components. It costs $10 for a 10-ounce bottle of fuel stabilizer to stop gas from deteriorating. To help preserve spare gas during the winter, add stabilizer to your gasoline. And before storing the mower for the winter, fill the tank with stable gas. To make certain the stabilizer gets to the carburetor, run the mower for five minutes.


Run your lawn mower dry before storing it as an additional lawn mower maintenance technique.


1. Remove the spark plug once the lawnmower has cooled, then insert a capful of motor oil into the spark plug hole.


2. To disperse the oil and keep the pistons lubricated for an easy start in the spring, pull the starter cord a few times.


3. Clean the gathered grass and debris from the mower deck by tipping the mower on its side.


LIST #2 Remove Garden Hoses from Faucets


Outdoor faucets should be free of garden hoses. Water can back up in the faucets and the plumbing pipes located just inside your exterior walls if hoses are left attached. That water could freeze, expand, and break the faucet or pipes if cold temperatures arrive. Prioritize this in the early fall to prevent harm from an unexpected cold snap.


Any shutoff valves on water supply pipes that connect to outdoor faucets should be closed. By doing this, you can prevent small leaks that could allow water to go into the faucet.


Drain garden hoses while you're at it and store them in a shed or garage.


LIST #3 Drain Your Sprinkler System


Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.


  1. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve. 

  2. Shut off the automatic controller.

  3. Open drain valves to remove water from the system.

  4. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.


Hire a professional irrigation installer to use compressed air to blast out the system pipes if you don't have drain valves. A professional is worth the $75 to $150 fee to ensure the task is done correctly and to prevent springtime pipe bursts and sprinkler head repairs.


LIST #4 Seal Air Leaks


Grab a few tubes of exterior caulk that is color-matched ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a tour of the outside of your home, caulking the gaps around window and door frames, along with the places where pipes and cables enter the structure. One of your most crucial and least expensive autumn maintenance tasks is stopping moisture from entering your walls. You'll also stop energy-wasting air leaks.


Choose a pleasant day with temperatures over 50 degrees so that caulk will flow readily.


Now is the time to start thinking about winterizing your home. Check your insulation and make sure you have enough to keep your home warm throughout the winter. You should also clean out your gutters and make sure they're free of leaves and debris. This will help prevent ice dams from forming on your roof.


LIST #5 Clean Out Your Gutters

Ice dams can develop as a result of clogged gutters, which can cost a lot to fix. Once the leaves have dropped, clear your gutters to get rid of debris like leaves and twigs. Make sure the gutters aren't drooping and collecting water; tighten the brackets holding the gutter hangers and downspouts. Replace any gutters and downspouts that are worn out or harmed.


Be careful if colored grit from asphalt roof shingles is found in your gutters. This grit, which resembles sand, shields shingles from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. Look closely for additional indications of roof deterioration (#6 below); it could be necessary to replace the roof.


To avoid foundation issues, your downspouts should be at least five feet away from your home. Add downspout extensions, which cost $10 to $20 each, if they don't already exist.


LIST #6 Look Up At Your Roof

Use binoculars to view your roof from the ground if you live in a multistory home or have a steep roof.


Watch out for the following danger signs: flashing with rust patches; shingles that are missing, cracked, or buckled. Any missing, harmed, or damaged shingles must be replaced right away.


Black algae stains are only aesthetic, but dense growths of moss and lichen may be a warning of damaged roofing underlying. Hire a professional roofer for a $50–$100 evaluation.


The rubber boot that typically flashes a plumbing vent stack may fracture or become loose over time. Ensure that your boot is in good condition because it will last longer than your roof. Depending on how steep your roof is, a professional roofer will spend $75 to $150 to repair a boot.

LIST #7 Direct Your Drainage


Make sure the earth slopes away from your house by at least six vertical inches over a distance of 10 feet by carefully inspecting the area around your foundation. In this manner, you may prevent water from penetrating the soils around your foundation and causing leaks and cracks.


Make certain that no soil touches your siding.

LIST #8 Inspect Your Furnace

To have your heating system inspected and tuned up for the upcoming heating season, make an appointment with a heating and conditioning expert. A checkup will cost you $50 to $100.


A yearly maintenance agreement guarantees that you are at the top of the list for inspections and cuts the price of a single visit by 20%.


Likewise, replace the furnace filters. You should already perform this task every two months, but if you haven't, it's time. Make sure the contractor replaces the humidifier filter if your HVAC system has one.


LIST #9 Prune Plants

The end of the summer growth cycle makes late fall the ideal time to prune plants and trees. Keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet away from your home to avoid rainwater dripping into the roofing and siding and to prevent damage to the exterior of your home from strong winds.


Consult your state extension department for suggestions on how to prune particular plants in your area.


LIST #10 Check Your Fireplace Instantly


If you have a fireplace, now is the time to get it inspected and cleaned. You'll want to be able to enjoy it all winter long! And speaking of fires, make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home and that they're tested monthly.


Grab a flashlight and check up inside the fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly to ensure your fireplace is secure. Check the chimney for any blockages, such as branches and leaves, by opening the damper and looking up into the flue. The top of the chimney should be lit by the sun.


Look for broken or missing bricks and mortar in the firebox. Request a professional fireplace and chimney check if you see any damage. A checkup might cost between $79 and $500.


Every other year, you should clean the creosote buildup out of the fireplace flue. For the service, a professional chimney sweep will bill between $150 and $250.

As the weather gets colder, it's important to stay warm and safe. Follow our Fall Checklist of Things You Need to Do Before Winter Sets In and you'll be prepared for whatever the season throws your way!


What are some of the things you like to do to prepare for winter? Let us know in the comments below! And if you have any tips for staying warm and safe this winter, we'd love to hear them!


Wishing you a happy and safe winter!


12923 Fitzwater Dr. Nokesville, VA 20155 

(703) 594-3800 | jacobsandco.com

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