Winter is coming.
And for preventing expensive home repairs caused by cold winter weather, fall is the time to take action.
Here are some simple things you can do to prepare your home’s outside (and your home goods) for winter.
Properly store your lawn mower
In most of the US, you won’t have to mow your lawn during winter. This means your lawn mower will likely sit unused in the same spot for at least several months.
When this happens, the gas in your mower gas tank slowly deteriorates and can damage your mower’s internal engine parts. You can prevent this by adding fuel stabilizer (purchased for around $10 at hardware stores) to your mower gas tank. You can also add the stabilizer to your gas tank can.
After adding fuel stabilizer to your mower gas tank, run your mower for around five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reachers the carburetor.
Remove garden houses from outdoor faucets
Leaving your garden house attached to faucet can cause water to back up in the faucet and plumbing pipes in your exterior walls.
When freezing temperatures occur, this backed up water can freeze and expand, cracking your faucet and pipes.
To prevent this, detach your garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage. It’s also a good idea to turn off shut-off valves on your water supply lines leading to exterior faucets. This guards against minor leaks that could enter your faucet.
Drain your irrigation system
Your home’s buried irrigation lines can also freeze, which causes busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads. You can prevent this by:

  1. Turning off the water system at the main valve
  2. Shutting off the automatic controller
  3. Opening the drain valves to remove existing water
  4. Removing above-ground sprinter heads, shaking water out of them, and replacing them.

If your home doesn’t have drain valves, you can hire an irrigation professional to blow out your system pipes with compressed air. This is a worthy expense that can prevent problems during the spring.
Seal your home exterior
Purchase several tubes of color-matched exterior caulk (around $6 each) and seal cracks around your home exterior. Focus on cracks between your trim and siding, around your window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house.
Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the most important (and least expensive) fall maintenance jobs. This also prevents energy-wasting air leaks.
Clear your gutters and inspect your roof
After leaves fall off trees during fall, you’ll need to unclog your gutter from leaves, twigs and gunk. Clogged rain gutters can cause winter ice dams, which is an expensive repair.
You’ll also need to inspect your roof. Look for shingles that are buckled, missing and cracked, and replace them immediately. If you have problems inspecting or climbing on your roof, call a professional roofer. Your roof is a critical part of your house, and simple repairs can prevent major problems.
Simple home maintenance during fall prevents big winter problems
Performing these simple and affordable tasks during fall can prevent home-related problems in winter and spring. For more information on this subject, visit the Angie’s List website.

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