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10 Things You Should Do Now to Make Sure Your Home is Cozy and Safe This Winter

Fall is finally here with its crisp, cool weather. While that means slipping on cozy sweaters and sipping warm mugs of pumpkin spiced drinks, it’s also important to make sure you’re thinking about fall home maintenance.

After all, no one likes to deal with things like water damage or fallen tree limbs. With that in mind, the experts at Hippo Home Care shared their best tips for keeping our houses and yards in shape while we all wait for spring to return.

Take a look at their fall home maintenance checklist:

Mulch Exterior Garden Planters

Sudden frosty overnight temps can wreak havoc on outdoor gardens, even for those with the greenest thumbs. “A simple way to guard your plants and flowers against a chilly night is to layer mulch across your planter surfaces,” Hippo Home Care suggests. “Mulch provides an insulated cushion, making it easier for plants to retain heat when temperatures drop.”

Clean Up Dryer Vents

“A clogged dryer vent is one of the most common causes of home fires,” the company warns. They recommend investing in a dryer vent brush, like the Sealegend Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit (Buy on Amazon $16.99), to sweep both your dryer screen and the vent tube attached to your machine. “This will clear up most of the lint build-up and oftentimes will help drastically reduce your energy bill, and lead to a longer lasting unit.”

Clean Gutters

It’s time to grab the ladder, a pair of gloves, and get all the gunk out of those rain pipes. “Leaves and debris can quickly build up in household gutter lines, leading to excess water that can seep through walls,” HHC explains. “This can damage drywall and molding around the home.”

Trim Trees

Trees add a lot of beauty to our yards, but their limbs can cause some serious damage — especially if you live in an area where high winds or storms are common. HHC recommends using a hand saw or trimers to remove any branches that don’t look totally stable. You might also want to consider hiring professionals to get the job done for super tall or hard-to-reach limbs.

Store Patio Furniture

“Patio items that are left out during the winter months can experience unnecessary weathering and shorten their lifespan,” the company tells us. “After a full season of use, cleaning and storing your patio furniture can help it last for many more summers to come.” They suggest removing any cushions and using a hose to spray and wipe down outdoor furniture before storing.

Steam Clean Carpets

You might not think about your carpets while considering all your seasonal cleaning needs, but it’s the perfect time to give them a good scrub. “Mold can creep into your home completely unnoticed in the fall and winter months,” HHC explains. “Use a carpet cleaner to do a thorough deep cleaning of your floors to help remove excess moisture and clear out possible debris.”

Drain Outdoor Watering Hose

This is another one that’s often overlooked, but the company warns they can cause water lines to crack and potentially rupture when water freezes inside. “First, locate and close the shut-off valve on the spigot of the hose (most likely located near your garage or basement.) Once closed, drain the valve to let all the excess water out.”

Change Out HVAC Filter

We all want to avoid getting sick during cold and flu season, not to mention the ongoing pandemic. “A dirty HVAC filter will turn a light brown color and, if not changed regularly, can lead to health concerns,” HHC explains. “An easy fix is to swap out filters every few months to maintain a functional heating and cooling system that keeps air clean.”

Refresh Outdoor Grills

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where you still get a few nice days for an outdoor BBQ (or you don’t mind braving the cold), you’ll still need to give your grill some extra attention. “Once the winter weather hits, make sure your grill has been properly cleaned and covered. Use a grill brush to clean all residue from the grill plate and a wet rag to clean off the exterior,” the company suggests.

Check Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Detectors

“Making sure you are protected against household fires starts with a functioning smoke detector and fire extinguisher,” HHC warns. Check the batteries of your detectors and the pressure gauge of your extinguishers to make sure they’re still protecting you and your family. If not, grab replacements ASAP! You can find budget-friendly options at most hardware stores, like Kidde FireX Hardwire Smoke Detector (Buy at Home Depot, $29.97) and Kidde 5-B:C Rated Disposable Fire Extinguisher (Buy at Home Depot, $9.88).

Be sure to tick all the items from this fall home maintenance checklist to keep your cozy and safe as possible all season long!

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