Home maintenance is a year-round project. It’s one of those things you’re never quite done with. This time of year is an important time to do some critical home maintenance. It’s still warm enough to get work done, and the fall freeze hasn’t hit yet. Here are some home maintenance tasks you should get done before that freeze hits.

Roof and Gutter Work

Your roof and gutters play a critical role in protecting your home from the elements. If it’s been a while since you’ve paid either any mind, you might want to give them some attention. According to Men in Kilts, you should clean your gutters twice a year, one of those times being when leaves are falling. Leaves and twigs have a tendency to clog up your gutters, so cleaning them out will help your gutter work the way it’s supposed to. While you’re up there, take a look at your roof to make sure it’s in good condition. If you notice discoloration, buckling or warped shingles, or roofing components that have worn away, take care of those problems promptly. This will help you to avoid bigger problems later.

Fix Driveway Cracks

Water is a bit unique when it freezes in the sense that it expands as it freezes. Aside from being an interesting science fact, that means it can wreak havoc on your driveway. Cracks or pits that fill with water will worsen as that water freezes and expands. Before temperatures hit freezing marks, make sure that damage is repaired to prevent it from worsening. According to Evergreen Landscapes, the specifics on how you repair your driveway will depend on what it’s made from. Regardless of the material though, it’s best to do driveway repairs when the weather is warm and dry.

Sprinkler Maintenance

One of the other things that freezing water has the potential to damage is your sprinkler system. If you don’t remove the water from your system, it will freeze when the temperatures drop. The expansion of the ice can cause the piping of your sprinkler system to crack and break, leaving you at risk for water damage. According to The Sprinkler Guy, a sprinkler blowout involves purging the water from your systems to avoid freezing. For this maintenance project, you’ll want to pay attention to the weather. You should do it before temperatures drop too much, but not so early that your lawn suffers from lack of water.

Fertilize Your Lawn

Before you shut off your sprinkler system, fertilize your lawn to prepare it for winter. It’s important to consider the timing of this aspect of lawn care as well. You need to fertilize your lawn a couple of weeks before the ground freezes. This is important for your lawn’s health, as it allows the grass to absorb important nutrients before the grass stops growing and winter sets in. The dew that often comes in the fall also helps the fertilizer get absorbed better. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not necessarily better to fertilize before a storm. Water can help fertilizer absorb, but too much will wash it away instead.

Furnace Tune-up

As the weather turns cold, most people turn on their heaters. Since your heater probably hasn’t been on since last spring, there’s a good chance it could use some professional attention. Furnace tune-ups aren’t something you should be doing yourself. By having your furnace tuned up on a yearly basis, you save money by making sure this appliance is in good repair. Maintenance needs are caught before they become bigger problems. You’ll also save more on your energy bill since the tune-up will help your system run more efficiently.

Clean the Air Ducts

According to Better Air, you should clean your air ducts every two to five years. Even the best filters don’t filter out all the dirt and dust, so it can build up in your ducts. This can make allergies worse when it gets bad and can cause your system to be less efficient. The ideal time to do this is that short sweet spot during the spring or fall where you don’t need to use the AC to cool your house or the heater to warm it.

Performing regular seasonal home maintenance helps keep your house in good condition. Before the fall freeze hits, make sure your roof, gutters, and driveway are all in good condition. Winterize your sprinklers and fertilize your lawn. Don’t forget to make sure your HVAC system is in proper working order as well. This will help protect your home from damage and keep you comfortable during the winter.

Read this next for more tips: Maintenance Issues Common in Older Homes

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