Fall Cleaning and Pre-Winterization

Mary McGrathHomeowners Insurance

The leaves begin to turn and a chill appears in the air; that’s our cue to pack up the summer gear, bust out the jackets and umbrellas, and get moving on the fall cleaning. Autumn is also the time to do some critical maintenance around the house and put some efficient (and money saving) pre-winterization measures in place. With a dedicated weekend and a solid plan, you can make the transition into the colder season a very smooth and painless one.

Here’s the plan:

I approach fall cleaning with a long-term strategy in mind. The plan is to close down summer, get ready for fall, and lay the ground work for winter. We’re not preparing for sub zero temperatures and 4 feet of snow just yet, but the coming months will bring rain, chilly days and even colder nights.  So let’s get ready for it.

First things first;

Basic Fall Cleaning

The first step in preparing for fall is cleaning up after summer. Here are some of the basic cleaning tasks that should be part of your fall cleaning routine:

  • Wash the windows (inside and out)
  • Remove and deep clean the window treatments
  • Clean walls and fixtures
  • Clean ceiling and light fixtures
  • Clean carpets as needed (muddy season is coming so it’s best to start fresh)
  • Clean baseboard heaters if you have them (soon you’ll be turning on the heat)
  • Clean the patio furniture and if you have a deck, clean it really well (we’ll talk more about the deck later)

How deep you go with your cleaning depends on what the summer handed you and how well you cleaned back in spring. If you feel the need to go deeper, you can find some great fall cleaning checklists online to get inspired. 

Once you have the cleaning done, the next step is getting your home prepped for wind, rain, and chill.

Essentials for Pre-Winterizing Your Home

It’s not the deep freeze, but it’s the big chill (along with some rain, mud, and possibly a little sleet). So in order to get ready, do some routine maintenance and periodic checks on things around the house. When the freeze hits, you’ll be happy you did so.

Here’s a list of essentials:

Clean the gutters: Leaves will be falling soon so make sure you don’t start behind the 8-ball.

Inspect the roof: While you’re up there cleaning the gutters take a look for loose or missing shingles. Also pop up in the attic during the day so you can see if any sunlight is creeping in through potential gaps or cracks in the roof.

 Replace the filter in the furnace: You want the heat to actually come on and be warm the first time you need it, so check for proper operation of the furnace and thermostat. Here are some gas furnace maintenance tips and some oil furnace maintenance tips to help you out.

Check the fireplace: Check for proper flue operation and for any obstructions in the chimney. If you used your fireplace frequently last season, call in a professional chimney sweep to get your chimney cleaned out and ready for the season.

Check your smoke and Co2 detectors: Make sure alarms are working and replace batteries as needed.

Check for drafts: Check doors and windows throughout the house for gaps that can let heat out and let in cool air in. That’s money in heating bills going literally out the window. It’s best to catch those drafts now so you have plenty of time to seal them up before it gets really cold. Here are some tips for checking the house for drafts

Clean out the clothes dryer vent: This one is often overlooked but lint regularly accumulates in the vent hose leading from the dryer to the outdoors. If the hose gets clogged it can be a fire hazard, and a clogged dryer vent can also significantly inhibit the performance of your dryer causing it to work overtime, which in turn will drive up your energy bill.

 Autumn in New England; It’s a great time to throw a log on the fire, warm up a hot cider and enjoy a good book as the leaves fall outside your living room window. Sounds beautiful, but fall is also a time that can bring clogged gutters, drafty houses, and leaky roofs. It’s kind of a buzz kill I know, but I want you to be prepared. That’s what we do at Sinclair, we think forward and we create strategies to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

Check out our Homeowners Insurance for total piece of mind coverage and in the meantime, put your fall cleaning and pre-winterization strategy in action now and you’ll be totally freed up later to sit back and enjoy the finer points of the season.

Mary McGrath
Personal Lines Manager

Fall Cleaning and Pre-Winterization