Fall Prep Part 2: Cleanup Outside Your Home

clean-guttersThe winter is a harsh time for your home, but by spending a few hours in preparation you can prevent expensive damage and make sure winter storms don’t cause damage.  Here are some tips on getting the outside of your home and outdoor yard tools ready for the season.

Getting your summer tools stored properly is key.  A power tool that will be sitting all winter has a specific way it needs to be prepped for the long rest.  Make sure all power tools are either drained of gasoline or have long term fuel stabilizer in them.  Now’s also a good time to clean and lubricate moving parts.  This goes for non-power tools as well, things like hedge clippers, rakes and shovels.

drivewayAnd while you’re putting summer tools away, it’s a good time to get winter tools out.  Get your snow blowers ready, filled with gas and oil and make sure other seasonal maintenance is done.  For snow shovels, make sure they are in good order, that there haven’t been any cracks in the handle, shaft or blade.  There’s nothing worse than having a huge snow storm and finding only then that you don’t have the tools to dig yourself out.

Now is also the time to drain and store your hoses and faucet timers.  Any residual water can freeze, even if stored in a shed, and cause damage.  So when collecting these things, give them a shake to make sure all the water is out.

Next, covering and insulating your faucets is recommended.  Hose faucet insulators are inexpensive, but keep faucets from freezing and bursting, which could cause flooding to your home or yard.

empty-potsYou’ll also want to store any pots or planters, as those can freeze and break during heavy cold spells.

home-inspectionNext, go around your home and make sure all is in good order.  Inspect you deck or balconies to make sure they’re stable and able to handle heavy snow.  It’s also a good idea to clean the gutters on your roof and street so melting snow can run off properly without pooling up.  While you’re on the roof, check any heat tape—which helps melt ice—is working.  Finally, inspect the driveway for cracks, as these can grow worse from the freezing moisture.

All these items are part form a checklist to, which when performed, will prevent any catastrophic damage.