Fall means it’s time to tend to your home before the weather turns nasty. Here is a handy list of fall home maintenance tips you can rely on to prevent insurance claims and ensure a safe, cozy winter.

Check the Heating System

You definitely don’t want to discover you’re without heat during the winter. For a thorough inspection, hire an HVAC professional. They can conduct a combustion efficiency test to determine how well your furnace burns fuel, test any sensors, clean the furnace, and change filters.

If you want to minimize costs, shut off the power to the furnace, check for loose fittings, remove dust and debris, and change the filter.

Fireplaces & Wood Stoves Need TLC

A wood stove or fireplace fire can seriously damage your home if you don’t perform annual maintenance. Creosote from burned wood can accumulate and ignite as easily as paper. Once it starts to burn, it is also very difficult to extinguish.

Hire a chimney sweep to clean the chimney and inspect your wood burning device. It’s dirty, dangerous work that can damage your roof if you don’t know what you’re doing. Hiring a pro is usually very affordable.

Roof Inspection

Homeowners often ignore the roof on their home and believe they’re fine since the roof has a warranty. However, most warranties only cover defective materials, not neglect. Plus, your insurance company may not honor a claim if poor maintenance is the cause.

Reputable roofing contractors often offer HAAG or other certified inspectors with the training and experience to detect issues, correct minor problems, and recommend solutions. Weather-related incidents are the most frequent cause of insurance claims and your home’s roof is the most punished by rain, wind, and hail.

Clean Gutters & Downspouts

Ensure gutters and downspouts are free of debris and test the flow of water. Ensure water from the downspout exits away from your home and does not pool around the foundation. Roofing inspectors often include gutter and downspout cleaning in their service.

Check Insulation

A warm attic can lead to ice dams and cause major home damage. Ensure your home has adequate insulation for your zone. Energy.gov offers detailed information to help you prevent ice dams and lower your fuel bills.

Seal Drafts

Doors and windows are often sources of air leaks that can increase your heating bill and decrease comfort. Do a walk-through and check caulking and weatherstripping.

Visit your local hardware store, buy needed supplies, and seal drafts for a more comfortable, affordable heating season. Manufacturers offer products that can solve most any air leak issue.

Winterize Pipes

It is very easy and affordable to insulate the pipes in your home. It can prevent burst pipes and costly insurance claims. Visit your local hardware store and buy fitted insulation for any sized pipe. Pay special attention to those closest to the exterior and pipe elbows, because they are the most likely to freeze.

Review Safety Equipment

Check the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, flashlights, and the expiration dates on fire extinguishers. Restock the first aid kit and review your emergency phone list and evacuation plan.

Prepare Outdoors

Store garden tools, lawn furniture, and hoses and clean up leaves and branches in the yard. Move winter supplies such as shovels and salt to an easily accessible location. Check sidewalks, driveways, and patios for trouble spots and make repairs.

Check Insurance Coverage

Fall is the start of nasty weather which increases the odds of an insurance claim. The last you want to discover is you don’t have sufficient coverage or you’re not covered at all for a loss.

An annual insurance review in the fall is a great way to eliminate insurance gaps, align coverage with your needs, and protect your home. Rely on an independent insurance agency like ours for the best possible rates and coverage. Remember, we work for you – not the insurance companies.