Changing leaves signal time to prep your home for winter
With home upkeep in the fall, you'll have time to hibernate later
Bring the rake, the batteries, and the chimney sweep. As the leaves change and the days get shorter, take the time this autumn to prepare for the oncoming cold weather. Ready the furnace for the months of work it will have ahead and clean out the fireplace and gutters. Test your heat to ensure it'll be working when the temperature drops.
Inside The House
- Heating system checkup - Be sure to change the air filter in your furnace and check its efficiency before the cold weather begins. Call in an HVAC contractor to test the heating output, give the system a tune-up, and check possibly hazardous carbon monoxide levels.
- Seals and ducts - Take a moment to inspect and dust your heating ducts and vents. Then check your windows for any leaks. If you feel cold air coming in, purchase a plastic sealing kit from the hardware store and place the plastic around the window to keep the heat from escaping. Be sure to check your doors as well, and fix their weather-stripping if needed.
- Check The Fireplace - Most chimney sweeps recommend an annual sweeping, depending on how often you use your fireplace. For further information, read the Chimney and Woodburning Fireplace Safety guide. Hopefully you will have your older, seasoned firewood now ready for use after sitting for the spring and summer. It's recommended to keep the firewood at least 30 feet from the house and covered. Seasoned wood is best for fires, as it burns cleaner and longer.
- Review home fire safety - The introduction of the heating season brings new potential for fire hazards. Check and replace fire extinguishers if necessary, and change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Also, go over your home fire evacuation plan with your family.
Outside The House
- The gutters - It's best to inspect and clean the gutters a few times during the fall, especially if there are many leafy trees around your house. Water will spill over clogged gutters and onto the ground next to the foundation. Gutters and downspouts should direct water away from the foundation, walkways and driveways, so they don't become slippery or icy.
- Yard maintenance - The orange, yellow, and brown colors of the autumn leaves don't look as nice on the ground as they do on the trees—scoop them into yard waste bags. Most areas have ordinances about burning leaves, so check with your local area government. After you sweep leaves off your patio, clean, pack up, and store any patio furniture for the winter
- Freezing pipes - Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the section of pipe just inside the house.
In The Garage
- Gasoline - It is recommended that you empty out unused fuel from any gas-powered equipment stored in the garage, such as a lawnmower, because sediment can build up and clog the fuel lines. Store gasoline in tanks out of children's reach and have it ready for use in your snow blower or emergency generator, if need be.
- Test your emergency generator - It's a good idea to have an emergency generator for all seasons, but ice storms are a major cause of blackouts during the winter. If you have one, haul it out and give it a test run to see if it is in good working order. Make sure you never run the generator in any enclosed space – like your garage – as it will present a carbon monoxide hazard.
Are you covered?
Talk with your agent -
State Farm® recommends
you review your insurance coverage at least annually, and fall is the perfect time. It is important to update your agent on changes in your life that could affect your insurance needs—a move, a marriage, a new baby, a new teen driver, a big purchase, or retirement.
Amy Preddy, State Farm Public Affairs, (434) 872-5211
About State Farm®
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts - more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.