The leaves are falling, the sweaters are coming out, and the Bears are playing football. While these signs of autumn may bring a smile to Chicagoans’ faces, the season also represents the time to batten down the hatches for our city’s often brutal winters. This includes making sure your home is ready for snow, cold temperatures, and many months of being cooped up inside.

Between cups of hot cocoa and pumpkin carving, set some time aside to take care of these critical fall home maintenance tasks that can prevent problems and give you peace of mind this winter.

  • Cleaning gutters. Your dog may like a big pile of leaves, but your gutters won’t. Leaves and other debris clogging gutters can lead to water damage and other problems. If you can safely reach your gutters, clear them out. If not, hire a professional to do it for you.
  • Keep window wells clean. Whether from leaves or otherwise, a clogged window well drain will leave all that water from fall rains with no place to go but through your window and into your basement.
  • Check Smoke and CO2 Detectors. These life-saving devices are only as good as the batteries they rely on. Use the “fall back” changing of the clocks to test them and swap out the batteries if necessary.
  • Protect your paint. If you keep cans of latex/acrylic paint in your garage or shed, bring them inside as the cold temperatures can ruin them. Similarly, don’t do exterior painting in freezing temps, as the paint will not dry well.
  • Drain and store hoses and turn off outside spigots. Water left inside a hose will freeze and break the hose while letting cold enter your pipes through an open outdoor faucet can increase the risk of frozen pipes.
  • Check and prepare your furnace. Before your furnace is the only thing standing between you and freezing temperatures, make sure it’s up to the task. Have it professionally checked and consider replacing it before winter if it’s older.
  • Weatherstripping doors and windows. Keep the cold air out and your heating bills down by sealing off or caulking around windows and doors.
  • Check and clean your chimney. There are few things better than a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night. But a dirty or clogged chimney can cause dangerous problems. Clear out the fireplace, check the flue, and hire a professional if needed to clean the chimney and inspect it for soot buildup, obstructions, cracks, and signs of water damage.

If you plan on buying or selling your Chicago home or condo this fall, reach out to one of the experienced agents at Z Chicago today.