Home Tips: Fall Preparations Before Winter

With summer in the rear window, we look forward to cooler weather in California. Fall is the perfect time to prep your home for the upcoming winter and it gives you an opportunity to really get to know your home. It’s easy to forget little maintenance tasks that need to happen seasonally in order for the home to perform properly but unfortunately, the repercussions of forgetting these tasks can really financially hurt us. There are different areas inside the house as well as outside on the property that need to be addressed and observed annually. Doing these maintenance checks prolongs the enjoyable quality of your home and helps avoid sudden unexpected expenses.

Let’s start with Indoor Maintenance… go around your house and look for areas of deterioration.

Countertops and Grout/Caulking

Look carefully around where the countertops and the wall meet in the kitchen and bathrooms, are there any little holes that could be a passageway for pests? Do you have grout on your counters that could use some TLC to remove their stains? Baking soda and water or baking soda and lemon juice become a kitchen’s best friend in cleaning grout. What about inside the bathroom showers and baths, they could be wearing away of caulk. A great tip is to use the exterior use paintable latex to seal up any holes and gaps. If the gaps and holes are wider than a quarter-inch than using plastic foam filler. Walking around and seeing what areas need addressing will allow you to smoothly flow from one task to the next. After these items have been fixed or maintained then move onto the paint.


How does the paint on your walls and around the window look like? Is there a slight draft by the windows?? Are there cracks on your walls or on the ceiling? Discoloration on your ceiling as well as your walls is a clear indication of either water, smoke, or mold damage. If you have ceiling stains that look like a wobbly dirty halo than that could be water damage and could also be coming from damaged or loose shingles or roof tiles which will need to be corrected before mold sets in as well. The last thing one needs is a hefty roof or ceiling repair bill during the rainy season. Check your home for signs of discoloration, flaking, chipped, or cracked paint, especially if you are on a regular schedule with pest control and professional cleaning services. Chemicals from cleaning products as well as pest spray can break down paint and stain or crack it by the baseboards or anywhere where the product can get near the wall. There are waterproofing and sealing paints available for indoor and outdoor use.

Batteries and Filters

The filters in your home determine the air quality in your house which in turn will have a direct effect on your health. If you have children or elderly in your home or anyone with asthma or allergies then you understand the importance of clean air. Living in California we are prone to fires and oftentimes the quality of air leaves many with migraines and nose bleeds. Air filters are so often overlooked that some don’t realize the filter is working with your HVAC system for proper use. When your filter is clean the HVAC system isn’t circulating dust and pollen as well as numerous other particles in the air and throughout your house. Before winter sets in, change your filters.

Again, living in California is synonymous with fires, and doing our part to make sure we are protected goes further than just making sure the stove is properly turned off and no matches are thrown in the trash. Walk around your house and find all the smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and take inventory of how many you have and when maintenance is done on them. Make sure you’re replacing the batteries of your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector every year and to replace the whole smoke detector every 10 years. You will need to remove your smoke detector from the ceiling and look on the back of the device to see the date of manufacture.

Now that we’ve covered some inside tasks let’s move to the outside…

With rain and wind comes a lot of leaves everywhere. Make sure you clean up your landscape so water can easily get down through away from your house.

Gutters and Downspouts

Keep your gutters and downspouts clear of any leaves and other debris. This keeps water from collecting in different areas of the house like the roof and near the foundation of the house. You want to make sure water drains away from your home. Downspouts should move run off at least 3 feet from the foundation. Your goal is to make sure water doesn’t sit by your home‘s foundation

Trees, Plants, and Bush

You will need to observe your trees and cut any limbs that are too close to your roof as well as any branches that look dead or loose. Trim your trees before the winter rain comes to avoid falling or shedding limbs from high winds damaging your home. Give your plants, bushes, and your flowers some warmth by adding some mulch to the base as well as throughout the flowerbeds.

If you live in a townhouse or a condo it’s a good time to pack up your patio and store anything that could get damaged or moldy during winter. Most buildings have separate detached storage that is often on the ground floor of the parking structure or parking lot. Many times, these areas can collect water if they aren’t in covered parking and damage stored items. Prior to winter, it’s a good idea to go through your storage and organize your items while putting away your packed summer items and patio furniture that can get damaged if displayed during winter.

It may seem like a long list of items to keep track of but just like a car’s oil change or an annual doctor’s check-up, maintaining your home before winter will save you a lot of money in negligent expenses.

In taking these steps to really observe and address your home needs you will further become acquainted with your home and learn what tools and supplies you will need to have around the house as a homeowner.