It's time to get back to reality... to pack away the summer toys and prepare your home (and yourself!) for the colder months ahead. Autumn in southern Ontario, Canada is a beautiful time for this, while the weather is still tolerable and you're still motivated to do more than make a cup of hot coco. The best way is to start at the top and work down to make sure all areas of your home are ready.
Roof. Inspect your roof from the ground, or preferably, hire a professional, and check for damaged or missing shingles, or worn or curling edges. Repair or replace your roofing materials as needed. For steel roofing, this is the time to check that all ice guards are in place and undamaged.
If your home is prone to ice dams, check your attic venting and insulation. Ask a professional if roof ice melting systems are appropriate for your home.
Also check out the chimney. If the mortar is loose or missing, hire a professional to tuck-point it for you. And check that you have a sturdy chimney cap to prevent critters’ access, looking for winter lodging.
Clean your eavestroughs of any leaves or debris to avoid clogs and spilling from heavy rains and snow. This will also help prevent ice damming which isn't covered by a lot of companies, so ensure you clean those eves!
Fireplaces. Hire professionals to clean and inspect your furnace, chimney, and all fireplaces, whether wood burning or gas. This will help them run at peak efficiency and also protect your family from potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
Windows and Doors. Check the caulking and weather-stripping around all your windows and doors and other areas where exhaust pipes penetrate the walls of your home. Replace any that shows excessive wear or cracking.
Foundation. Inspect your foundation and repair any cracks. Adjust the landscaping to ensure that water runs away from your home. Also take a look at eavestrough downspouts and make sure they are directed away from your home’s foundation.
Landscaping/Gardening. Cut back plants or split and share with friends and neighbours. Rake and remove or mulch piles of leaves from your lawn so critters don't live underneath and your grass doesn't rot. If you mulch the leaves into small bits they can stay and be spread on lawns and in gardens. Trim any trees and bushes in the fall or spring to promote the growth you are looking for.
Exterior/Yard Area. Remove all hoses and drain them and the spigot completely to prevent bursting pipes. Clean and store all patio furniture and tools and move the snow shovels and snowblower to the front (and holiday lights and decorations too, while you’re there!). Inspect your equipment to ensure it’s in good working order. The first snowstorm is going to happen sooner or later and it is not the ideal time to discover a broken snowblower! You should also have some driveway salt or kitty litter on hand too, just in case.
You may also want to seal any driveway cracks to prevent winter’s freeze/thaw from making the cracks worse.
And finally, take one last tour of your property for anything you may have missed. Porch lights are easier to replace before temperatures drop below zero. Trees that need trimming are better looked after now too.