1. Clean gutters and downspouts.
Once most of the leaves have fallen, clean out gutters and downspouts (hire a helper if you are not comfortable on a ladder). Clogged gutters during rainstorms can cause water to pool and damage your roof or siding.
2. Make exterior repairs.
Take a walk around your property, looking for signs of damage to the roof, siding and foundation. If you spot anything that needs repair, schedule it before winter weather hits.
3. Seal gaps where critters could enter.
Mice need only a tiny gap to be able to sneak into your house and raid your pantry — and with colder weather coming, all of the little critters out there will be looking for warm places to make a home. Fill small holes and cover any larger gaps securely with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep the wildlife outdoors.
4. Check walkways, railings, stairs and the driveway for winter safety.
When the landscape is covered in ice and snow, just walking from the driveway to the front door can be quite a challenge.
Make navigating around your home safer by checking that all stairs are in good shape and have sturdy railings, and that the driveway is in good repair to make for easier shoveling
5. Add weatherstripping.
Weatherstripping applied around the frames of windows and doors helps boost winter warmth and cut energy costs. Add door sweeps to the base of drafty doors to keep heat in and cold air out.
6. Check safety devices.
Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed.
Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.
7. Clean dryer vents.
Lint buildup in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire — cool, dry fall weather increases static electricity, which can ignite lint that has built up, so now is a key time to get that lint out. You can hire a duct cleaning specialist to clean the vents for you, or clean the vent yourself.
8. Check Your Furnace
Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season.
Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.