Squirrel on roof

Home Maintenance Tips for November

November isn’t quite winter and certainly not summer. It’s that in-between time when it’s chilly, but not bone-chilling. And it’s the perfect time to ensure your home is buttoned up and ready for the cold, wintry weather on the way. Here are a few simple things to do this month to ensure your home can handle winter’s worst.

  • Weatherproof your home by finding and sealing leaks. Cracks and gaps let heat out and cold air in. You know, drafty. Common places to find drafty spots are along baseboards, wall and ceiling junctures, windows and doors, light fixtures like recessed lights, switches, and electrical outlets.

    Fortunately, there are easy ways to find and fix leaks. Light a candle or an incense stick and hold it up to whatever you want to check for leaks, such as a window frame. Move the candle or incense stick around the entire window frame and watch for the flame to flicker or the smoke to move. If you’ve got movement, you’ve got a leak. Be sure to check your recessed or can lighting. They’re notorious for leaks. Most leaks can be stopped with weatherstripping or caulk, but large gaps and cracks may require a pro to repair.
  • Check the fire alarms. While there may be mixed reviews on daylight savings time, checking and changing fire alarm batteries always gets rave reviews. Get into the habit of checking, and if needed changing, fire alarm batteries twice a year. Synch checking the batteries with time changes to help you remember this important task. We just moved clocks back an hour. That’s your cue to check those batteries if you haven’t already.
  • Critters get cold, too! Just like you, when critters get cold, they want to go inside where it’s warmer. But unlike you, many rodents and other small animals can fit through holes no larger than a quarter to set up a winter hide-away in the attic, the crawl space, and in walls. Check the attic and crawlspace for holes. Replace any damaged vent covers and roof tiles. Seal up any holes around plumbing pipes and where cables enter your home.
  • Clear dead leaves from your lawn. Dead leaves will kill your lawn if left in place for the winter. While you can bag them and haul them off, you can nourish your lawn if you mulch the leaves with your mower instead. You can also blow (or rake if you want the exercise) the leaves off your lawn and into the woods for birds and other critters to use for winter cover. We blow the leaves once or twice a week because, well, using the blower is kind of fun. But you don’t have to do that. Once or twice during lead season, or at the end of it, is fine.