The autumn colours are magnificent but don’t let them lull you into forgetting to prepare to face Mother Nature at her most demanding. Is your home ready?

Use the table below as a checklist.





OUTSIDE

 

Clean and inspect the roof (roofing material, metal flashings, skylights, weather-stripping, etc.); remove leaves and debris and, in the case of a flat roof, make sure nothing is obstructing the drain or its protective grille.

 

Check the condition of the chimney (masonry, metal, anchors and the chimney cap or decorative top). Make sure there are no branches or bird nests. If it wasn’t done in the springtime, have the chimney swept.

 
Remove leaves or other debris from eavestroughs and check that they are securely attached. Pour water into the downspouts to make sure they are not blocked. Make sure downspouts empty out a good distance from the foundation. 
Empty window wells of any trash that might affect proper drainage. 

Remove any lint or dust that might prevent flapper valves on exhaust vents from closing tightly (dryers, range hood fan, bathroom fan, air exchangers, etc.).

 
Carefully inspect the foundation. If necessary, seal any cracks in the concrete to prevent water leaks. As required, elevate the slope of earth around the foundation to direct runoff water away from the house. 
Check the exterior cladding. To cope with winter, it should be in good condition and securely attached to the building. 

Repair the exterior sealing around doors and windows..

 
Remove vegetation encroaching on a heat pump. Make sure the device is secure and that nothing interferes with its air supply. If more than five years old, it should be checked annually by a specialist. 
Repair cracks and potholes in the driveway asphalt to prevent damage by water infiltration during freeze/thaw cycles. 
Shred dead leaves with the lawnmower as they fall to the ground. If there are a lot, collect them for composting. 
Mow the grass for the last time at 5 cm (2 in) in height when growth has stopped, usually in late October.  
Add fuel stabilizer and, if required by the manufacturer, change the lawnmower’s motor oil when storing it to ensure easier starting next spring. This is also a good time to clean and sharpen the blade and lubricate other garden tools. 
Install winter protectors for plants, shrubs and trees – but not before the ground freezes. 
Empty automatic sprinkler systems; purge with compressed air. 
Sufficiently reduce the water level in the pool below the skimmer, in order to avoid damaging the latter, Disconnect and empty pipes for storage. Purge the motor before storing it in a heated location. Remove and clean pumps and pipes for fishponds, fountains, etc., before storing in a freeze-free location. 
Disconnect, empty and store garden hoses. Make sure water pipes and valves are protected from freezing. If necessary, purge them. 
Remove from the garden shed any products (paint, grease, etc.) that would be affected by freezing. Protect lawn furniture.  
Clean the barbecue and cover for the winter. Store the propane tank in the shed.
Replace bulbs in exterior lighting.

 


INSIDE

Clean carpets, rugs, drapes and blinds, as well as the fabric of chairs and couches. Apply an appropriate coating to wooden furniture. 
Lubricate the circulating pump in the hot-water heating system and purge air from radiators. 
Clean or replace the filter in the forced-air heating system. Remove warm-air registers and return-air grilles and vacuum inside ducts. If necessary, have the heating ducts cleaned.  
If necessary, and it hasn’t already been done, have a licensed contractor clean and tune up the central heating system. 
Perform maintenance on an air exchanger or heat-recovery ventilator (HRV). 
Clean portable humidifiers or, if applicable, the humidifier attached to the central heating system. 
Vacuum electric baseboards or convection heaters to remove dust. Ensure they are located at least 10 cm (4 in) away from drapes and furniture.  
Perform maintenance on the dishwasher (washing arms, drain and door gasket). 
Check the airtight ness of windows and doors. If necessary, repair caulking and weather-stripping.
Remove any interior screens from windows to improve hot air flow to the glass and prevent condensation. If applicable, install storm windows.
Remove portable air conditioners or use the designated hood to cover it well.
If the garage is connected to the house, check the automatic door-opening equipment to make sure it closes completely.
Test the CO detector and smoke alarms; replace batteries if necessary
Clean the garage floor drain.
Check the operation of the sump pump.

Have the quality of your well water analyzed. A bacterial analysis is recommended every six months.