Shorter days and cooler weather make it tempting to curl up under a blanket and hibernate until spring. It’s a good plan, but before the snow flies, cross these six home improvement projects off your list.
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1. Clean the gutters
The first snowfall of the season is not the time to learn your gutters are filled with debris or too loose to handle the weight of the snow.
“Falling leaves can create a buildup, and when it rains or eventually snows and the snow melts, the water will need a clear path to run,” says Steve Cunningham, owner of Cunningham Contracting and chair of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “Making sure you have clear downspouts has the same reasoning, [so] debris does not build up.”
Clean your gutters, or better yet hire a pro to tackle the job. While you're at it, look for areas where gutters are loose and may have torn away from the house. Reattach them using gutter spikes, brackets or hangers. Clean, well-secured gutters are essential to protect the foundation of your home and reduce the risk of basement flooding.
2. Check smoke detectors
When you change the clocks to standard time, change the batteries in your smoke detector.
“Fall is a great time to install new batteries as you are preparing your home for cooler months,” says Amy Rea, senior fire and life safety educator for the Charlotte Fire Department in North Carolina.
Remember, if your alarm chirps—a sign the battery is low—replace it, no matter the time of year.