10 home maintenance tips to consider before winter arrives

The leaves are still on the trees, the weather outside alternates between stifling and sweltering and the Buckeyes football season has barely begun, but for homeowners, it’s time to begin prepping for the fall and winter months.

From professional inspections to ordinary maintenance, a few simple steps taken now can help stave off problems — not to mention frantic calls for service when the furnace stops working — when temperatures start to drop.

In anticipation of the coming months, The Dispatch spoke with central Ohio home experts across several fields to highlight 10 easy things you can do now to keep your home in tip-top shape.

Service your furnace

Who wants to crank up their furnace on the first super-cold day (or night) of the year only to find that it’s missing the requisite hot air? To avoid pulling out the blankets and mittens, Atlas Butler Heating and Cooling in Columbus reminds homeowners to change furnace filters regularly. The frequency depends on each system as well as lifestyle choices, including the presence of pets or cigarette-smokers in the home.

The best bet, though, is to get your furnace checked on an annual basis. “It’s just like your car, where it needs regular maintenance,” said Sara Oliphant of Atlas Butler. The average modern, high-efficiency furnace, she said, lasts between 12 and 15 years; furnaces older than that might be better off being replaced than repaired.

Be sure to clean your gutters before cold weather sets in.

De-clutter your gutters

Everybody’s gutters fill up with leaves and debris over time, though the amount — and the frequency with which they need to be cleaned out — will depend on the foliage present around your home. For most homeowners, it’s best to call in a professional to clear and inspect gutters at least once a year to avoid problems such as water coming into the basement or damage to exterior wood.