You might think that home and yard maintenance is primarily a summer thing. After all, you’ve probably been out there mowing your lawn weekly or bi-weekly like 80% of Alabamians do. But just because the weather is getting cooler doesn’t mean the maintenance projects end. In fact, autumn is the perfect time to make sure your house is ready for the harsh weather of the winter. So here are six essential fall maintenance tasks for you to do this weekend.

Clean Your Gutters

Your gutters are responsible for draining water away from your home. But they often get clogged with leaves and other debris. While it isn’t the most pleasant chore and might involve climbing several stories, you need to clean your gutters before the cold weather arrives. If there is water stuck in your gutters, it might freeze into ice. That ice can lead to even more flooding or potentially crack your gutters. So make sure you clear out the gutters now while nothing is frozen. You’ll appreciate it in January when melting snow can easily flow off of your roof.

Make Sure Your Drainage Is Directed Correctly

When the water comes down your gutter, you want to make sure it is going away from your house. If it gets into your basement, you could end up with water damage or mold. There are over 10,000 species of mold. Thankfully, only five of them are commonly found inside, but those five can still wreak havoc on your home and your health. So make sure that your gutters drain away from your house so that you can avoid dealing with mold.

Check Your Roof

You probably don’t need to actually do anything to your roof. On average, a three-tab asphalt shingle roof will last you fifteen to twenty years. So this weekend you should climb up and take a quick look at how your roof is doing. Check for cracks, missing shingles, or anything out of the ordinary. If something does come up, you can quickly and cheaply fix it. Then you can move on knowing that your roof is secure.

Replace Your Batteries

The batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on all stories of your house need to be changed at least once a year. If you hear a small chirping sound coming from them, it means that the batteries are dying and you need to get new ones. But for your safety, it’s best to set a date to change them each year. If you don’t already have one, do it this weekend. Changing the batteries regularly ensures that you’ll be safe from fire or carbon monoxide poisoning throughout the next year.

Check for Drafts

If your house gets cold in the winter despite your heat, you might have some cracks or holes that need to be sealed up. Look around your house and find places where you might feel a cold draft. This includes windows and doors. While you might not be able to seal up every little crack, you can probably significantly reduce drafts with a little bit of work. This will not only make your house more comfortable, but will also reduce your energy bill since your heat won’t be leaking out of the house.

Prune Your Plants

Finally, it might be time to put your summer garden to bed. If you grow perennials, you should prepare them for their winter hibernation this weekend. Prune them down according to best gardening practices so that they’ll be able to grow strong and healthy in the spring.

By taking some time this weekend, you’ll be able to prepare your house and yard for the harsh conditions of winter. Regular maintenance can help you fix small issues easily and catch things before they become big problems. So add these six things to your weekend plans in order to save yourself aggravation and money later.