Winter is approaching, and while Southern California may not experience freezing temperatures, there are still some things homeowners can do now that summer is over to maintain their home.

Consider these tips as your guide to winterization.

Clean your gutters/downspouts

Your gutters are one of those things you rarely think about. Out of sight, out of mind right? Unlike laundry or mowing the lawn, it doesn’t have to be done weekly or even monthly, but it is a simple task that could save you a big headache later on. Gutters are way more important than you think, and neglecting to maintain them could cost you thousands of dollars in home repair. Your gutters are what carry rainwater from the roof, down the side of your house, and away from your foundation, decreasing your chance of flooding. Unfortunately, gutters can get easily clogged with debris, and when the water gets backed up, you could spring a leak and create a breeding ground for mold.

While you can certainly clean your gutters out on your own, it is much safer to hire a professional. Not only can they do the dirty work for you, but they can check for cracks too. Also, consider adding gutter guards to decrease debris and buildup in your gutters this season. According to HomeAdvisor, the national average cost to have your gutters cleaned professionally ranges from $105 to $196.

Winterize your pool

The warm climate means being able to extend your pool season a few extra weeks, but eventually the pool will close until spring rolls around, so it’s important that you know how to winterize it for the off-season. First things first, make sure the pH, chlorine, and alkaline levels are stable using a test kit, and make adjustments if necessary so that your pool is fresh when you open it back up. When you are thinking about closing your pool, your first thought might be to drain it completely since you aren’t using it, but colder nighttime temperatures can cause the soil to expand, leading to cracks. You should lower the water levels no more than four to six inches below the skimmer.

Before you put the cover on, make sure the pool is clean by giving it a good scrub down, and clear out any algae-causing leaves. Your pool lid should fit snugly (tip: make sure there aren’t any holes or tears where debris can slip through). Some people prefer to winterize their pool on their own, but it can be a difficult and lengthy process, making the option to call in a professional a good one to have.

Give your trees a trim

Mother Nature can knock down limbs and even entire trees. While you can’t necessarily prevent this from happening, you can remove dead and weakened limbs to reduce the change of potential damage. Pruning not only reduces the risk of fallen limbs, but it reduces wind resistance, improves tree health, and improves aesthetics.

While you are outside, conduct a thorough walkthrough of the exterior of your home, and identify any areas that could use a little bit of sprucing up. For example, firewood and toys stacked against the house provide an excellent home for mice, snakes, spiders, and other pests. Now would also be a good time to check your sprinkler system for leaks. While Southern California doesn’t typically see harsh freezes, if one is expected, it is a good idea to shut off the water supply completely, and cover any exposed pipes with insulation.

Summer will be over soon, and fall is just around the corner, so make sure your home is prepared for the changing seasons with these home maintenance tips. With a little bit of thought, work, and investment, you can ensure that your home stays strong all year long.

If you’re looking to buy or sell in Southern CA, let’s talk.