What a beautiful fall in Central Oregon! These warm, sunny days can keep us busy with fun outdoor adventures, but it’s also the optimal time to prepare your property for winter.

Here a few winterization projects for you to consider doing yourself or hiring a professional to complete this fall.

Blow out sprinklers

If you have an irrigation system, having your sprinklers blown out before the ground freezes is critical for preventing costly damage and repairs next spring. Although you can blow your own sprinklers out with a compressor, a reputable company will also calibrate your irrigation system and shut off the main backflow as required by law to protect city water lines and sewer systems.

Protect hose bibs

Winterizing your outdoor spigots is a relatively easy project to do on your own. It’s important to detach all garden hoses from outdoor faucets, close the inside shut-off valve (usually inside your home) and drain the faucet fixture before it freezes. Putting inexpensive hose bib covers on is another protective measure that can prevent a costly plumbing repair.

Cover crawl space vents

Fall is an ideal time to inspect your crawl space vents to check for broken screens and repair them to keep rodents out before you cover the vents for the winter. Some crawl space vents have attached doors that you can latch, but even with them, using a special crawl space cover can provide added insulation and protection.

Clean gutters

Removing leaves, pinecones and pine needles from your gutters in the fall is a good seasonal project that prolongs the life of your roof and prevents water damage—both interior and exterior—to your home. It also reduces the potential nesting of rodents, birds and insects.

Recycle lawn debris

Removing and recycling lawn debris isn’t just a springtime project, and to encourage residents to clear defensible space around their homes this fall to protect against wildfire, Deschutes Recycling is charging half of its normal rate over the next two weekends for the disposal of grass clippings, leaves, pine needles, pine cones, weeds, branches, brush and small stumps or trees. Get more information, including dates and times, here.

Check exterior door frames

Over time, door frames can become misaligned causing small gaps that reveal daylight between a door and its frame. While it’s good for a house to “breathe” for optimal indoor air quality, these small gaps can make heating inefficient and invite rodents. In addition to checking your exterior pedestrian doors, make sure the seal on your garage door is secure.

Change furnace filter

Even for people without allergies or sensitive respiratory conditions, changing the filter in your furnace needs to happen more often than you might think. Depending on the size of your filter and how frequently you are using your heating system, you may need to change the filter in your furnace as often as every month, especially in the winter.

Prune ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses are a beautiful, low-water addition to landscaping in Central Oregon. Although they are relatively low maintenance, cleaning and pruning them in the fall ensures healthy growth in the spring, and this video from the Central Oregon Gardening Extension Service at Oregon State University shows you how.