Your Home Fall Maintenance Checklist
As summer winds down and the season begins to change to fall, you know the chores and routines around your house will also start to change. To make sure your home is ready for everything that comes with a different season, keep these important interior and exterior fall maintenance tips in mind.
When it comes to getting the inside of your home prepared for fall, you need to make sure everything is ready for the cold temperatures that are soon to come. A house that isn’t prepared for dropping temperatures isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s also highly inefficient and costs you money. Therefore, you want to review the following areas.
Check for Drafts
You want to start by checking for drafts around your doors and windows. One easy way to test for drafts is to hold a lighted candle around their edges. If you see the flame waver, you have a draft you need to seal. Use caulking around the frames to plug any holes. You can also buy insulated curtains to add a little more protection around your windows.
Inspect Your Furnace
You know you’ll be needing to use your furnace soon, so fall is the ideal time to have an HVAC professional come out and inspect it. During this inspection, the technician will make sure the furnace is running properly, test for leaks, and replace the filters. You can also ask for a carbon monoxide test. Once you have your furnace inspected, it’s a good idea to buy some extra filters so you can change them every few months and keep your unit running efficiently.
Winterize Air Conditioning
If you have central air conditioning and live in an area where you won’t need to use it for a few months, you should consider covering the outdoor unit in the fall to protect it from ice and other debris falling off the roof over the winter months.
Test Home Safety Devices
Fall is a good time to go through your house and test your safety devices. First, test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to see if you need to replace the batteries. You should also check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher, and replace it if necessary. Radon is a concern over the winter months because the cold weather forces you to leave the windows shut, which makes the gas more likely to become trapped inside. Therefore, fall is a good time to have your home tested for radon.
If you often use humidifiers during the fall and winter to add more moisture into the dry air, you want to make sure they’re clean before you turn them on. Wipe out the inside compartments and then replace the old filters. Vinegar can help you remove mineral deposits, and a combination of one teaspoon of bleach for every gallon of water will disinfect them.
Winter storms can do a number on the outside of your house. That’s why the following exterior maintenance tips focus on making sure your home is ready for whatever nature throws your way. Keep in mind that weather can change quickly in the fall, so you want to take care of these tasks as soon as possible.
Do a Roof and Chimney Check
Since your roof will handle the brunt of the bad weather during winter, you want to make sure it’s ready for the task. If you can’t safely climb on your roof to look it over, you need to at least give it a visual inspection from the ground. You’ll want to replace any damaged, missing, or loose shingles before bad weather hits. Also, if you have a wood-burning fireplace and plan to use it over the winter, don’t forget to have a professional come out to inspect and clean your chimney.
Clean the Gutters
Once most of the leaves have fallen off the trees, you need to clean your gutters or hire a professional to do it for you. Clogged gutters can cause rain to back up and damage your roof. Even worse, if a poorly draining gutter system causes an ice dam to form, it could lead to major damage to your roof, gutters, insulation, interior drywall, and more.
Turn off Faucets and Store Hoses
To protect your garden hoses from freezing temperatures, you need to drain them and disconnect them from the outside spigots. Ideally, you want to store your hoses in your house so any water still inside them can’t freeze and damage them. However, if you don’t have room for that, make sure they’re completely drained and store them in a dry place. Lastly, protect your outside pipes by turning off the exterior faucets.
Reinforce Windows and Doors
To keep out as much cold air as possible and help lower your heating bill, you’ll want to reinforce your windows and doors. Check the caulk and seals around your windows and doors and replace as necessary. You can also remove the screens and replace them with storm windows and doors.
Care for Trees and Shrubs
Fall is the best time to walk around your property to see which trees and shrubs need pruning. If you see dead limbs, damaged limbs that might fall, or limbs that are too close to your roof or power lines, this is a good time to trim them. Trees go dormant in the fall, so they’re less likely to get a disease when you trim them. You should also cut back your shrubs, bushes, and flowers.
Remove Window A/C Units
If you have any window air conditioning units in your house, you want to remove them before the weather turns cold. If you have to leave a unit in the window, make sure you cover the entire outside of it with an insulating wrap to keep out the cold air.
By following these fall maintenance tips for the inside and outside of your home, you can make sure everything is ready for the changing weather.