Fall is here, which means the days grow shorter, the air has a crisp breeze to it, and the leaves begin to change color. It’s that time of year where you can cheer on your favorite football team, decorate the mantel with a garland, and get cozy by the fire. Amongst all the excitement around fall, it’s also time to start preparing your home for the change in seasons. There are many indoor and outdoor household tasks to tackle during these autumn months so you’re prepared for any seasonal storms that may arise.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled the ultimate fall home maintenance checklist so you can make sure your home is in tip-top shape for the change in weather. Keep reading to see how you can complete your home maintenance tasks before autumn turns to winter.
Fall home maintenance checklist: 6 indoor tasks
#1: HVAC System
It’s important to have your heating systems inspected and repaired before winter sets in. You’ll want to check all the HVAC vents and air ducts for dust and debris that built up over the summer. Your local HVAC company can help you do routine maintenance and cleaning before the fall season. Routine maintenance can help your heating system work more efficiently and cut down on any dust that contributes to household allergies. Make sure that you’ve moved anything flammable away from your heating system or heating vents. Check that your thermostat is working properly and consider installing a programmable thermostat to help reduce energy costs during the colder months.
Prepare for winter by making sure that your plumbing systems are intact and operating properly. Check and test the pressure valves on your water heater for any leaks. To prevent your pipes from freezing, consider having a licensed plumber insulate pipes in the basement, garage, and attic spaces. You may want to disconnect and drain exterior plumbing to keep pipes from freezing. These include hoses, outdoor faucets, and sprinklers. In the event of any early season freeze, you’ll want to know how to shut off the main water valve.
#3: Windows and doors
If your home is located in a place like Louisville, KY, or Cincinnati, OH where winter storms are common, you may want to change out summer screens on your windows and doors to winter storm screens to prevent storm damage. Inspect your windows and doors for any signs of drafts. If needed, install weather stripping and caulking to help defend against drafts. If your home has storm doors or windows, inspect them for any broken glass or cracks that indicate you’ll need to have professional repairs. You’ll also want to examine screens for any unwanted pests and schedule a pest inspection if needed.
#4: Insulation and ventilation
As you’re completing your fall home maintenance checklist, double check to make sure your insulation is in good condition. Start by sealing any cracks in the foundation or walls to help prevent heat loss. Make sure to check your attic and basement for any signs of moisture. If you notice insulation blocking any vents, move the insulation to prevent ice dams. Check ridge vents or vents at eaves for any debris or weeds and remove these blockages.
Regular appliance upkeep is a key part of home maintenance. If you haven’t checked your appliances lately, it’s a good idea to add this task to your fall home maintenance checklist. Check any hoses that are attached to the sink, washer, refrigerator, and dishwasher for leaks and tighten as needed. If repairs are necessary, now would be the time to schedule them.
When performing maintenance on your appliances, keep an eye out for any potential fire hazards. Built up lint in and around your dryer can cause fires, so clean these out regularly. And if your home has a fireplace or you regularly light candles throughout your home, make sure you remove any fire hazards, like newspapers.
#6: Safety gear
A vital part of home maintenance is to check safety equipment like carbon monoxide detectors or smoke detectors. Test any detectors around your house and replace batteries if needed. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, make sure to install one.
You’ll also want to test fire extinguishers and ensure alarm systems are working properly. In addition to taking these safety measures, review and practice your home evacuation plan. Have a home evacuation plan ready for any natural disasters or emergencies.
Fall home maintenance checklist: 7 outdoor tasks
#1: Gutters and downspouts
One major fall home maintenance task you’ll want to complete is cleaning out and inspecting your gutters and downspouts. Start by cleaning out any leaves or debris. This will help prevent rot, pests, and rusted gutters. Check gutter support brackets to make sure none are loose. You’ll also want to double check that water isn’t flowing down behind the gutters, draining, or pooling near the foundation or driveway. Other signs of gutter problems may be a curled roof, warped flashing, or leaking vents.
#2: Exterior and roof
Before winter, be sure to inspect the exterior of your home, including the roof. This is a critical step to ensure your home is in the right condition to withstand the weather. If you see signs of peeling paint, this may indicate that your home’s exterior is no longer protected. In that case, consider applying a fresh coat of paint to provide another layer of protection.
When examining the roof, keep an eye out for loose or missing shingles. These are vital layers to protect your home from water damage during the fall and winter months. If you see these signs of damage, it’s better to have your roof repaired before your roof begins to leak during a storm.
It’s important to have a chimney inspection before starting up your fireplace for the autumn season. A professional can inspect for any cracks, signs of damage, and any soot or creosote buildup, which is a potential fire hazard. Make sure to have the flue tested to ensure the seal is tight. It’s a good idea to have the chimney professionally cleaned to remove any toxins.
If you have a lawn, make sure to fertilize, aerate and reseed it as part of your fall home maintenance checklist. You’ll also want to winterize the sprinkler system, which can be done on your own or with the help of your local landscaping or lawn care company. Pruning your trees and shrubs can help them grow a bit before winter is in full swing. If you have large trees located near power lines or your home, consider hiring a tree service to trim them to help avoid potential outages or caved-in roofs in the event of severe storms or winds.
#5: Patio work
To prevent hazardous walking conditions, it’s important to tend to sidewalks, driveways, and front steps. If you have railings leading up to your home or on a back deck, check that they are in good condition and aren’t showing signs of instability or rotting wood. If needed, make repairs to ensure that any railings and decks can stand up to the colder weather. Before the winter rain and snow begins, store away any summertime outdoor furniture to prevent damage. That way your furniture will be in tip-top shape once spring returns.
#6: Pool preparation
If your home has a pool, there are a few important fall home maintenance tasks you’ll want to tick off your checklist. First, consider hiring a professional to help winterize your pool and conduct any related pool maintenance. They can help you decide on the right pool cover and add important chemicals before your pool hibernates for the season. Additionally, store away any chemicals in a safe place during the winter months when you won’t be using your pool. If you have a hot tub, fall is a great time to have any maintenance done.
#7: Snow equipment
When preparing your home during the fall, make sure your snow equipment is working properly and easy to find. Store shovels, rakes, and snow blowers in a place where they aren’t exposed to the elements and you can easily access them in case of early-season snowfall.
The most important step on your fall home maintenance checklist is preparing in advance. If you see a problem with your home, don’t wait until the last minute or the first winter storm. Stay proactive and schedule any necessary inspections, cleaning, and maintenance as soon as you can.