Nearly 100 million Americans plan to take a summer vacation each year. When they get home, it’s about that time to start getting ready for the fall and winter season. While the kids are going back to school, it’s the perfect time to prepare your home before winter arrives. Here are tips for crafting a fall maintenance checklist for your home.
Spruce Up Your Lawn
Taking care of your lawn before winter is an essential item to add to the fall maintenance checklist for your home. Even though the leaves are falling, you should still consider pruning your trees. Tree pruning can help with grass and tree growth in the spring. Rake and dispose of the leaves instead of letting them decompose naturally. You may want to consider hiring landscaping services if you have a busy schedule or mobility issues.
Clean up falling branches and seed your grass to get it ready for spring. Make sure your grass is watered thoroughly to help prevent damage during the winter. You may want to inspect the grading of your landscape to ensure that water flows away from your home. Standing water can seep into your home and cause extensive damage. Fill in any areas where standing water may be occurring or plant shrubs to help soak up moisture.
Protect Your Shrubs
Another landscaping item to add to your fall maintenance checklist for your home is to protect your shrubs and plants. Clear out dead annuals & perennials to prevent the spread of disease and harmful insects in your flower beds. Plant new bulbs and add mulch to help protect them during the winter. Dethatch your flower beds and wipe out weeds. Cover plants with chicken wire and netting to protect them against deer.
Seal Up Your House
Gaps and cracks in your home can become more apparent as the weather gets colder. They can also be inviting entryways for pests to come in and make themselves at home. Caulk cracks around the exterior of your home for rodent and ant control. For large gaps around the exterior of your home, use an expandable foam spray. Inspect and seal plumbing and electrical outlets for air leaks.
Make sure to install storm doors and windows and remove screens. Apply weatherstripping around doors and windows to prevent drafts and lower your utility bills. If you notice moisture or fog between the window panes, that’s a good indicator that there is a failure in the seal. This means that it might be time to replace your windows. Make sure your dryer vent isn’t blocked and cover your kitchen exhaust fan when not in use.
Make Fence Repairs
Winter weather conditions can wreak havoc on your fencing. Making fence repairs is an essential item on the fall maintenance checklist for your home in order to get it ready for the harshness of winter. Inspect wood fences for rot and loose posts. Remove rotted panels and use wood putty or filler to correct small damages. Reinforce rails with brackets and fix any loose hinges on gates.
If you don’t know how to make fence repairs, you can hire a professional or find instructional videos online. Once your fencing is repaired, you may want to consider applying a protective sealant and a new coat of paint. Repairing your fence can help keep out pests from causing extensive damage to your property. It will also make sure your younger family members are kept safe and ensure your privacy from your neighbors.
Clean the Gutters
Cleaning the gutters is an essential task for the fall maintenance checklist for your home. As the season changes, heavy rainstorms and falling leaves become more common. This can become a problem for your gutters. Make sure your gutters are clear of any muck that can cause your gutters to clog. If your gutters aren’t properly maintained, it can lead to expensive water damage in your home.
Make sure your downspouts are facing away from your home. Inspect the landscape grading around your home for potential areas where water can pool on the ground. As you’re cleaning out the gutters, inspect them for any cracks or damage and make any necessary repairs. Use a hose to make sure water is flowing properly through the gutters and to flush out any remaining debris. When you’re finished, drain garden hoses before storing them for winter and shut off outdoor water valves.
Wash the Patio
Fall is the perfect time to sit outside and enjoy the changing scenery. Put preparing your patio on your fall maintenance checklist for your home to ready it for inviting guests for bonfires and holiday get-togethers. Clean sliding patio doors and inspect them for cracks. Tidy up your outdoor furniture and wash the patio. You may want to consider adding outdoor lighting to help you see while you enjoy the crisp fall weather.
If you don’t plan on entertaining outdoors during the fall season, make sure to cover outdoor furniture and barbecues or store these items in a garage or shed. Check railings and steps to ensure they are secure. Empty pots and planters to prevent dirt from freezing and cracking the containers while left outside.
Prepare for Autumn Bonfires
Fall is the best time to gather around a bonfire or fire pit on a chilly night. Make sure you have plenty of firewood and other supplies to last you throughout the season. In addition, ensure you have hoses and fire extinguishers stored nearby your bonfire area for easy access. Make your bonfire area is 25 feet away from anything that could burn and check with your local fire department about burning laws.
If you have an indoor fireplace, make sure it’s in good working order. Check the seal on the insert’s door gasket to make sure it’s tight. Inspect the glass door for cracks. Have your chimney professionally cleaned to avoid buildup that can cause a fire. If you have a gas burning fireplace, make sure to clean the blower to prevent dust accumulation from damaging bearings.
Refinish Some Interior Items
You’ll soon be spending the majority of your time indoors once the winter snow starts. Make it more enjoyable by adding some refinishing and remodeling to your fall maintenance checklist. You can start in your kitchen by upgrading to modern kitchen countertops to give yourself more room from preparing holiday meals and baking. Clean out your appliances and declutter your kitchen. You may want to consider upgrading your tile and applying new wallpaper or paint.
Your bathroom is another area you may want to upgrade during the fall season. Freshen it up by adding a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper and replacing worn tile. Upgrade fixtures and check your tub, sink, and toilet for signs of leaks. You may want to consider upgrading bathroom cabinets to create more storage space for your family.
Inspect Your Roof
Your roof is an item that shouldn’t be ignored when crafting your fall maintenance checklist for your home. Winter weather can wreak havoc on roofs. It’s important to make sure it’s protected from potential water damage. Have your roof professionally inspected for missing or damaged shingles and water leaks and make sure any necessary repairs are done. Trim tree branches around your roof to prevent damage.
Prep Yard Equipment
Another item to add to your fall maintenance checklist for your home concerns your yard equipment. Drain fuel from lawnmowers and leaf blowers before storing them for winter. You may also want to remove the spark plugs from your lawnmower before storing it away for winter. Make sure all your snow equipment is running properly. Gather and organize your snow clearing gear and clean and store gardening equipment.
If you have an underground sprinkler system, make sure that the pipes are cleared from debris before the winter months arrive. Underground swimming pools should be cleaned and covered. Make sure that any other outdoor items are brought inside before it gets cold. Stock up on winter equipment such a snowblower, shovels, ice melt, and ice scrapers.
Fix Driveway Cracks
Your driveway is another item that shouldn’t be ignored when crafting your fall maintenance checklist for your home. If you have cracks in your driveway, snow and rain can freeze in the cracks and expand the cracks. This can cause the concrete to crumble and turn your driveway into a giant pothole. Use concrete crack filler to seal up cracks to ensure your driveway is protected during the fall and winter seasons. Applying sealant can help slow down rock salt from breaking down the integrity of your driveway during the winter season.
Change Your Filters
Changing your filters is an essential item for your fall maintenance checklist for your home. If your filters become clogged, your heating system has to work harder to maintain the temperature of your home. This increases your utility bills and can cause expensive repairs if the system gets overheated. Changing your air filters can also keep out contaminates in the air that can make your family sick. If you don’t change your air filter, you can increase your risk for respiratory illness and other chronic conditions, especially if you have allergies or existing medical conditions.
Clean your filters on a monthly basis. You can vacuum disposable filters once before replacement. Foam filters do not need to be replaced. You can simply vacuum them monthly for proper maintenance. Have your heating system professionally inspected to make sure it is working properly before the colder weather arrives. Clear any debris away from your outdoor HVAC unit and apply a sealant to metal areas to protect against rust.
Flush Your Water Heater
Another task to strongly consider adding to your fall maintenance checklist for your home is flushing your water heater. The water heater should be flushed of built-up sediment. If it’s not flushed, the volume of water in your tank can be diminished. If the sediment becomes too heavy, it can cause the tank to leak. Water heater sediment buildup is not typically covered by home warranties.
Check Safety Devices
Another important task for your fall maintenance checklist for your home is to check your safety devices. Replace the batteries on carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Keep extra batteries on hand. Check your fire extinguisher and first aid kit to make sure they haven’t expired. You may also want to test your home for radon. You can purchase a kit at your local hardware store or hire a professional.
Insulate Your Attic
Before temperatures fall, check the insulation, ventilation, and screening in your attic. When working on this task for your fall maintenance checklist for your home, ensure that the insulation doesn’t cover up vents in the eaves. Insulation that isn’t installed properly can cause moisture build-up that can leak into your living spaces.
Ensure that the vapor barrier is facing down towards your living spaces. If it’s facing upward, cut slits in the paper to prevent built-up moisture. Make sure your attic vents are clear of debris to ensure proper airflow. Inspect and repair screens for tears or holes where rodents and pests can enter.
Clean and Organize Your Garage
Your garage shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to your fall maintenance checklist for your home. Install a heater in your garage to create a comfortable working environment during the winter months. Rotate seasonal storage items for easier access. Put summer equipment in the back and bring holiday decorations and other items towards the front. Sharpen snow shovels to break through ice and slush.
Inspect your garage door to make sure it’s working properly and install weather stripping. Remove oil stains from garage flooring and add insulation. Consider adding an overhead storage system to create more space. Get rid of outdated items you no longer need. Inspect the walls and foundation for cracks and mold.
With your fall maintenance checklist for your home now complete, you’re ready to settle in for the long winter season. You can have peace of mind knowing your family and home is protected from the colder elements. Enjoy the fall weather with a hot beverage and celebrate all of your hard work!