From the crisp air and changing leaves to the start of certain sports and holiday seasons, the beginning of fall can be an exciting time. But it is also a sign to handle some important home maintenance tasks before things get too chilly. As the weather gets colder, there are parts of your home that need to either be inspected or updated altogether. Modernize has created this fall home maintenance checklist to provide tips and checks every homeowner should complete to keep their home in top-notch condition:
It is very important to check-in on your HVAC system and heater at the beginning of fall. A faulty heating system can lead to your family being very uncomfortable as temperatures drip. Additionally, heaters that do not function properly can lead to excessive money-wasting due to energy inefficiency; the system will have to work overtime to keep things up to speed.
It is a good idea to call an HVAC professional in the beginning of fall to inspect your heating system and air ducts, before the weather gets colder and demand increases. High demand not only leads to longer wait-times but often higher prices.
It’s important to make sure air ducts are well-sealed and insulated, since leaks can reduce a home’s efficiency by as much as 20 percent. Depending on how much ice and snowfall your area sees, consider placing more insulation in your attic to prevent freezing or ice dams from forming on the roof.
Insulating and Weatherproofing
While you’re at it, check the exterior of your home and caulk around where masonry meets the siding, and where pipes or wires enter your house. This will not only help keep outside elements outside, where they belong, but can also prevent water from getting trapped inside and building up into mold.
Roof and gutter maintenance
It is important to inspect your roof closely before it gets too cold. Find and replace loose roof shingles, check for storm damage, and make sure to clear out your gutters — especially after a lot of leaves have fallen.
Clogged gutters can lead to serious issues, like ice dams. It is important to clean your gutters regularly, flushing them with water and inspecting or even replacing gutters as needed. If you find yourself cleaning out your gutters too often, you may consider installing a leaf guard or opting for gutters that already have guards built-in.
Sprinkler system winterization
Proper maintenance of your sprinkler system ahead of winter will help keep faucets and sprinklers safe from damage until it is time to use them.
Winterizing your system entails turning off the main water valve. From there, set your automatic controller to rain mode, or disconnect it altogether for the season. Open the outside faucets to drain the water currently stored inside, and twist the shutoff valve to close it off when you are done. This is also the time to drain hoses and store them inside.
Tree and shrub maintenance
Consider hiring a professional to trim and prune trees on your property to avoid dead limbs falling during a storm. An arborist can also tell you if your trees are looking healthy or not and if there are any problem areas to keep an eye on.
Even if you only use your fireplace or woodstove occasionally, it is still crucial to have an annual inspection performed.
A clogged chimney can be dangerous for you and your family and can lead to accidental fires. A professional will be able to check the seal on your fireplace’s gasket and remove any flammable residue that comes from firewood and moisture.
Additionally, if you have a problem with birds visiting your chimney, consider installing a chimney cap.
Safety device checkups
Make sure to test your safety devices, including smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, home security systems, fire extinguishers, and more.
Replace batteries where applicable and check expiration dates. Fall is also a good time to check your home for radon, since it is more likely to linger in a home when windows and doors are shut more often because of cooler weather.
Exterior walkway and driveway repairs
The last item on our fall home maintenance checklist is to check your home’s exterior walkways and driveway for any needed repairs. Whether it is an uneven section in a walkway, a piece of loose deck railing, an unsecured step or a crack in the driveway, outdoor hazards like this are only bound to become more dangerous as it gets colder.
The arrival of the fall season is your sign to do a walkthrough and invest in repairs now to keep you and your loved ones safe. Dealing with these weak spots now before the cold weather comes will also save you money in the long run.
The most important thing to remember is safety for yourself and your family. This fall home maintenance checklist may seem like a hassle, but it will ultimately save you from wasting money on energy inefficiency or larger repairs down the line.