As the summer comes to an end and as we slowly near the end of the year, we might start thinking about our fall checklists pertaining to home maintenance. Why is this essential? For starters, the weather may become cooler, winds may take up speed, and getting your home repair list done in time can potentially mean fewer problems for the remainder of the year and spring next year.
That said, the team at Habitat for Humanity ReStore brings you the ultimate fall home maintenance checklist.
Fall Checklist for The Average Homeowner
Many of the tasks mentioned below are easily manageable for the typical homeowner. However, if you prefer to enlist a professional for these tasks, the investment can be highly beneficial. By avoiding expensive and potentially hazardous damages, you can ultimately save money. Explore our fall home maintenance checklist for valuable insights on cleaning gutters, roofs, fireplaces, and other essential tasks.
Sealing Air Leaks
First on our fall home maintenance checklist would be sealing up air leaks. Air leaks on the doors or windows, like weatherstripping and caulk gaps, can let cold air into the home, which can potentially drive your utility costs up, especially if the weather is chilly.
On that note, weatherstripping is a cost-effective way to keep cooling and heating costs at bay. Regular inspections of weatherstripping are crucial due to its tendency to deteriorate over time. If you suspect issues with your weatherstripping, perform a simple test by closing a door or window on a strip of paper. If it slides with ease, the stripping isn’t sealing the opening right.
Furthermore, you can always inspect the house for damaged or missing caulk around your doors and windows and seal gaps with extra caulk.
Cleaning The Gutters
There’s no fall maintenance without gutter cleaning. On a yearly basis, the drainage system diverts massive amounts of water from your roof and walls. That’s why it’s essential that you keep this system clean by unclogging your gutters. This way, they will be capable of performing their functions as supposed, and you will also delay problems with rust and corrosion. Consider using the gutters with mesh gutter guards to keep the debris from adding up.
Use The Humidifier
Remember to use your humidifier regularly, especially in the dry winter months! As you can see, fall maintenance isn’t just about hard work but alert prevention as well. Not only does using the humidifier help your skin and breathing, but it also keeps your wooden furniture from cracking. Just make sure to check and clean the humidifier parts with soapy water. Don’t forget to remove any mineral build-up with a brush or steel wool. Your home will thank you for it!
Inspect Your Roof
Dealing with a leaky roof can be incredibly frustrating for homeowners. However, it’s crucial to address the issue before winter arrives. Start by conducting a thorough roof inspection. Use binoculars if necessary to examine ridge shingles for cracks and wind damage. Inspect metal flashing around vents and chimneys, and carefully scan the entire roof for missing or damaged shingles. Additionally, pay attention to your gutters; an excess of granules could indicate roofing problems. Also, ensure your gutters are free of debris and flowing smoothly.
Here’s an important addition to your home maintenance checklist: Check for loose or missing wires if you have old TV antennas on your roof. If the antenna is no longer in use, consider removing it entirely. Taking these steps proactively can prevent minor issues from escalating into major problems later on. Stay proactive and keep your home safe!
Thoroughly Examine The Furnace
Ensuring your home stays warm and comfortable is vital, and your furnace plays a vital role in this. Regular maintenance not only saves you money but also keeps your heating system functioning smoothly. One easy task is to clean or replace your furnace filters monthly. Dust and debris can block these filters, making it challenging to maintain a cozy temperature and leading to higher utility bills. Disposable filters can be vacuumed once before replacement, while foam filters can be vacuumed and reused unless they’re damaged. Remove and wash metal or electrostatic filters with a strong water spray.
Moreover, it’s wise to have a professional inspect your heating system annually, preferably in early fall, before the heating season begins. Be vigilant for signs such as noisy belts, decreased performance, or irregular behavior, as these might indicate problems with your furnace. Keeping an eye on these factors ensures your home remains warm efficiently and helps you steer clear of last-minute issues during cold weather.
Check The Walkways
It’s essential to repair damaged walkways, driveways, and steps throughout the year, but it’s especially crucial before icy weather sets in. During fall, addressing these issues is vital to prevent small cracks from turning into costly problems. Be on the lookout for cracks wider than 1/8 inch, uneven sections, and loose railings on steps. Additionally, check for signs of deterioration like crumbling asphalt or washed-out materials on loose-fill paths. While minor repairs can often be handled by a DIY enthusiast, it’s best to leave major repairs to experienced professionals. Taking care of these repairs in the fall ensures a safer environment and avoids more significant issues down the line.
Ensure Home Safety During Fall Maintenance
Part of your fall home maintenance routine should involve reviewing your home’s safety features. This step is crucial to protect your family. Gather everyone and go through your fire evacuation plan together. Here’s what you should focus on:
- Inspect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Gently clean them with a soft brush attachment. Test their functionality by pressing the test button or using a smoke source like a blown-out candle. Ensure there’s a smoke detector on every floor, including the basement.
- Check Fire Extinguishers: Every home should have a fire extinguisher capable of handling various fires. Keep one near the kitchen; having one on each floor is advisable. Annually, check the pressure gauge to confirm it’s charged. Ensure the lock pin is secure and the discharge nozzle isn’t obstructed. Clean the extinguisher and inspect for significant damage. If it’s older than six years, replace it, and mark the purchase date on the new one.
- Review Fire Escape Plans: Ensure every bedroom has two exit paths, including windows. Confirm that windows aren’t blocked. Consider having a rope ladder near the window for emergencies in upper-floor bedrooms. Discuss fire evacuation procedures and designate a safe meeting place away from the house.
- General Cleanup: Streamline your living space by decluttering. Dispose of old newspapers and household chemicals following local guidelines. Store flammable materials and poisons in clearly labeled containers. Maintain a clear area around heaters and other heat-producing appliances.
By focusing on these areas, you’re taking proactive steps to guarantee a safer home environment for your family. Stay safe!
There are Always Things to Do
In a sense, home maintenance demands a more or less continuous approach. This fall checklist has only highlighted some of the essentials you need to take care of to be prepared for those winter months. On that note, you can always check out the exterior paint on your home, and you may also want to clean your carpets during the fall months.
Still, the list isn’t complete. If you want to learn more about fall maintenance essentials, contact us today. We’re more than happy to help.