Your Guide to Fall Home Maintenance

by Courtney Christensen

The fall season is upon us. It’s time to welcome cool nights, colorful leaves, and, yes, pumpkin spice. It’s also time to check up on your home – make sure it’s in tip-top shape before the coldest months of the year begin. Doing a few simple maintenance tasks at the beginning of every season is the best way to keep your home running smoothly.

Outside

Clean your gutters. If you don’t already have gutter guards, cleaning out your gutters should be a frequent chore. It’s even more important in the fall because your gutters will quickly fill with leaves and debris as the trees shed their leaves.

Power wash your siding and windows. Summer storms are notorious for excess rain and high winds. This causes mud and dirt to build up on the exterior of your home all summer long. Take your power washer and spray down your siding and windows to clear away all that mud, dust, and dirt away.

Drain and store hoses. Now is the time to store your hoses for the winter. Even in the fall, temperatures can drop pretty low at night – you definitely don’t want water freezing in your pipes. Drain the hoses and put them away in your shed or garage.

Wrap insulation around outdoor faucets. Once you have taken the hose away, you’ve got to prevent freezing of the faucets themselves. Wrap insulation (which you can buy at most hardware stores) around the faucets to keep things warm and dry throughout the colder months.

Inspect the roof for missing tiles and leaks. Another victim of summer storms is the roof. Often, roof tiles will be damaged or torn off altogether during a bad thunderstorm. Do a thorough look for any tiles that are broken or gone entirely, and be sure to examine those areas for leaks as well—getting these fixed before winter is a good idea, as the freezing temperatures can cause even more damage.

Fertilize and reseed your lawn. While fertilizing your lawn should be done a few times a year, fall is the perfect time to reseed the yard as well. Like many plants, grass does not die during the winter but instead roots deeper into the ground to prepare for the long months ahead. Fertilizing and reseeding before that happens helps protect your lawn and make sure it’s green and healthy come spring.

Trim dead and dangerous tree limbs. The last thing you want to happen during the winter is for a tree branch to fall onto your roof and create a hole. During the winter, tree limbs that have been dying all year turn brittle and can break. Take a look around your property, especially near your home, and remove any tree branches that look like they may fall. Calling a local tree specialist won’t hurt – they will be able to let you know which branches are the riskiest.

Inside

Check your fireplace and chimney. Most people begin using their fireplace during fall and into spring. Over the summer, the build-up of debris and tar from last winter can cause issues. Check to make sure there are no cracks in the glass and that the gasket seals tightly. If your chimney looks particularly dirty, call a chimney sweep for help.

Weatherproof and winterize windows and doors. Check for tight seals around external doors and windows. Fix drafty windows with new caulking and heat-shrink insulation. These can both be purchased inexpensively at any hardware store.

Replace the furnace filter. Every three months, you should replace your furnace filter. If you own several animals, or several people are living in the home, you should be doing this even more often. The more people and pets, the more dust and allergens will be in your home – your furnace filter helps keep all of that out of the air.

Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Most alarms these days have a built-in failsafe for dying batteries. Often, they will beep at you until you fix the issue. However, every few months, you should be checking to make sure the batteries are in working order. If not, replace them immediately.

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