Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
Now is the Time to Prepare Your Home for Winter!
1. Clean and Check the Gutters.
Leaves can pile up in your gutters and clog your downspouts. This may then lead to unfortunate cases of roof damage and indoor leakage.
If any part of the gutters and downspouts are loose or crooked, repair or replace them right away.
2. Check Your Roof.
Check that all shingles are in good condition and in place to avoid any leaks. Immediately following winter is the storm and rains of Spring. Prepare now during the cooler weather. Also, moss can grow on your roof through moisture and organic debris. As it cultivates in your roof, it strips away the protective oils in your shingles. It also absorbs moisture. This moisture can build up and seep inside the house which will then lead to wood rot..
3. Clean the Chimney and Check the Flashing.
With the cold breeze and sometimes freezing rain coming, it’s important that your chimney is clean and ready for the season. Check for cracks and repair if necessary. If you don’t have a chimney cap, you’ll probably need to install one. It’s a great way to keep critters out and prevent leaking into your fireplace..
Make sure your flashing is in good condition. Most of the time, it can easily be repaired. Don’t hesitate to replace it if it needs to be.
4. Check Your Insulation in the Attic.
Make sure you have adequate insulation in your attic. With the current price of power you do not want to lose any heat from your heating unit or fireplace through your attic. The investment in adequate insulation will save you money spent on heating.
5. Check the Seal Around Your Windows and Doors.
Once again, the goal is to keep heat in and cold out. Replace weather stripping is it is need of repair and look for cracks in the caulk around windows. Escaping heat costs YOU money. You can test if you have an air leak by holding a lighted candle close to the joints and connections of the frame on a windy day. If it flickers, you have an air leak.
6. Prune Trees and Shrubs.
Pruning promotes growth. During the fall, it should be done strategically. With the months growing ever colder, your flora will not have sufficient time to heal.
Focus on removing parts of the tree or shrub that are dead or decaying. You should also remove branches that may fall in dangerous spaces such as the roof.
7. Disconnect the Garden Hose and Turn off the Outdoor Faucets.
While you still need to irrigate plants in the fall, you should still make sure to disconnect the garden hose from the faucets. Even if the weather’s only beginning to decrease in temperature, the nights will definitely be colder. In East Texas it may remain warm well into the holidays, but you never know when there will be a sudden drop to freezing temperatures for a short time. Water expands when it freezes; it will block the pressure released in the garden hose.
On that same note, you should also remember to shut off the valve to the outside faucets. The buildup of ice hinders proper water flow. It can also exert pressure on the pipes, which can lead to pipe bursts.
8. Properly Store Your Lawn Equipment.
The cold season will not be kind to your equipment. Make sure any gas-powered equipment is empty of fuel. Filters in your mowers should also be cleaned and maintained. Blades should be sharpened and any repairs that can be done should be done.
Preparing and maintaining your lawn equipment for the fall will help keep them safe during the winter and make them last longer in general. Besides, this will help ease the preparation for when spring arrives.
9. Aerate and Over-Seed the Lawn.
Having compacted soil in your lawn means that there is a hindrance to its overall health. Air, water, and nutrients aren’t able to penetrate the roots and thus, hindering proper growth. Aeration is an important procedure that helps relieve this soil compaction.
After aerating the lawn, you should now proceed to over-seeding. This helps create a dense covering of grass. Doing this after aeration is an optimal way of ensuring that the seeds will germinate quicker.
These two procedures are best done in the early fall. This way, there’s time for the new patches of grass to grow and develop before the frost arrives.
10. Check and Insulate Exposed Pipes.
Reduce the risk of pipe freezes and bursts by insulating all exposed pipes. This also reduces heat loss, which helps to reduce water heating costs.
11. Check the Foundation for Cracks.
Small cracks can easily become bigger, especially with unforgiving weather conditions. Since water expands when it freezes, any water that turns to ice in one of these cracks can lead to some serious damages. Make sure to check if there are any unwanted openings or cracks, and repair or caulk when necessary.
12. Patch Cracks and Repair Damage to Concrete Steps, Driveways, or Walkways.
Fixing all of these should be done before winter weather. Cracks and damages in the steps and walkways can be dangerous, especially since they’re going to be covered. While fixing them early on can prevent unfortunate accidents.
13. Cover Patio Furniture or Bring Them Indoors.
Of course, you can still use your patio furniture during early fall. However, you should cover or store them inside before the weather becomes wintery. Cold rain or snow can easily chip away at your furniture.
14. Check Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors.
To battle the freezing cold, you’re going to fire up those fireplaces and heaters. While they’re excellent in keeping you warm, they also emit a dangerous gas called carbon monoxide. Having a detector helps to keep your exposure to the gas in check.
Make sure to inspect the condition of your alarms and detectors. Also, it doesn’t hurt to keep a couple of extra batteries in hand.
15. Check If All Heating Equipment Are in Good Condition.
The last thing you want is for your house to not be warm enough. Check the furnaces. Clean the fireplace. Make sure that the heating systems have sufficient sources, may it be fuel, gas, electricity, etc. If you’re not too confident in cleaning or repairing, don’t hesitate to hire a professional.
16. Switch the Ceiling Fan Direction to Clockwise.
During the colder seasons, your ceiling fan should rotate clockwise. This way, cool air is pushed up while warm air is pushed down. This is an easy way to make the room feel warmer. Plus, it helps in keeping you from spending too much on your electric bill since heater use can be decreased!
17. Clean your Oven, Stove, and Microwave.
Clean your oven, stove heating elements, and your microwave thoroughly and make sure no debris is left on any heating elements. Please use products made specifically for oven cleaning and stove cleaning and follow directions carefully so as not to fill your home with fumes or smoke following the cleaning.
A clean oven, stove, and microwave will be more energy efficient and save energy as you do your holiday baking in November and December.