2016 Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

The long, hot days of summer are fast drawing to a close. School is back in session, summer vacations are over, the days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and football is back in season. All of these things mean one thing: fall is here. And with the changing of the seasons means it is again time to knock out a few home maintenance items.

Prep the Fireplace and Chimney

Cozying up by a warm fire on a chilly winter day seems like common sense. While those cold days aren’t quite here yet, this is the time to get the prep work done so that everything is set when that cold weather gets here. Have the chimney interior inspected and cleaned to avoid any nasty surprises, like a smoke filled house or fire in an unintended place. This would also be a good time to stock up on firewood as well. Get it early before everyone else so that it won’t be sold out when you really need it.

Inspect the Roof and Gutters

Clogged gutters can be a problem, especially if they back up water drainage and that water is then allowed to freeze in the colder winter months.  As long as the gutters have been kept relatively clean throughout the year, waiting until after most of the leaves have fallen to clean them again should be alright. Check the roof for damage and get any issues fixed early to ensure the home is sealed and ready to go for the winter months. Plus, holes in the roof are a great way for critters to get when they too are trying to find relief from cold weather.

Seal Windows and Doors

The cold winter air is coming and the last place it belongs is inside the house. While it is impossible to completely stop the coldness from getting in, ensuring that doors and windows are properly sealed will go a long way in sealing off the house and increasing energy efficiency throughout the winter months. Check windows and doors for leaks and get them fixed as soon as possible. Replace any damaged or old weatherstripping as well.

Test Run the Heater

After months of no use, it is likely that the first time the heater gets turned on this season it will not smell so pleasant.  While unavoidable, try to mitigate the worst of it by planning a time to run the heater to clear it out early. Open up windows and doors to allow the house to air out during the process and spend some extra time outside enjoying a little more of the pleasant weather while it runs. Turning the heater on early will also ensure that there is time to get any issues fixed before the cold weather hits.

Check Exterior Lighting

The sun is setting earlier as the days become shorter, so ensuring that a home’s exterior is properly lit to compensate during the darker hours because more important with each passing day. Replace any burnt out light bulbs and add additional lighting in any areas that seem particularly dark, especially around the driveway, front door, and backyard. Consider putting outdoor lights on a timer or motion sensor so that there is no risk of coming home to a completely darkened house.

Trim Back Trees and Shrubbery

With trees shedding their leaves and relatively more pleasant weather coming this is a good time to get outside and inspect landscaping. Get any dead tree branches removed before the winter weather starts. The added weight from snow or ice increases the risk of them falling and causing damage the roof or house. Clean out any outdoor plants that did not survive the summer and start making plans for spring planting based on what did or did not work this past season. Finally, keep an eye on the weather forecast so that plants that can’t be exposed to freezing temperatures can be cut back before it is too late.

Plan Outdoor Living Remodels

It may seem weird to think about outdoor living remodels around the same time those areas are being phased out for the rest of the year, but this is actually the best time to start looking into those projects in earnest. Starting now will ensure that the outdoor living area will be ready just in time for the return of warm weather.