Fall Maintenance Checklist

Keeping up with seasonal maintenance is important to ensure your home remains in optimal condition.  As we bid farewell to another summer and welcome the crisp, cool air of autumn, here are some hints to help your home transition well.  Avoid unnecessary repairs, retain the condition of your property and possessions, and prepare your home for the upcoming change in seasons.

As Realtors, we see some big problems that are easily preventable with proper upkeep.  Not only can these issues be messy, they can become costly too.  Keeping up with caring for your home will save you time, money, and stress.  If a move is on your horizon, a well-cared for property will also impress prospective Buyers, providing a sense of confidence that pride of ownership has been prioritized.

1.       Paint.  Fall is a great time to complete any painting projects you may have in mind.  Temperatures remain moderate enough to open windows and allow ventilation without scorching from summer’s heat or freezing from winter’s snow.

2.       Inspect windows.  Ensure caulking is intact to properly seal windows, frames, and sills.  This will ensure efficiency, avoid drafts, or moisture seeping inside.

3.       Clean fireplace.  Clear out soot and ash, polish glass, and have the chimney and damper inspected to safeguard against fire.  Stock firewood so you’re ready for that first crisp evening.

4.       Replace furnace filter.  This should be done quarterly, and before you kick the furnace into high gear to heat your home through the cold months.  Eliminate blowing dust through your ductwork, and improve air quality through the system.  A clean filter will also ease unnecessary pressure on your furnace, allowing it to function at its best.

5.       Once your air conditioner has been turned off for the season, be sure to cover the unit to protect it from winter elements.

6.       Repair Driveway.  Seal and treat your asphalt driveway before water and ice do further damage and cause larger cracks.

7.       Inspect Siding, and brickwork around perimeter of home.  Extreme temperatures can cause warping or cracking.  Safeguard against the harsh winter elements from damaging the structure of your property.

8.       Check your roof.  Ensure shingles are fixed and not coming loose, and that flashing is secured to avoid water from creeping underneath and causing an easily avoidable leak.

9.       Review the grading surrounding your property and make sure it slopes away from the property to keep water from sitting around your foundation or finding a way in.

10.   Inspect your dryer exhaust, and remove lint or debris that may have built up.  Ensure there is a clear way for air to vent to avoid risk of a fire.

11.   Service lawnmower.  Once you’re certain your grass won’t need another cut, give your lawn tools a good clean, and tune-up as needed.  Remove excess gasoline from sitting over the winter, or add a destabilizer to prevent it from breaking down.

12.   Winterize your garden.  It’s often nice to enjoy your perennials until the first frost, but once temperatures drop, you’ll notice that your landscaping might require some tidying.  Cut down perennials as necessary as they become dormant to prepare for next spring’s growing season.  Empty pots and garden containers and store in a dry place so they’re ready for planting next spring.

13.   Prune trees, shrubs, and hedges.  Clean up over-growth, and cut out dead branches or limbs from trees.  Doing so will improve the life of your tree, increase its aesthetic appeal, as well as eliminate the possibility of damage should the weight of snow or ice bring them down unexpectedly.

14.   Pack up outdoor furniture.  Protecting your tables, chairs, umbrellas, and other outdoor items will prolong life and prevent them from wearing out or breaking sooner than necessary.  Move them indoors or to a shed if possible, or cover with a tarp and store cushions in a dry place.

15.   Organize the shed and garage.  Declutter, sort, and organize after a busy season of summer sport and recreation.  Fall is a great time to sweep out the build-up inside your shed, and vacuum the dust and sand tracked into your garage.

16.   Shut off all exterior water.  Ensure valves are closed, and drain existing/standing water in pipelines to avoid from freezing and causing a burst pipe through the frozen winter months.  If you have a sprinkler system, ensure the system is properly shut down.

17.   Clean the garbage cans and recycle bins.  Giving these containers a good hose-down and scrub now will be much more pleasant than doing so in the frigid temperatures of winter.  Remove anything that has spilled inside, bacteria that may be festering, or other potentially sticky, smelly messes that may have been neglected over the summer months.

18.   Inspect your porch or deck to ensure unwelcome guests such as raccoons or skunks do not have access.  Pack soil around the foundation, and block any openings with lattice.  Chicken wire buried below grade level may be necessary for anyone pesky and persistent looking for a winter home.

19.   Ensure all exterior areas are well sealed to avoid mice from entering.  Caulking, spray foam, metal mesh, or refreshed supplies may be required to ensure no access is possible.

20.   Dig out winter supplies.  Locate shovels, car scrapers, salt, and other necessary gear so it’s easy to grab when needed rather than buried behind the lawn mower.

21.   Clean out gutters.  This might be something to do once the leaves have fallen.  Clear debris so water can flow down and away from your house.  Build-up may prevent water from draining which can damage your eaves troughs, cause build-up, and ice-damming through winter months.