The changing leaves and cooler temperatures - yes, they will comes soon - are your signal that it's time to tackle your fall maintenance and get your home ready for winter. It's a good idea to clear many of the items on your list before Halloween, to minimize any hazards for young trick or treaters.
For most of us, our home is the largest investment we will make. That's why it's important to take care of it. And the best way to do that is through regular and preventative maintenance.
If the list seems daunting, try setting up a routine that tackles your checklist of ongoing and fall maintenance in smaller chunks. It makes the work easier to get done and won't see as time consuming. Remember, having a regular schedule can put a stop to the most common, and often most costly problems before they can happen.
Regular Checks, not just for fall
- Make sure air intake and exhaust vents are clear of debris.
- Check and clean range hood filters monthly.
- Test ground fault circuits on electrical outlets each month (push the test button, which make the reset button to pop up)
- If you have young kids, check electrical outlets for safety plugs.
- Keep an eye out for safety hazards, like loose handrails or buckled flooring.
- Check your smoke detectors monthly to make sure they are working (and replace batteries this fall).
For the Fall
- If you're on gas, your furnace should be cleaned and inspected at least every two years (yearly is fine, too) and every year for oil furnaces.
- If you have hot water radiators, bleed the air from them.
- Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests. If you have a wood burning fireplace that you like to use in the winter, get it professionally cleaned.
- If you have electric baseboard heaters, vacuum them to remove dust. If you heating uses ducts, remove the grilles and vacuum inside the ducts.
- If you have not yet used your furnace for the season, turn ON your gas furnace pilot light, if there is one, set the thermostat to "heat" and test the furnace.
- Once the heating season starts, clean or replace furnace air filters, each month.
- Make sure the joints on your ductwork are tightly sealed and any Insulation has not tears.
- Check that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are working well, with good airflow (the exterior damper should be help open by the airflow).
- Remove interior window screens to allow air from the heating system to keep condensation off window glass and to allow more solar energy into your home.
- Make sure doors, windows and skylight close tightly; repair or replace weather stripping if needed.
- Cover your air conditioner and shut off the power.
- Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation (so that water does not drain into your basement).
- Clean leaves from the eaves troughs and roof, and test downspouts for proper drainage from the roof.
- Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valves to outdoor hose connections and drain the exterior faucet.
- Winterize landscaping (store outdoor furniture, prepare gardens, protect young trees or bushes for winter).
- Remove debris and leaves from window wells to allow for proper drainage.
And Especially for Halloween
- Clear walkways. Don't forget, it will be dark and most visitors will not be familiar with your home.
- Avoid using candles. Paper and straw decorations aw well as costumes can easily catch fire. uses battery-operated candles and lights instead.
- Use lots of lights to make access to your door easier.
- Keep pets contained. Barking dogs can frighten little ones.
Selling Your Home This Fall?
Get your home's value - our custom reports include accurate and up to date information.