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Your Comprehensive Fall Home Maintenance GuideOctober 25th, 2022 by
Autumn is the perfect time to take care of important maintenance tasks around the house. It’s not too hot or too cold, and the work you do now ensures that you’ll get through the winter safe and warm.
The goal of fall home maintenance is to get your house ready for cold weather. Some tasks are easy enough to take care of on your own. Others, like servicing your furnace or cleaning the gutters, need to be handled by the pros.
Not sure where to start? Take a look at our checklist!
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Fall Maintenance Checklist
1. Get your furnace cleaned.
Your heating system has been sitting idle during the summer heat. Make sure it’ll work safely once the temperatures drop. Schedule a fall maintenance visit with your HVAC contractor. The technician will inspect and clean the furnace. They’ll also change the filter, if needed.
This routine service visit is really important, especially if your heating system runs on natural gas or propane. A clean, well-maintained furnace will run safely and efficiently to keep you warm through the winter.
2. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned.
Before you use your fireplace, have it inspected and cleaned. This is an essential step regardless of whether your fireplace is gas or wood burning. A chimney inspector has the tools to safely check out the flue and chimney.
Creosote, or accumulated flammable soot, poses a fire risk in wood-burning fireplaces. In both gas and wood-burning fireplaces, a cracked chimney or liner could let deadly carbon monoxide into the house. These problems are serious, but they’re hard to detect unless you know what you’re looking for.
This isn’t an area to take chances on a DIY job. Call a chimney and fireplace professional.
3. Fix drafty windows and doors.
This is a task you might be able to take care of on your own. Drafts from doors and windows aren’t too hard to find. And they’re usually caused by failed weather stripping or deteriorated caulking. You can find replacement weather stripping at your local home improvement store. Pick up a tube of caulk while you’re there.
If your windows are single pane, the draftiness you notice might not be completely fixed with new weather stripping and caulk. There isn’t a quick fix for this problem, unfortunately. Single-pane windows just don’t offer much insulation. Your best bet is to do what you can with weather stripping and caulk for now. Then, start planning to replace your windows with double-pane models.
4. Have trees trimmed or taken down.
Fall is a great time for tree care for two reasons. First, it’s much easier to spot dead limbs once the leaves have fallen. The general structure of each tree is also more visible, which makes pruning easier. Second, dead limbs and weak trees need to be removed before winter precipitation arrives. Snow and ice are surprisingly heavy. A winter storm can bring down a tree in the blink of an eye.
5. Winterize your sprinkler system.
Before winter weather settles in, call your sprinkler system contractor and schedule a winterization service. This important task prevents the pipes in your irrigation system from freezing and cracking in cold weather. In the spring, have your contractor inspect the system and turn it on for the growing season.
6. Schedule a roof inspection.
Make sure your roof is in good shape to withstand winter weather. If you have any missing or damaged shingles, now is the time to have those fixed. Your roofer can also take care of any loose or deteriorated flashing. These fixes will keep your roof leak-free through the winter.
7. Get the gutters cleaned.
If your property has lots of trees, a thorough gutter and downspout cleaning is a home maintenance must. Leaves, pine needles, and twigs accumulate in the gutter troughs through the summer and fall. If you don’t clear them out now, the gutters won’t be able to handle rain and snow melt through the winter.
If your gutters and downspouts overflow, they’ll dump water at your foundation. This poses a lot of problems, from insect infestations to foundation cracks and leaks. Have your gutters cleaned now, and then again in the late spring.
8. Turn off and insulate outdoor spigots.
Before temperatures dip below freezing, turn off the water to your outdoor faucets. Once you’ve turned off the water at the spigots’ supply valves, go outside and drain the faucets completely. Finally, be sure to cover each spigot with an insulating cover.
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Fall Checklist for Your House
Take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather to make your way through your fall home maintenance checklist. Let the professionals handle the skilled or dangerous jobs, and then tackle the rest on your own. It’s well worth the work to get your house in shape for the winter.
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