The leaves are changing colour and the winds are blowing cooler. Fall is here and after a great summer, it’s time to make sure your home is in top shape and ready for winter. From cleaning out your gutters to checking the batteries in your smoke detectors, these things go a long way in maintaining the value of your home and in some cases, keeping your family safe.
At least twice per year homeowners should run through a maintenance checklist. We suggest spring and fall as they are both sandwiched in between the more extreme seasons. Plus, having mild temperatures works well for outdoor tasks.
Our Fall Home Maintenance Checklist:
Rake leaves and aerate the lawn - If left on the lawn before the snow falls, come spring, piles of leaves can trap moisture and accumulate mold. By raking them in the fall you avoid interacting with heavy, water and mold-laden leaves. Aeration is the process of perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients into the grass’ roots. This helps the roots grow deeper, providing a stronger and more vigorous lawn.
Have forced air heating system inspected – Winter is coming and your family is likely to be spending more time indoors. Make sure the air you breathe is clean!
Check fireplace for hazards – Fireplace hazards can generate unwanted fires. Have a professional chimney sweeping company come out to ensure your home isn’t at risk.
Check for cracks and gaps in windows – If your home has older windows or perhaps they shifted last season, make sure you go in and seal them with caulk or other materials.
Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts – This is important to do in both seasons but in the fall, it is especially important to remove all the leaves and branches before the snow comes and freezes everything. This can lead to cracks and blockages in your drainage system.
Drain and winterize exterior plumbing – Make sure you don’t have any frozen pipes when things get cold. Dealing with burst lines is no picnic.
Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – Keep your family safe and ensure all detectors are functioning and properly placed.
Clean carpets – The summer is over and your carpets have likely seen their fair share of mud and other outdoor elements brought in from shoes. It is good to have them cleaned in preparation for the winter.
Vacuum lint from dryer vent – Over time, lint can build up in your dryer ventilation. This can become a fire hazard if left unchecked.
Oil squeaky hinges and doors – Well-oiled hinges play a large role in the longevity of your doors.
Check furnace filter – The furnace filter is another element of regulating the air quality in your home so it’s wise to check in the spring and fall.
Check bathroom caulking for deterioration – Caulking doesn’t generally degrade quickly, but over time it can begin to pull away from the wall and cease to do its job. In that case, it should be pulled out and replaced before water gets into the walls.
Check the garage door for lubrication – Garage doors are expensive to repair and replace. You can avoid some larger bills by making sure it’s well-oiled.
Check weather stripping and door sweeps – These two elements of your home can affect the size of your heating bill. Do your best to install sweeps on all of your exterior doors and check your weather stripping by running your hands along the edges of the doors. If you feel cold air coming in, you may need to replace that stripping.
Check caulk in window sills and door frames – For the same reasons you want to check your weather stripping, checking the caulk is another way to make sure your home is keeping the cold air out and the warm air in.
Check attic for ventilation and compression in insulation – Sometimes your attic can be the source of cold air in your home. Since cold air falls (whereas hot air rises), having a well-insulated attic is paramount to keeping a warm home. Make sure your insulation hasn’t compressed over time and that it is still doing its job.
Test fire extinguishers – It goes without saying that a fully functional fire extinguisher can save lives. Look online for instructions on how to check your extinguishers without making a mess.
Flush hot water tank – Hot water tanks are, by their nature, reservoirs of sitting water. Flushing your tank at least once a year ensures it doesn’t see too much build-up of hard water, rust or other potential elements that may build-up over time.