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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Feel that chill in the air? It's finally autumn and time to prepare your home for falling leaves, cooler weather, and eventually, winter storms. By following this fall home maintenance checklist, you can ensure that your home is ready for the colder months ahead, reduce energy costs, and prevent potential issues before they become major problems. Most of these are very DIY-friendly, but if you'd rather hire a professional to handle them, it can be well worth the expense. You'll save money in the long run by preventing costly (and potentially dangerous) damage to your home.

1. Clean Gutters

Remove leaves, debris, and any blockages to ensure proper drainage. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and water in your basement, so let's make sure this system is collecting and draining water efficiently! If you were considering gutter guards, now would be a great time to install them.

2. Seal Air Leaks

Up to 40% of a home’s energy loss comes not from insufficient insulation, but rather air leaks. Drafty windows and doors, and penetrations through ceilings (think bathroom vents and recessed lights) can all lead to conditioned air escaping, and unconditioned air sneaking in. Caulking windows, adding weather stripping to doors, and air-sealing ceiling penetrations with spray foam are all excellent ways to eliminate this energy loss.

3. Replace Your Furnace Filter

A clean filter helps air flow freely and can reduce the load (and therefore energy usage) on the system. Now would be a good time to schedule a service to your entire heating system, as well, if you haven't had one in a while.

4. Aerate Your Lawn

You can rent a lawn aerator at any home and garden equipment rental store, or hire a local landscaping company to do it for you. If you decide to rent, try and find one that actually removes plugs of soil rather than one that just pokes holes in the ground. Be sure to look out for any sprinkler heads or termite stakes, as these can be damaged if driven over.

Now would be a good time to put down lawn fertilizer, as well.

5. Turn Off And Drain Outdoor Water Systems

To avoid frozen or bursting pipes and protect your outdoor water sources, there are a few maintenance steps you should follow:

  • Drain and remove garden hoses to store in a shed or garage for the fall and winter

  • Drain any in-ground irrigation systems according to the manufacturer’s directions

6. Check Your Detectors

With furnaces turned on, the windows closed and portable heaters humming along, fall is a great time to make sure your smoke and CO detectors are working. Check batteries and expiration dates – smoke detectors are typically good for 10 years, and CO detectors last for about six years.

7. Bring Any Extra Touch-Up Paint Inside

Paint doesn't handle extreme temperatures very well. So, if you live in a cold climate, add this to your fall chore list: Bring the latex/acrylic paint into the house. And while you're at it, don't forget the latex caulk. Freezing will both latex paint and caulk.

8. Schedule Chimney Maintenance

If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, now would be a great time to have the entire system inspected by a professional. They will ensure that the chimney is clean, help to ignite pilot lights, confirm gas systems are functioning correctly, and make sure the damper is operated correctly.

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