If you own your home, you can always find projects to keep you busy! Fall presents the perfect chance to tackle some specific projects that will enhance your home’s value and keep it looking great.
Your house is likely your largest single investment. Keeping it in top condition is important. It takes some time and effort, but it’s worth it!
You might find an annual to-do list helpful for keeping your home’s maintenance on track. Some tasks are better suited for a particular time of year, and in this article, we’ll look at some items to put on your fall home checklist:
- Check your heater’s health: As the leaves change colors, cooler temperatures aren’t far behind. The fall is an ideal time to check your furnace or heat pump to make sure it’s ready to keep you warm and cozy through the winter months. Not only that, having a regular maintenance check on your furnace ensures your family’s safety. A trained technician can spot problems that could lead to a dangerous situation like carbon monoxide buildup. You should change your heat/HVAC system’s filters several times each year; inserting new filters at the same time as your fall inspection is a good idea.
- Drain water hoses and secure spigots: Disconnect your exterior water hoses and cover the spigot. Drain your hoses and store them where they won’t be exposed to extreme cold. If possible, turn off the water supply to your external spigots during winter months to prevent freezing and burst pipes, which could cause costly water damage.
- Winterize your pool: Speaking of water, if you have a pool you’ll want to do a few things to protect it from winter’s effects. Drain the pool entirely (or to the level recommended by your manufacturer) and treat it with approved winterizing chemicals. The fall is a good time to clean your pool, as well. Cover the pool if possible; if you leave water in it, consider a pool pillow. This device redistributes the weight of frozen water to the pillow instead of the pool’s walls. This will prevent damage and add to your pool’s longevity.
- Clean your gutters and downspouts: It’s best to do this after most of the leaves have fallen. Clogged gutters and drains can cause water to back up and damage your walls and roof. Safety comes first--if you don’t like climbing a ladder or feel at all unstable, hire someone who’s licensed and bonded to do the work.
- Get your chimney inspected: Whether you use your fireplace or not, fall is a great time to have your chimney checked out by a certified professional. The work should include a thorough cleaning of the flues and vents, as well as an inspection for cracks and other structural damage.
- Winterize for energy efficiency: You can save significant money on your energy bill by doing a few things to keep the heat in and the cold out. Check your home’s insulation, caulking, and window casings. Re-caulk doors and windows where you spot potential leaks.
- Clean the dryer exhaust: Lint can build up in your dryer’s exhaust vent and create a potential fire hazard. Remove the plastic or metal vent piece on the exterior of your house and clean it as well as the exhaust pipe. You should also remove lint from the damper and from underneath the dryer.
- Buy supplies and check safety devices: Winter storms have the potential to leave you without electricity for an extended period of time. Stock your home and car emergency kits with water, non-perishable food items, and batteries. Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; one rule of thumb many people use is to replace these batteries on the Sunday of the time change each spring and fall. If your area is prone to ice and snow, make sure your snow shovel and ice scraper are in good shape and you have an ample supply of ice-melting product that is safe for your plants and pets.
- Empty gasoline from lawn equipment: If you don’t use your lawnmower and other gas-powered equipment during the winter, drain fuel from the tank to prevent damage.
- Take care of trees: Falling limbs and branches can cause significant damage to your home, cars, and other property. Depending on your policy, homeowners insurance may not cover damage caused by a dead tree or limb. Hiring an arborist to identify and trim dead or decaying limbs in the fall can save you lots of trouble--and money--during the winter. Weak or dying trees are more vulnerable to snow and ice, so you’ll want to remove any that are showing signs of disease.
- Protect plants and shrubs: A little winterizing can ensure your yard’s vegetation survives colder temperatures. Build a firm compost pile around your plants to provide nutrition and keep in heat. Wrapping small trees in burlap helps them fend off cold. Invest in special tents for small plants and shrubs that let light in while protecting them from the cold.
You can complete a couple of these tasks each weekend leading up to the coldest time of year in your region. That makes the work more manageable and keeps you on schedule.
It’s also smart to stay observant, not just during fall and winter, but throughout the year. The earlier you find and identify problems, the less likely you’ll have to make costly repairs or deal with the hassles that come with major damage. You’ll protect your investment and be able to fully enjoy all the comforts of home.