Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
Just like we do in the spring, we need to give our homes a good cleanup in the fall. Before you think about getting out the Christmas decorations, make sure your home is winter-ready. Here's a checklist for fall home maintenance.
Inspect the roof. Replace shingles that show wear or damage. Inspect edges of any protruding fixtures like windows and chimneys. If there are any gaps, make sure they're filled in before it gets too cold and snowy.
Clean the gutters and downspouts. Make sure there are no leaves or debris to block rain and melting snow from draining away from your foundation. As an extra measure of precaution, add extensions to your downspouts to carry water away from your home and reduce the risk of water pooling around the foundation and causing water damage to your house.
Shut off the water valve to exterior spouts and drain the pipes. In colder climates, if water freezes in pipes, they could burst. Since you're not likely to use a hose and sprinkler in the winter, turning off the valve may reduce the risk of your pipes freezing. If you have automatic sprinklers, you may need to have a technician come out and drain the system.
Inspect the chimney, heating vents and the flue for any creosote buildup or other obstructions that would block smoke from exiting your home. Any blockage can also cause destructive chimney fires. It might be worth it to have a certified professional chimney sweep inspect your fireplace and chimney ventilation system.
Check insulation. The level of insulation you need depends on where you live, but it's easy to check what you need using your zip code. Check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers. Make sure they are all functioning and the detectors have batteries.
Check window and door frames for leaks. The change in temperature and humidity can cause materials to expand and contract -- which is typical wear -- but requires inspection and maintenance. Seal cracks and install weather stripping where it makes sense to minimize drafts during the colder months.
Check your water heater and furnace and change your air filter. Have a technician come in and look at your water heater and furnace to make sure everything is in working order. An inspection might cost you a few dollars now but it may save you hundreds of dollars in repairs in the middle of winter when you can't go without heat and hot water.
Now that everything is checked, cleaned, and ready for the cold weather, it might be a good time to stock up on winter supplies like a good snow shovel or snow thrower, and salt for the sidewalks. You can never be too prepared for winter weather.