Fall Maintenance Guide
Fall is the perfect time to ensure your home in winter ready and to finish up any big projects while enjoying the more temperate weather. Below is a list of things to do or check on and suggestions to make your fall maintenance routine a walk in the park.
- Gutters: clean your gutters or have them professionally cleaned. In addition, cover them with mesh guards to keep additional debris from returning. Make sure your gutters are flowing freely.
2. Weather Stripping: Weather stripping helps with energy efficiency by reducing drafts. Check weatherstripping around windows and doors. If your home has older weatherstripping it may be time to replace.
3. Caulking: Check for damaged caulk around windows and doors. Also, check where electrical wires from the exterior of the house come in. If caulk is weathered, it is a great time to go over these areas to ensure you keep unwelcome pests and critters out and keep your heat in.
4. The Roof: Check the roof for cracks, loose shingles, and wind damage. Use binoculars if necessary. Wintery weather along with the humidity of summer wreaks havoc on roofs and it is better to deal with any repairs needed during the fall than during the middle of a winter storm.
5. Outside Faucets: Close and shut off outside faucets. If there is no shut off valve it is a wise choice to purchase faucet covers which will protect them from freezing temperatures. Make sure to drain the line. Also turn off any in-ground irrigation systems and drain those lines as well.
6. Furnace: Clean or change your furnace filter. A clogged filter will affect the ability to keep your home comfortable and will increase your utility bill. You can vacuum a disposable or foam filter. If the filter is metal, remove first and wash with water before drying to re-insert. Make sure to have your furnace checked once a year. You should do this sooner though if it is making strange sounds, or doesn’t seem to be working efficiently. This could be due to damaged belts, a faulty thermostat, or misadjusted furnace.
7. Fireplace: Check your fireplace flue for any damage and hazards like creosote (a flammable by-product of burning wood). You should have a chimney sweep inspect and clean professionally if deposits are over 1/8 inch thick. You can check yourself by shining a flashlight of the flue. The flue should have a tight seal with closed. You should also check for blockages within the flue such as bird nests. A chimney cap can prevent blockages from happening. In addition to checking the flue, you should also inspect the damper. Make sure it opens and closes properly. Also, check that the there are no loose/broken joints around the flue.
8. Wood burning stove: If you have a wood burning stove, you should inspect the stovepipes and check for any cracks that could leak fumes into your home. Also, check for loose joints and clean/replace as needed.
9. Exterior: You should make sure all walkways, driveways, and steps for cracks that are more than 1/8 of an inch wide. If so, reseal as necessary and if they are uneven level for safety purposes. Trim back large branches and bushes to prepare for winter. It is also a great time to clean up any patio furniture before storing away.
10. Interior: Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries annually. Also, make sure there is one on each floor including the basement. It is always good to go over fire escape plans with the family once a year as well. While inspecting your smoke detectors it is wise to ensure your fire extinguishers are still functional and that the lock pin is intact and that the discharge nozzle is not clogged. Remember that extinguishers that are 6 years or older should be replaced.
We hope this checklist will be useful for fall maintenance around your home. Happy Fall from the Ellen Clark Team!