As fall approaches, protecting our homes from the cooler weather is an important step in home ownership. With fall and winter, come more rain, snow, and cooler temperatures. This is also a good time for unexpected repairs to rear their ugly heads. This fall checklist includes 8 maintenance reminders that can be completed in as little as a single weekend. These tasks will better prepare your home once the season changes, as well as reduce the chances of needing major repairs in the long run.
Get Your Furnace Checked
One of the most important things to do is have your furnace checked before you need to rely on the heat. Not only will this ensure that the heat works, but it can help you avoid serious security risks. Just before I had my furnace replaced last year, an inspection revealed a crack which could lead to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
You should also check to see if your furnace filter should be replaced. Changing the filter regularly keeps the furnace running more efficiently, and stops circulating allergens and other harmful particles. Replacement time frames vary depending on what type of filter you get. Read the instructions and follow recommended schedules.
Roof and Gutters
Gutters clogged with leaves can quickly damage a home’s foundation. Clean gutters and make sure they drain completely. Also consider walking the roof to look for leaks or damaged shingles. Only do these tasks if you are comfortable on ladders and working on the roof, otherwise hire a professional.
Caulking and Paint
Fall is a great time to check for cracked or damaged caulk around your windows and doors. Moisture can quickly leak into cracks and wreak havoc. Consider adding some weather-stripping to your windows. If you haven’t used it before, now is a good time to look into it. Weather-stripping retains heat and stops drafts. Any broken or damaged exterior paint must be scraped, primed, and repainted.
Make sure your downspouts are extended to move water 4-5 feet away from the foundation. This is an important thing to do any time of year. Check your downspouts for holes, improper fitting extensions, and debris. There are many extensions available on the market if you need to replace existing ones or add new ones.
Trim your bushes and shrubs so they are at least 1 foot away from the house. Start with the dead limbs. This will ensure good air flow and prevents moisture damage to your home. Also, clean all leaves and debris from around your foundation. Rotting leaves can attract insects and they can find their way into your home. Place those leaves in a compost bin, to be used next season as mulch to nourish a garden.
Disconnect Your Water Hose
Remember to put away your hoses for the fall and shut off water lines to the outside for the winter. This will help prevent your water lines from freezing and potentially cracking. Once shut off, go outside and open all valves so the water is drained from the lines.
Early fall is a great time of year to call a qualified chimney cleaner to clean and inspect your chimney. This will prevent dangerous and costly repairs. The National Fire Protection Association recommends: "Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary." Do not light your fireplace without an annual inspection to ensure your homes, and family’s safety.
We tend to forget about the crawl space, because we dislike getting there. This time of year is a great time to get into the crawl space to ensure that there are no problems. Check your vapor barrier, sump pumps; look for water, animal, and insect damage.
Fall is a great time to conduct a yearly home inspection. Consider getting a home inspection and audit this month. We want to help you protect your home because it is your biggest investment. Have any helpful tips? Share them in the comments. Have a great fall season!
By: Luis Leonzo