by Windermere Staff
The leaves changing color is a sign that you may have some fall home maintenance tasks to tackle. With summer in the rearview and colder temperatures ahead, being proactive now will keep your home in pristine condition throughout the autumn days and nights. We’ve compiled a list of several tasks to tackle around your home this fall.
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
Water damage can spell serious trouble for homeowners. And with many climates experiencing additional rainfall this time of year, it’s time to prepare accordingly.
- Start by ensuring that gutters and downspouts are functioning properly. (Don’t attempt this task yourself if you have a multi-story house with a steep roof; hire a professional instead.)
- If your home is surrounded by trees, you may need to clean out your gutters a few times a year, especially in the fall. Check to make sure your gutters are flush with the roof and attached securely, repairing any areas that sag or sections where the water can easily collect and overflow.
- Clean out the gutters and downspouts, checking that outlet strainers are in good shape, and are firmly in place. Finally, check that your downspouts direct water away from your house, not straight along the foundation.
- If you haven’t already, you may want to consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards create a barrier so water can get through to your gutters, but debris can’t, limiting gutter buildup (and the time you spend cleaning out your gutters). There are DIY installation kits available, or you can always hire a professional to install a gutter guard system.
- If you have a sump pump under your house, now is a good time to test it. Run a hose to make sure draining water travels directly to the pump and that the pump removes the water efficiently and expels it well away from the foundation. For more information about how sump pumps work, go to howstuffworks.com.
Check for Leaks
The best opportunity to catch leaks is the first heavy rain after a long dry spell, when roofing materials are contracted. Check the underside of the roof, looking for signs of moisture on joints or insulation. Mark any leaks that you find and then hire a roofing specialist to repair them. Waiting for leaks to show up on your ceiling is a recipe for disaster. By then, it’s too late to act; insulation and sheet rock will have already sustained damaged, and you could have a mold problem on your hands.
Don’t forget the basement. Check your foundation for cracks, erosion, plants growing inside, broken windows, and gaps in the window and door weatherstripping. Make sure to properly seal any leaks while the weather is nice. This will ensure materials dry properly.
Fall Home Maintenance: Pest Prevention
Rodents are determined and opportunistic, and they can do tremendous amounts of property damage (and endanger your family’s health). As temperatures cool, take measures to prevent roof rats and other critters from moving in. Branches that touch your house and overhang your roof are convenient on-ramps for invaders, so trim back branches so they’re at least four feet from the house. If you do hear scuttling overhead or discover rodent droppings in your attic, crawl space or basement, take immediate action.
Maintain Your Heating and Cooling Systems
Preventative maintenance is especially crucial for your home’s heating and air-conditioning systems. Fall is a smart time to have your systems checked and tuned up if necessary. Don’t wait for extreme temperatures to arrive when service companies are slammed with emergency calls. Between tune-ups, keep your system performing optimally by cleaning and/or replacing air filters as needed.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, a professional inspection and cleaning will help prevent potentially lethal chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, always keep a supply of dry firewood or sawdust-composite logs so you have a backup heat source in an emergency.
Insulate & Seal Your Home
Insulating your home is a cost-efficient investment, whether you’re trying to keep the interior warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Aside from more major improvements like energy-efficient windows and insulation, there are some quick fixes and projects that you can tackle DIY.
If an exterior door doesn’t have a snug seal when closed, replace the weather stripping; self-adhesive foam stripping is much simpler to install than traditional vinyl stripping. If there is a gap under the door (which can happen over time as a house settles), you may need to realign it and replace the vinyl door bottom and/or door sweep. Air also sneaks inside through electrical outlets and light switches on exterior walls. Dye-cut foam outlet seals placed behind the wall plates are a quick and inexpensive solution.
Featured Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: svetikd