Fall Home Maintenance Guide
Autumn is a lovely time of year. The changing leaves bring about an array of colors not typically seen the rest of the year. The fall is also a time of year when you need to start preparing your house for the changing of seasons.
When the weather starts to get crisp and cool, a different set of home maintenance tasks come into play. Home Warranty of America has compiled a handy fall home maintenance guide to help you protect your home systems, control your energy bills, and keep your living spaces warm and comfortable. Put these fall maintenance tips to work in your own home and reap the benefits!
1. Clean Up the Outside
Autumn is the time to prepare the outside of your home for winter. Make sure to keep your gutters and downspouts clear of falling leaves and debris. This helps to reduce stagnant water in your gutters, prevents clogs, and keeps your roof in great condition.
Before the winter weather truly begins, trim your trees and hedges. This prevents potential damage from ice and snowstorms. When you've finished with yard work for the season, don't forget to stow your garden hoses and drain the fuel from gas-powered equipment like lawnmowers and leaf blowers. Store them in a secure, dry place until you need them again.
2. Prepare the Interior of Your Home
Now that you've taken care of your yard, make sure the inside is ready for the upcoming winter weather. A simple fall home maintenance tip is to reverse the direction of ceiling fans. Running them clockwise helps to pull cool air up and keep your rooms comfortable. Setting fans at a slow speed can even help you use your furnace more effectively.
Another easy tip is to switch out your bedding when it starts to get chilly outside. Use a thicker blanket and opt for flannel sheets. Warmer bedding can help reduce your need to crank up the furnace and potentially save on energy costs!
3. Check for Drafts
When the weather cools, you may notice drafty spots around your home. Pinpoint these areas and plug the leaks by filling in cracks with caulk or foam insulation. Even a small leak can make a difference in your monthly energy bills.
While looking for drafts, inspect weatherstripping around doors and window frames. This helps to prevent cold air from getting inside your house. If the weatherstripping is worn out, simply replace it!
4. Tune up the Furnace and Chimney
Be sure to tune up your furnace before winter. This is one of the most important fall home maintenance tasks you can do. Your furnace does a lot of heavy lifting in the winter months to keep your family warm and cozy. A successful tune-up can make your system more energy efficient, and it's a great opportunity to catch small problems before they worsen and turn into major repair expenses.
If you have a working chimney, have it professionally inspected and cleaned before you use it this season. Also, stock up on a full season's worth of firewood by early fall and stack it neatly outside your home. During the winter, restocking your firewood supply can be expensive.
5. Practice Fire Safety
Frequent use of your furnace and chimney can increase the risk of a house fire. Take time to focus on fire safety by testing every smoke alarm in your home and replacing the batteries. This small home maintenance step will not only give you peace of mind when using your chimney but keep your family safe should anything happen.
6. Check Attic Insulation
An essential part of fall home maintenance is to check the insulation in your attic and replace or add more as needed. Insufficient attic insulation is one of the biggest sources of heat loss during the colder months. Look around the space–if you can see the floor joists popping out, you probably need more insulation. For larger jobs, consider hiring a professional to do a full inspection and insulation repairs.
7. Protect Your Pipes
Make sure your plumbing pipes are well insulated before the first freeze. Pipes can be prepared with insulating foam, heat tape, or even with layers of rags or newspapers. If you experience a deep freeze and are still concerned about your pipes freezing, you can turn the faucet on until it just begins to trickle. The slight flow of water is often enough to prevent freezing. For your interior sinks, be sure to open the cabinet doors below so your heated indoor air can reach the pipes.
8. Check Your Roof
Prepare your roof to handle rain and snow. Get a view of your roof from the ground, and if safe, use a ladder to see the top of the roof. Look for any cracked or missing shingles as well as large areas of rust or discoloration. If you find any of these, it’s probably time to call in a professional to inspect and fix any issues before the wet weather arrives. If you cannot safely view your roof, call a professional to inspect it.
9. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
With cool weather already here, and even colder weather on the way, you’re going to be using your heater more. If you have a fireplace, you’ll probably want to cozy up next to it now and then. There’s little risk linked to a properly installed furnace and fireplace, but when it comes to fire and carbon monoxide, you can’t be too safe. Your fall home maintenance checks should include testing both your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replacing batteries or old monitors that no longer work.
10. Get Your Pool Ready for Winter
Unless you live in a warm part of the country where you can use your pool year round, you’ll need to winterize your pool. Fall is the season to get this done. Winterizing your pool requires some significant work, but many homeowners can do it themselves.
The process involves clearing all the pool’s piping and filtration system so that water doesn’t freeze over the cold winter and cause damage. If you aren’t comfortable with this process, hire a professional to complete maintenance and repairs.
11. Fertilize and Reseed Your Lawn
Want a lush and green lawn come springtime? Try fertilizing your lawn during the fall. This should help keep your lawn’s soil and roots healthy while it goes dormant during the winter.
Reseeding your lawn in the fall may also help your lawn grow more evenly in the spring by reducing the dry or dead spots that crop up in the wintertime. This may also help reduce any crabgrass or other weeds fighting for the same space in your yard.
HWA Can Help
We hope that these fall home maintenance tips help you keep your home in top shape during the colder parts of the year. Keep browsing our website for other home maintenance tips. If you need help deciding whether or not you need home warranty coverage, give us a call at 1-888-492-7359.
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