14 Crucial Tasks to Include on Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

  • By Jeremy Thompson
  • 01 Sep, 2016
Now that we’re heading into fall, it’s time to prepare your home for the winter months. Doing so will protect your home from damage and reduce your utility costs. 1. Inspect the roof for any damage – including missing or damaged shingles — to prevent a leaking roof during winter. Also look for damage to […] The post 14 Crucial Tasks to Include on Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
Now that we’re heading into fall, it’s time to prepare your home for the winter months. Doing so will protect your home from damage and reduce your utility costs.
1. Inspect the roof for any damage– including missing or damaged shingles — to prevent a leaking roof during winter. Also look for damage to the rest of the home’s exterior, including the siding and foundation, and make repairs as needed.
2. Schedule a heating system inspection.The technician will make sure your system is working properly and efficiently.
3. Seal gaps around siding, windows and door frames.Silicone caulk works well on exterior surfaces because it won’t shrink or be affected by outdoor elements. More recent houses (built within the last 50 years) often don’t need new weatherstripping around doors but older homes might or you need it if you can see daylight around the door from inside the home. Also seal gaps around the home, such as on the foundation, where rodents could enter. Mice only need a small gap to enter, and they’ll be looking for a warm home once winter hits.
4. Clean your gutters.Do so before the snow hits to prevent clogged gutters when the snow melts, particularly to prevent ice dams which occur when melting water backs up and leaks into your home. Also make sure the gutters are directing water away from the foundation and not dumping it around your foundation; install an extender if necessary to direct the water at least 3 to 4 feet away from your home’s foundation.
5. Prevent ice dams.Speaking of ice dams, clogged gutters are not the only factor responsible for causing ice dams. Hire a home energy auditor to identify areas of air leaks and inadequate insulation, which contribute to the formation of ice dams.
6. Inspect your fireplace.Hire a chimney sweep to make sure your fireplace and vents are clean and in adequate working order. This will help to prevent fires and carbon monoxide exposure.
7. Mow leaves.Use the lawn mower without its bag. Mow first in one direction, and then mow in the opposite direction. This cuts the leaves into small pieces to serve as mulch, which will decompose and nourish the lawn throughout the winter.
8. Store the lawn mower.After you are done mowing the leaves, store the mower for the winter, but winterize it first. Any fuel left in the mower’s engine decomposes and can cause problems that make the mower engine difficult to start when it’s first used months later. Check the owner’s manual for proper cold-weather storage instructions. And make sure to winterize any other gas powered maintenance tools as well.
9. Turn off the water to all outside faucets.Drain the hoses, and also turn off the shut-off value inside your home. Water left undrained can freeze and cause pipes to burst when the ice expands. Watch this video for what can happen if your pipes freeze.
10. Inspect your sump pump.Test it by slowly pouring water into the sump pit to make sure the pump turns on.
11. Reverse the ceiling fan blades.Some models have a reserse switch. If yours does, use it. It will push the heated air at the ceiling down into the room, making the room feel warmer, and allowing you to turn down the thermostat a few notches to save energy and money.
12. Buy winter supplies early.Don’t wait until winter to buy shovels and ice melt. Stock up now, and include two shovels in your purchase for when one breaks. When buying ice melt, stick with calcium chloride as rock salt (sodium chloride) can eat away at concrete.
13. Check your safety devices, including the batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and the expiration on your fire extinguisher.
14. Clean your dryer vents.Lint buildup in dryer vents can cause a fire. Also make sure your dryer vent has a screen on it to prevent rodents from entering it when they are seeking warmth. If you don’t want to hire a duct cleaning service, here’s the basic steps to do it yourself (you should consult your owner’s manual for more exact instructions):
  • Unplug the dryer/shut off the gas if a gas dryer.
  • Pull the dryer away from the wall.
  • Loosen the hose clamp.
  • Slide the hose off.
  • Vacuum inside of the hose, vent and behind the dryer.
  • Replace the hose, and tighten the hose clamp.
  • Move the dryer back towards the wall, and plug it in.
Next Steps

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