A Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

With busy summer schedules, long hours of daylight, and family vacations, most of us spend a lot more time outside and away from home than we do inside at home during the summer.

Now, however, the days are getting shorter and temperatures are cooling off, so it’s time to focus on those routine home maintenance projects. By preparing now, you’ll be able to avoid the need for major repairs over the winter. A furnace malfunction in a snowstorm will likely cost you hundreds of dollars more than a call to your HVAC repairman now for preventive maintenance! Here’s a checklist to help you organize your household tasks for fall season. They’ll not only help you save you money on your energy bill, but they’ll keep your family safe, too.


On the Outside

  • Touch up paint on trim, decks, and railings.
  • Wash exterior windows.
  • Drain hoses and disconnect from the hydrant.
  • Gather up lawn sprinklers and garden tools and secure them for the winter.
  • Check for air leaks around windows and doors. Recaulk if necessary.
  • Check your roof for signs of damage that could lead to leaking water.
  • Clean your gutters. During the winter, clogged gutters can overflow and cause ice dams on the roof, which could create leakage problems.
  • Place your downspouts so they direct water away from the foundation and away from your sidewalks and driveways, too, to avoid slick walkways.
  • Stock up on ice melt so you don’t have to rush out during the first snow of the season.
  • Wash and winterize your outdoor patio furniture. Store in a protected place so they’ll be ready for next spring.
  • Switch out kids’ summer toys and sports equipment for fall and winter activities. Now’s a good time to find the sleds and toboggans to make sure they are clean and in good working order.

On the Inside

  • Change furnace filters and have your heating system serviced.
  • Install a programmable thermostat if you don’t have one, as it can save you up to $180 annually on heating (and cooling) bills if you set it to heat only when your family is home.
  • If you have a fireplace, call the chimney sweeper for an inspection and a good cleaning.
  • Ensure your fire/smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. If it’s been six months since you last changed the batteries (or, if you can’t remember), replace them.
  • Review your family’s emergency plan and make sure everyone knows how to evacuate in case of fire.
  • Check to make sure your fire extinguishers are charged.
  • Test ground fault electric outlets.
  • Wash interior windows.
  • Schedule a professional carpet cleaning while you can still open windows to speed drying.
  • Drain water heaters to remove sediment, especially if you have hard water.
  • In the basement, look for cracks in the foundation. Have any damaged fixed before winter hits full force.

In the Garage

  • Make sure chemicals are store away from heat and out of children’s reach.
  • Empty fuel from your lawnmower and other gas-powered equipment because sediment can build up and clog the fuel lines.
  • Have an adequate supply of gasoline in a small can so you’re ready to fuel up your snow blower or emergency generator.
  • Create a car kit for winter-weather emergencies and stock with a small shovel, ice scraper, flashlight, sand or cat litter, flares, a heavy blanket, warm clothing, an extra cell phone charger, and a few energy or chocolate bars.

By taking these few simple steps, you’ll be well prepared to face whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at you this winter. But don’t wait! You never know when the first cold snap will hit, and you don’t want to be caught off guard. You’ll be glad you did when you’re snuggled up in a nice warm house, sipping hot chocolate, and watching the snowflakes gently fall from the sky.

What home maintenance would you include in this fall checklist?

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