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Home maintenance checklist: fall edition
While you’re pulling out the sweaters and packing away bathing suits, your home also needs to be prepared for the upcoming cooler temperatures. Help your home get ready for fall by following our checklist of home maintenance steps for fall.
1. Replace your air filters
Air filters in your heating and air conditioning system may have collected dust and debris over the summer.
Replace your air filter regularly, but especially before cooler weather arrives, to ensure that your heater works efficiently this fall.
See how to change an air filter if you're unsure how to do this relatively easy task.
2. Have your heater system inspected
Have your heater system inspected by a reputable company specializing in heating and cooling repair. Any problems that arise are better dealt with before the cold months come.
Most companies can guide you with helpful tips for prepping your heating system for the cold weather.
3. Ensure your chimney is clean
Give both interior and exterior a good looking-over. Have any cracks repaired by a professional.
Check your flue for debris such as leaves or bird nests. Use a vacuum or a scrub brush and soapy water to clean loose debris and soot. It’s wise to call in a professional for assessment and deep cleaning. Find a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
Tip: Close your flue when not in use to prevent heat from escaping your home.
4. Clean your gutters
Cleaning your gutters during the fall season will help prevent accumulation of debris.
Wearing gloves, carefully pull leaves and pine needles that have accumulated in the gutters during the spring and summer months. This will keep water flowing out of the gutters in fall and winter.
Learn more with our rookie's guide to gutter cleaning.
Tip: When cleaning, take the opportunity to check the fascia behind the gutter. If leaks are causing damage, you'll see the first evidence of it here.
5. Check sidewalks and driveways for cracks
Check walkways and driveways for signs of cracking, wear, and tear. Water can seep into the cracks, freeze, and make the cracks bigger.
Fill cracks with concrete or have a professional company come out to view and repair the problem areas.
6. Prep your lawn for the cold
Fall is a key season for fertilizing your lawn, but how much and what type of fertilizer to use depends on your type of grass and where you live.
A visit to your local home improvement store will help guide you through the process of readying your lawn for the cooler months.
Did you know? Many state universities offer online lawn advice specific to your region. Search by your state name and the phrase “fertilize lawn.”
7. Check out your roof
As mentioned in the summer edition of our home maintenance checklist, check your roof for cracked or damaged shingles.
Replace damaged shingles to prevent water leaking in or air escaping out through your attic.
8. Divert water through downspouts
Downspouts are the drainage system hooked up to your gutters.
Extend the downspouts away from the house so water can’t accumulate around the base of the house and crawl space.
Make sure your downspouts drain at least 3-4 feet away from the foundation of your home.
9. Drain your lawn sprinkler system
This is a job for professionals.
A typical visit for someone to drain out your sprinkler system can run you at least $75-$150. It is a bit of an investment, but it’s a smart preventive measure against breaking or splitting spouts and hoses.
While sprinkler heads are easy enough to replace, any underground breaking or cracking in the system could result in an expensive fix.
Tip: Disconnect and drain all garden hoses before cold weather hits to prevent damaging ice from forming.
10. Check your sump pump
Fall is hurricane season, which can mean flooding rains. If you have a sump pump, you should check it at least once a year to make sure it’s operating correctly.
Check the inlet screen to make sure it’s clear of dirt or other debris.
Make sure the float is not tangled or jammed in one position. A jammed float will keep the pump from turning on and off.
Test the pump by pouring water into the pit to make sure the pump turns on.
Call in a qualified professional if the pump does not activate.
WARNING: When testing the pump, never, ever reach into the pit. Manipulate the float, if necessary, with a broom handle or something else that’s nonconductive.
11. Clear out dryer vent
Lint buildup in your dryer’s vent not only slows drying time and increases your energy bill, it is a serious fire hazard and could also cause carbon monoxide to back up in your home. Clear out the entire vent system, or have a pro do it, at least once a year.
See our dryer vent cleaning guide.
✓ Reviewed and approved by a Repair.com expert.