Cooler temperatures and pretty soon falling leaves serve as a reminder that the fall season is approaching. As the seasons change, so do our activities and home needs. Even though summer is not quite over yet, it’s a good time to do some seasonal maintenance to keep your home running smoothly. The weather can change quickly, especially if you live in a colder climate and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. A bit of attention now will save costly repairs and aggravation later.
Check for drafts. Feel for drafts around the edges of windows and doors. If necessary, replace seals and repair caulking around window and door frames. Consider buying heavier or insulated drapery for especially drafty windows.
Have your furnace inspected. Test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the filter. You can also do a carbon monoxide check to ensure air safety. It’s also a good idea to stock up on extra air filters and change them every few months.
If your home has central air conditioning, (and you live in a climate where you won’t need it any longer,) it may be necessary to cover your outdoor unit for winter. If you use window air conditioning units, remove them or cover to prevent air leaks.
Programmable thermostat. Buy a programmable thermostat, if you don’t have one. If you already have one, check the temperature settings. Setting your thermostat to lower the temperature automatically at night and when you’re not home, can result in substantial cost savings.
Replace the batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices and test to make sure they’re working properly.
Replace old filters and clean inside compartment. Vinegar is inexpensive and works well.
You should be able to do at least a visual inspection of the roof from the ground. Grab some binoculars to get a closer look or if you’re able and can do so safely, climb on up for a better view. Look for missing, damaged, or loose shingles. If your roof is flat, you may need to remove leaves and debris.
If you have a wood fireplace and use it often, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
Check home exterior for cracks or holes. Repair them yourself or hire a professional.
Clean the gutters. Hire a service to clear your gutters or do it yourself. Remove leaves, nests, and debris from gutters and check for leaks.
Rainwater downspouts need to be clear of obstructions and direct water away from foundations, walkways, and driveways. Add extensions to downspouts if necessary.
Reinforce windows and doors. Remove screens and install storm windows and doors if you use them. Check caulk and seals around all doors and windows.
Drain garden hoses and disconnect from the outside spigots. Shut off exterior faucets, and if you have an older home, you may need to turn off the valve inside your home. Store hoses in a dry place so any residual water won’t freeze.
Depending on your climate, your irrigation system may need to be drained and checked. Have a professional perform any necessary repairs and mark sprinkler heads near snow removal areas.
Check for damaged limbs that may break or that are too close to power lines or the roof.
Trim landscaping. Cut back bushes, shrubs, and flowers as recommended for your climate zone.
If you keep plants or flower in pots year-round, bring them inside. If you replace plants every year, empty, clean, dry pots and put away for next spring.
If you plant bulbs for spring, now’s the time to get them in the ground.
Rake and remove leaves from the yard. Put into a compost pile if you have one. Alternatively, put into yard garbage bags and leave at the curb for community pick up. Check with your local city or town for requirements and pick up schedules.
Fertilize lawn. Applying fall lawn fertilizer will help prevent winter damage and spring weeds. Ask a local garden center or check online to find out which type of fertilizer you need and when to apply it. If you have a lawn service, they should do this for you.
Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture. Remove and clean cushions. Wash and dry furniture and store in a dry place over winter.
Close the pool. If you have a pool and live in an area where temperatures dip, schedule a service to come and close it for the season or if you know how, buy the supplies and do it yourself.
As your shed is filling up with summer items in storage it’s a good time to organize and clean out the shed. Move summer items to the back and winter stuff up front for better access. Also, remove any liquids that will freeze.