The Essential Fall Home Maintenance & Repair Checklist
It’s hard to believe that sweater weather has already set in, but it’s here and that means one thing: it’s time to start checking items off your fall home maintenance and repair checklist!
Fall is the perfect time to put some effort into ensuring your home is in tip-top shape for the coming season. Winter can bring along some pretty harsh conditions that can take a toll on the exterior of your home, but by completing regular maintenance and repairs in the fall, you can sleep easy through those winter storms knowing that your home is on track for the season ahead.
If you’re not sure where to get started, you can maintain and upkeep your home this fall with IKO’s handy fall maintenance checklist and home tips.
Table of Contents:
- Fall Roof Maintenance Checklist
- Property Maintenance
- Exterior Home Maintenance: Siding & Driveways
- Drain & Winterize Any Exterior Water Sources
- General Exterior Chores & Upkeep
- Make Sure Your Heating System is in Working Order
- Check Your Windows & Doors
- Check Your Alarms, Fire Extinguishers & Fans
- Interior Chores & Upkeep
- New Homeowner? Remember to Check the Following…
- Bonus Tip for Existing & New Homeowners Alike: Restock your Winter Supplies
Exterior Home Maintenance & Repairs
1. Fall Roof Maintenance Checklist
When it comes to the regular upkeep of your home, your roof is a top priority. Be sure to trim back any large tree branches that may touch or sit near your roof.
This will limit wildlife access, damage from falling branches, and the buildup of debris in your gutters. To keep your roof well-maintained throughout the winter it is best to paint or stain any wood trim in order to reduce rot and seal up any openings that may seem like a welcome hideaway for wildlife.
Inspect both inside and out for any sort of water damage or deterioration like sagging, loose and/or missing shingles, rusty flashing, etc. This is also a great time to check for and remove any debris in your eavestroughs and downspouts (after the leaves have finished falling!). Be sure to inspect the roof from the ground, and if anything looks suspect, call a professional who can take a closer look using the proper fall arrest and safety equipment.
Doing a full inspection of your attic is also an important preventative maintenance tip. If you have any roof leaks that need to be repaired, mold issues or pest issues, you’ll more than likely find them in the attic. Doing so in the fall will ensure you can complete the proper repairs before winter sets in.
2. Property Maintenance
In addition to trimming back any large branches near your roof, be sure to add “remove dead shrubs, trees and other plant material” to your fall to-do list.
If a perennial shrub or tree has seen its day, fall is the perfect time to remove it.
Removing dead plant material will also limit the number of places for pests to hide during the winter months.
Fall is also a wonderful time to plant new trees, shrubs, and spring-blooming perennials (you can finally plant those daffodils and tulips you’ve been dreaming of!).
To keep your lawn in good condition, aerating and seeding are excellent tasks to add to the yard work list come fall. It should be done annually at a minimum, and fall is the perfect time to do so as it sets you up for a successful spring season.
Aeration is done with a specialized machine which pulls index-finger-sized cores of soil out of the lawn, which relieves soil compaction. This allows more space for water and nutrients to penetrate the roots of your lawn.
3. Exterior Home Maintenance: Siding & Driveways
Peeling or blistering exterior paint means that your exterior walls are likely not going to be well-protected from the elements.
If left unattended, it can trap moisture and leave you with rotting siding or trim, which will result in unwanted repairs. Even if you’re not ready to do a full paint job until the spring, removing peeling or chipping paint and touching up the bare wood with fresh paint is still recommended.
Winter can also take a toll on your driveway. Since water can pool and freeze in its cracks, it’s important to remove any weeds and seal any existing cracks to avoid further damage.
4. Drain & Winterize Any Exterior Water Sources
Irrigation systems, or fountains, all need a little bit of annual maintenance in the fall, and as a friendly reminder, shutting off exterior spigots and disconnecting watering hoses is crucial.
If you have an irrigation system for your lawn or garden, be sure to drain all of the lines to avoid bursting any pipes or breaking any sprinkler heads.
Doing so is fairly simple: First, you turn off the main water valve and the auto-controller, then open all valves to drain the water from the system. You may also choose to hire a professional who can blow out all valves and systems pipes with compressed air.
If you have any large outdoor fountains, be sure to unplug and remove the pump, remove all water from the fountain, clean it, and complete any necessary repairs. Then, ensure your fountain is properly covered and protected for the winter to avoid any damage from the winter elements.
General Exterior Chores & Upkeep
Aside from the big property maintenance jobs best done around the house in the fall, there are also some exterior general chores and upkeep that are good to stay on top of.
For example, continue to cut your lawn until the first frost, as it will make it easier for it to dry out come spring. Also, be sure to add a nice thick layer of mulch to your gardens to suppress weeds and prevent soil erosion.
Fall is also the perfect time to clean up and store away your garden tools and patio furniture, power wash and inspect your deck (and reseal if necessary), and service and put away your lawnmower.
Around the House: Indoor Maintenance & Repairs
Since we spend the bulk of our time indoors in the winter, it only makes sense for us to complete a seasonal maintenance and repair checklist inside as well as out to ensure it will be a comfy, cozy place to curl up!
1. Make Sure Your Heating System is in Working Order
This is one of the most imperative fall to-do list items! Be sure to change your furnace filters, and have a professional HVAC specialist come out to do a full inspection to determine if there are any repairs or other maintenance needs required before the temperatures dip.
This is also an ideal time to have your wood stove and chimney cleaned by a certified professional. Burning creosote, which can build up in your chimney, can cause dangerous chimney fires, so this is an important aspect of upkeep.
2. Check Your Windows & Doors
Did you know your windows are typically responsible for a whopping 25 to 30% of heat loss? Avoid inefficiency and unnecessarily expensive heating bills by checking them for any leaks and adding caulking and weatherstripping where necessary.
If you remember having unexpectedly large heating bills last winter, installing storm windows or panels, or replacing your windows entirely with a more energy-efficient option is also recommended if it is within your budget.
3. Check Your Alarms, Fire Extinguishers & Fans
Testing and replacing the batteries on your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be done at least twice a year. In the fall, we recommend adding it to your repair and maintenance checklist, which you complete before the clocks change.
This is also an ideal time to check that any fire extinguishers in your home are in good working condition and reverse the direction of your ceiling fans so that they push warm air down (typically, they will do this while spinning in a clockwise direction).
Interior Chores & Upkeep
Before you close all the windows for the season, doing a solid deep clean of your home is another chore that fits well into the fall home maintenance checklist!
Cleaning the interior of your home from top to bottom in the fall will ensure you have better air quality and an overall sense of calm heading into the winter.
In the kitchen and bathroom, you can give the grout a good scrub, clean your oven, pull your stove and refrigerator out from the wall to clean underneath and behind them, and give the inside of your cabinets a good cleanse as well.
This is the perfect opportunity to filter through your dishes, cleaning products and foodstuffs so that you can start fresh for the season ahead.
Swap your summer linens for winter linens in the bedroom, flip your mattresses, switch out your seasonal clothes, clean your curtains, and dust any surfaces that have been neglected while you were out enjoying your summer break!
New Homeowner? Remember to Check the Following…
If you just moved into a new home, everything on this home maintenance and repair checklist will apply but you will also want to:
- Locate your home’s main shutoff valve: Almost every house has a shutoff valve which will, you guessed it, turn off all water in your home. As you head into the winter season, it is important to know where this is in the case of any unexpected freezing, pipe bursts, or other water-related surprises you may encounter as you settle into your new home.
- Get familiar with your electrical panel: Like the shutoff valve, it is important to locate and familiarize yourself with your electrical panel in case you need to turn off the main breaker.
Bonus Tip for Existing & New Homeowners Alike: Restock Your Winter Supplies!
Similar to how it can be challenging to find a portable fan or air conditioner for sale in the heat of summer, it can pay off in dividends to stock up on winter supplies well before the snow flies.
This means you should restock windshield washer fluid, driveway salt, and emergency kits for your home and vehicle, and repair or replace any snow shovels or vehicle ice scrapers as needed.
This is also an ideal time to have your snowblower serviced if you have one.
Fall is a busy time for homeowners as it is. Following IKO’s fall maintenance and repair checklist will keep your home in peak condition and your family toasty warm on those cold winter nights!