Fall Home Maintenance

As much as we want summer to stay indefinitely, fall is upon us, and cold winter days are ahead. Now is an excellent time to prepare your home for harsh winter conditions and the problems they may bring.

Incorporate these simple steps into your maintenance routine as we transition from summer to fall.

1. Check your home for water leaks.

To check for leaks, turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and observe the meter. Any movement of the flow indicator while not using any water may indicate the presence of a water leak in your system. I recommend you contact a plumber to investigate.

2. Have an HVAC professional clean and service your furnace.

You want to ensure that your furnace is efficiently working before temperatures drop. Hire a certified HVAC professional to inspect and service your furnace. They will recommend any necessary repairs and replace the filter for you while they are at it.

3. Protect your home from frozen pipes. 

Insulate the pipes most prone to freezing, especially near outside walls and in crawl spaces, the attic, and the garage. You can do this with foam pipe covers available at building supplies or home improvement stores. Seal air leaks in your home and garage to stop cold air from getting in. Check around windows and doors. Outdoor faucets are the first to freeze. Unscrew any hoses, turn off the outdoor water supply, and let the taps drain. Consider installing a frost-free hose bibb. Ensure you know the location of the home’s main water shut-off if you have a pipe burst.

4. Run all gas-powered lawn equipment until the fuel is gone.

You should check your home tools and equipment before storing them away for the winter. If they are gas-powered, drain the gas or add a fuel stabilizer to ensure that old fuel does not degrade and make your equipment challenging to start in spring. If you use a stabilizer, run the equipment for a few minutes after adding it to ensure the stabilizer gets through the fuel lines and into the carburetor.

5. Test your emergency generator.

Testing ensures that emergency generators will run properly so you can have peace of mind when the power goes out. This is particularly important for standby or emergency generators that do not run often. You can call a professional to service and tune up the generator.

6. Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean the chimney and check your fireplace.

Hire a WETT-certified professional to check your fireplace and ensure it works okay. Have them inspect and sweep your chimney to remove accumulated debris, including soot, leaves, and bird nests. It will prevent chimney fires and dangerous gases from seeping into your home. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, now is the time to stock up on firewood. Store firewood in a safe, dry place, away from your home’s foundation.

7. Clean off the covers and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors/alarms.

Replace all the batteries in your smoke and CO detectors and test them to ensure they are in good working order. Windows are closed in winter, and with gas furnaces and fireplaces burning away, the danger of toxic gases escaping is always present. Testing takes only a couple of seconds, but it can save lives. We recommend testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly.

8. Blow out / winterize your lawn irrigation system.

Before the snow falls, winterize your lawn irrigation system to help prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting. Unlike the water pipes that run through our homes, the irrigation system pipes must be winterized by performing an annual sprinkler blowout to avoid damage that you won’t discover until the spring.

9. Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts.

Remove all debris that has accumulated in gutters and downspouts. It will ensure that gutters can drain effectively and the water gathered goes where you want it. A blocked gutter will result in water overflows and can lead to water damage.

Check that gutters are in good condition and are sloped appropriately—repair where necessary. Take care when climbing ladders. If you don’t like heights, hire a professional to get the job done.

10. Stow-Away Patio Furniture

Remove patio furniture and store them away in a garage or other enclosed space for the winter. These include hammocks, umbrellas, cushions, and others. You can also protect them using weather-proof covers.

11. Clean Your Grill

Lengthen the lifespan of your BBQ grill by cleaning it out this fall. Follow these steps:

  • Let it run on high heat to burn off leftover food
  • Clean grill grates with a wire brush
  • Empty the grease tray
  • Wipe off grease and other debris on the exterior
  • Store the grill in a dry area or protect it using a grill cover

 12. Check Attic Ventilation and Insulation

Ensure your attic is well-insulated to save on energy costs. Check the attic door for gaps that leak warm air into the attic and predispose your roof to ice dams and other winter damage. Check attic vents to ensure they are free of debris and are providing adequate ventilation. Proper ventilation will prolong the life of your roof.

13. Winterize Your Pool

If you have a pool, remove debris and partly drain out the water. Purchase a winter treatment kit and a pool cover to keep out debris.

14. Prepare Your Snow Blower

Service your snow blower and ensure it is ready when the first snowfall arrives. You may need to replace the spark plug and top the engine oil.

15. Call DeBoer Home Inspection!

Call DeBoer Home Inspection to perform a home maintenance inspection as part of your routine home maintenance plan. Schedule your home maintenance inspection by clicking “schedule your inspection” below.