Summer is almost over and with the fall just around the corner, it is the perfect time to think about everything that needs to get done or fixed around your house. While we try to get back to our old routines, many of us going back to work after some vacation time, there are a lot of useful and practical things that you can and should do to make sure your home welcomes the fall in top shape.
We have prepared a list of some of the most important home maintenance chores, so take a look, gather your household members and get busy.
Outdoor To-Do List
You can start your home maintenance with a careful inspection of the exterior of your house to make sure everything is safe, functioning and that there are no serious damages.
Clean Your Gutters
A very simple, yet important thing to do is to clean your gutters and downspouts. Clogged and blocked gutters and spouts can lead to a myriad of problems, such as damages to your roof, siding, foundations, landscape, or water retention, floods in the basement and broken downspouts. You can clean the leaves and debris with a regular spatula. For unclogging the downspout use a plumber’s snake, or use any PVC pipe that you have and attach it to your garden hose.
Inspect Your Roof
Regular maintenance of the roof is always important so that you can predict and prevent greater damages. What you need to look for is cracked, broken, missing, or curled shingles, as well as damages to the coating. All of this is fairly easy to repair, and it will prevent further damage to your roof, as well as to the walls and the inside of your home.
Nail down the loose shingles, replace the missing ones, caulk the cracked ones with some roof cement, and glue down the curled ones. If you are not sure you can do it yourself, or the damage is too extensive, it is always better to call a professional so that you are sure it is done properly.
Check for Cracks and Seal Them Up
If you have any cracks on the exterior of your house, you can lose a lot of heat from your house, waste a lot of energy in the heating season, which can, in turn, make your monthly energy bills plummet. Carefully inspect all the exterior for any gaps and cracks and caulk them. It will reduce the amount of cold air going in and warm air leaking out. Some of the usual critical areas are the corners of the siding, around phone lines, electrical outlets and outdoor faucets, as well as around drain pipes and heating/cooling units.
Weatherstrip Your Doors and Windows
When it comes to gaps around doors and windows, they cause the same problems mentioned above, and they can be solved by weatherstripping. Weatherstripping is applied at joints where two surfaces meet, such as the door frame or window frame and the wall. There are many types you can use, depending on your needs and the size of the gaps, and some of the most common ones are tape, foam, felt and vinyl tubing.
Trim Your Trees
Trimming and maintaining your trees, shrubs, bushes and hedges is beneficial for their health and growth, but also important for the safety and tidiness of your outdoor area. It is recommended to cut off the dead and dried out branches and leaves to make sure they survive the colder seasons, but also to prevent safety hazards. You will have fewer branches and leaves falling on top of or around your home, creating a mess, damaging your roof and siding, and clogging your gutters.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Fertilizing your lawn just before the fall is the best time to do it. The needed nutrients multiply better during colder weather, so your roots will receive enough of them on time, and then store them as food for the winter before the grass goes dormant. This also helps the grass grow back and “green up” much faster when the spring comes again.
Indoor To-Do List
Now that you’ve made sure everything is in order outside, move the maintenance party inside, and prepare your home for the fall and the heating season.
Safety (Devices) First
As the fall comes and the weather gets colder, we keep our windows shut most of the time, so there is a higher possibility of certain gases, such as radon or even carbon monoxide, accumulating inside. Therefore, the end of the summer is the best time to check all of your safety devices, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguisher, and check your home for radon. Replace all the batteries and check the expiration dates.
Regular HVAC Maintenance
End of the summer, just before the heating season begins, is the best and recommended time to schedule your HVAC maintenance. You can clean the system and the furnace yourself, but it is better to have a professional do it for you, as they will make sure everything is working, and that you don’t end up with a broken furnace in the middle of a cold night.
Clean Your Air Ducts and Filters
This one is very simple and easy to do yourself. Grab a vacuum and a cloth and clean all your air ducts, heating grates, baseboard heaters, and radiators from dust, debris and lint, to prevent fire hazards and allow a steady, balanced airflow. Apart from that, it is recommended to replace the air filters in your furnace.
Bleed Your Radiators
Last but not least, if you have hot water radiators, make sure to bleed all of them. Bleeding a radiator means releasing trapped air that can often happen, and that will cause some of your radiator fins to stay cold. Simply find a small valve on top of the radiator and turn it counter-clockwise. The water will start dripping out and release the trapped air in the process.
Ready to Welcome the Fall
Following these helpful and important tips will help you stay ahead of problems and enjoy all the perks that the fall brings with it. These tasks are not hard nor time-consuming, and you can even have some fun with the family while doing them. But most importantly, you will be safe and warm inside your home knowing that you have done everything to prepare for the coming season.