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Summer may be peak home improvement season, but as this comprehensive fall home maintenance schedule suggests, autumn is king when it comes to maintaining your home. Some of the easiest fall chores can save you big dollars on your energy bills, and prevent costly damage to your home. Home maintenance prepares your home to emerge fresh and strong. To help you cover all the bases, Talon Home Inspections has come up with a handy Fall Maintenance Checklist for our clients. Consult it every year and your home will keep you safe, and reward you by saving you unexpected costs.
Most fall maintenance consists of things the average person can do without professional assistance. If there are tasks you don't feel comfortable doing, find a professional in the field who offers assistance and guarantees there work.
Performing a fall home maintenance inspection and making any needed repairs not only makes your life a little easier, it also serves another purpose. If, at some point, you intend to sell your home, having records to show the maintenance you performed will give potential buyers a little peace of mind.
Exterior of Home
- Check windows and doors for caulking and seals. Touch up or replace where needed with products designed for the job. This will save you significant heating dollars.
- Clean windows and window tracks, and make sure weep holes are not blocked.
- Check perimeter of your house to make sure tree branches (minimum 2 feet away), bushes, and shrubbery aren't getting to close to gutters.
- Inspect siding for openings and repair to prevent water intrusion.
- Check that grading of soil and hard surfaces slopes away from the foundation and basement of your home. Regrade it if necessary.
- Examine the home foundation, especially if it is concrete. Look for cracks and discolorations that point to a water leak or moisture source. Seal and treat as necessary.
- Remove garden hoses from faucets outside. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes.
- Check your laundry dryer vent cover and clean lint buildup. Lint buildup in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire — cool, dry fall weather increases static electricity, which can ignite the lint that has built up.
- Clear out basement window wells. Excess material will prevent proper drainage and encourages wood rot of window frames.
Central Air Conditioning
- Cover the top of the unit if desired at the end of the cooling season.
- Schedule fall HVAC maintenance: The majority of emergency service calls answered by heating specialists result from improper maintenance.
- Schedule an appointment for a fall furnace inspection and tuneup to help avoid a breakdown in the middle of a freeze.
- Replace furnace filters: The changing season is also the perfect time to check and change dirty furnace filters. Clean filters make your HVAC system run more efficiently, so it distributes heat better and cuts your energy costs.
- Adjust duct dampers switch from cooling to heating, if necessary.
- Ensure that supply and return registers inside your home are not blocked.
Note: When was the last time you had your furnace serviced? Maybe you need to Schedule a service call to have your furnace checked before the first really cold day of Winter, and have your ducts professionally cleaned. It'll make your indoor air quality healthier and your air conditioner more efficient.
- Check the roof visually from the ground for damage. Look at the shingles. Are any curled, buckled, missing, or cracked? Hire a professional to repair as necessary.
- Clear limbs, leaves and other debris from the surface.
- Check roof vents for damage or bird nests.
- Clean out the gutters and remove any debris.
- Check the gutters, downspouts and downspout extensions are secured.
- Ensure downspouts and splash blocks are draining away from the foundation (or into a rain barrel). Downspouts should extend at least 6 feet from the home.
- Check for damage to the cap, flashing and masonry.
- To make sure your chimney is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney. Schedule a chimney clean so it's ready for next winter.
- Clean out the fireplace and confirm the damper is working.
- Check for signs of leaks, cracks, movement, rot, or mildew.
- Check for adequate ventilation to remove excess moisture.
- Insulate water lines. Look at your plumbing pipes and water lines — especially those in crawlspaces, and make sure they're insulated to avoid frozen pipes and leaks this winter.
- Check and test sump pump to make sure it removes water from the crock.
- Check the condition of the insulation. Are there areas missing. If the insulation is in poor condition or is missing in areas, this can lead to ice dams forming in winter. Also will increase your heating costs.
Interior of Home
- Check the garage door weather seal to ensure a proper seal at the floor.
- Test any GFCI outlets: plug in a lamp, hit the test button and then the reset button to see if it turns the light off and then on again (GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These types of outlets are designed to protect you from severe or fatal electric shocks. They're often found in the kitchen and bathroom, or any place near a water source.).
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, home alarms and other safety devices. Change batteries once a year.
Remember to always put safety first. Many home maintenance tasks are better left to the professionals so be sure to hire a contractor or technician if you are not able to handle the task on your own.