Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall is the perfect time to take care of larger home repairs before the shorter, cooler, rainy days set in. Set aside some time in the coming months to check these items off your list so you and your family can have a more enjoyable winter!

Tasks to Check off in an Hour or Less

Stock up on winter supplies. Even though our winters in the Pacific Northwest are usually mild, it’s a good idea to ensure the snow and ice supplies you may need are stocked and ready.
• Inspect your snow shovels and ice scrapers – replace as needed. Don’t forget your car’s windshield scraper!
• Restock emergency kits for your home and car.
• Ensure you have fuel for your generator.

Protect pipes from freezing temperatures. Because water expands as it freezes, frozen pipes can burst which leads to extensive water damage and costly repairs. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the risk of this happening in your home.

Start by removing any attached hoses and store them inside for the winter to prevent cracking, preserve their shape, and prolong their life. If possible, shut off any exterior faucets and drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against a pipe burst. Insulate any other exposed, outdoor pipes and faucets. Additionally, make sure your family knows where your water shut-off valve is so anyone can turn the water off quickly, if needed.

Check walkways, railings, stairs, and driveways. Make navigating around your home safer by checking and repairing any stairs for loose components or railings. Keep pathways clear of fallen leaves or debris and ensure your driveway is in good condition in case you need to shovel any snow.

Test outdoor lights and replace bulbs as needed. As the days get shorter, we rely more on exterior lighting for safety and ambiance. Ensure all lights are working properly and clean webs and dust from the fixtures. Also consider adding a timer to your exterior lights so they automatically turn off and on. It’s a small feature we think every homeowner should have! Additionally, replace any bulbs if necessary and ensure you have back-ups on hand if one needs to be replaced in the future.

Check safety devices. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replace batteries as needed. Consider replacing batteries in your smoke alarm system once every six months to avoid any middle of the night wake up calls from a chirping alarm.

Vacuum radiators, baseboard heaters, and grates. Get ready for heating season by clearing away dust and grime from any radiators, baseboard heaters, and grates. Additionally, wash or wipe vent covers and preprogram your heater so it’s ready to go when it’s time to switch from cooling to heat!

Remove window AC units. If you have any window air conditioning units, remove and properly store them before the weather turns cool. If you can’t remove them, cover the exterior of the unit with an insulating wrap to help keep cool air out.

Tasks to Check off Over the Weekend

Rake Leaves. Leaving too many leaves on a lawn over winter can inhibit spring growth, so it’s a good idea to collect them regularly. Many hands make light work, have a family leaf raking party, and reward your hard work with s’mores or a cup of hot apple cider.

Seal gaps where critters can enter. Mice and other small critters will be looking for a warm place to call home as the weather cools off. To avoid unwanted houseguests, fill small holes and securely cover or repair any large gaps.

Care for trees and shrubs. If you have large trees on your property, consider hiring an arborist to care for them. Arborists can spot signs of poor health to prevent tree loss, and they know how to properly prune to avoid falling limbs in winter storms.

Deep Clean the Kitchen. Holiday cooking and baking is right around the corner! Cross this task off your list now so it’s one less thing to do when company arrives.
• Degrease the range hood and filter. We walk you through the process here.
• Clean the oven.
• Clean the dishwasher. This might seem silly, but we promise it’s worth it! Learn how to here.
• Vacuum the refrigerator coils and deep clean the interior.
• Deep clean light fixtures – they get dirtier than you think!
• Wash the walls and backsplash with warm, soapy water.
• Wash the garbage can and recycling bins.
• Deep clean your kitchen cabinets. We walk you through how to clean different cabinet surfaces here.

Deep Clean your Washer and Dryer. Cleaner machines mean cleaner clothes! We walk you through how to deep clean your washer and dryer here.

Maintenance and Extras to Budget for this Season

Clean gutters and downspouts. As the last autumn leaves fall, cleaning your gutters and downspouts should climb to the top of your to-do list as clogged gutters can cause water to pool and damage your roof and siding. Learn how to clean your gutters here. Friendly reminder, hire this out if you aren’t comfortable on a ladder. 😊

Schedule a chimney cleaning. Before you light the first fire of the season, have your chimney cleaned by a certified professional. Regular cleaning is a necessary safety measure for wood burning fireplaces and wood stoves. Over time, creosote can build up in your chimney which increases the risk of a house fire. Gas fireplaces should also be inspected – even through gas is a clean-burning fuel, there could be other debris blocking the chimney.

Schedule maintenance for your heating system and replace your furnace filters if needed. You can check with your furnace manufacturer to find out exactly what maintenance your system requires. However, a good rule of thumb is to check and replace your HVAC filters every 90 days. If your HVAC unit has not been professionally serviced in a while, this is the time to schedule an appointment to ensure your unit is in tip-top shape for the cold months ahead!

Make exterior repairs. You’ll want to make sure your home is “buttoned up” for the winter. Take a walk around your property looking for signs of damage to the roof, siding, and foundation. If you spot anything that needs repaired, schedule it as soon as possible.

While we know this is quite “a list” most of it is a quick check or fix so we encourage you to stick with it and stay on top of home maintenance! Your home will thank you! If you find anything you have questions about, feel free to give our office a call.