Cooler temperatures and pretty soon falling leaves serve as a reminder that the fall season is fast approaching. As the seasons change, so do our home needs. Now is a good time to do some seasonal maintenance to keep your home running smoothly. The weather can change quickly, especially here in upstate New York and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. A bit of attention now can save costly repairs and aggravation later.
- Check for drafts. If necessary, replace seals and repair caulking around window and door frames. Consider buying heavier or insulated drapery for especially drafty windows.
- Have your furnace inspected. Hire an HVAC professional to test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the filter. It’s also a good idea to stock up on extra air filters and change them every few months.
- Winterize air conditioning. If your home has central air conditioning, it may be necessary to cover your outdoor unit for winter. If you use window air conditioning units, remove them or cover to prevent air leaks.
- Programmable thermostat. Setting your thermostat to lower the temperature automatically at night and when you’re not home, can result in substantial cost savings.
- Test home safety devices. Replace the batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices and test to make sure they’re working properly.
- Clean humidifiers. Replace old filters and clean inside compartment. Vinegar is inexpensive and works well.
- Do a roof check. Visually inspect the roof from the ground. Grab some binoculars to get a closer look. Look for missing, damaged, or loose shingles.
- Check the chimney and fireplace. If you have a wood fireplace and use it often, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
- Stock up on firewood. Order enough firewood for the season. It’s best to cover firewood and store away from the house for safety reasons.
- Inspect siding. Check home exterior for cracks or holes. Repair them yourself or hire a professional.
- Clean the gutters. Remove leaves, nests, and debris from gutters and check for leaks.
- Check water drainage. Rainwater downspouts need to be clear of obstructions and direct water away from foundations. Add extensions to downspouts if necessary.
- Reinforce windows and doors. Check caulk and seals around all doors and windows.
- Turn off faucets and store hoses. Drain garden hoses and disconnect from the outside spigots. Shut off exterior faucets, and if you have an older home, you may need to turn off the valve inside your home. Store hoses in a dry place so any residual water won’t freeze.
- Service sprinklers and irrigation system. Have your sprinkler system drained and checked and perform any necessary repairs and make sure to mark sprinkler heads near snow removal areas.
- Inspect trees. Check for damaged limbs that may break or that are too close to power lines or the roof.
- Trim landscaping. Cut back bushes, shrubs, and flowers as recommended for your climate zone.
- Bring in flowerpots. If you keep plants or flower in pots year-round, bring them inside. If you replace plants every year, empty, clean, dry pots and put away for next spring.
- Plant bulbs. If you plant bulbs for spring, now’s the time to get them in the ground.
- Leaf removal. Rake and remove leaves from the yard. Put into a compost pile or into yard garbage bags and leave at the curb for community pick up. Check with your local city or town for requirements and pick up schedules.
- Fertilize lawn. Applying fall lawn fertilizer will help prevent winter damage and spring weeds. Ask a local garden center which type of fertilizer you need and when to apply it.
- Put away seasonal furniture. Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture. Remove and clean cushions. Wash and dry furniture and store in a dry place over winter.
- Close the pool. If you have a pool schedule a service to come and close it for the season or if you know how, buy the supplies and do it yourself.
- Organize the shed. As your shed is filling up with summer items in storage it’s a good time to organize and clean out the shed. Move summer items to the back and winter stuff up front for better access. Also, remove any liquids that will freeze.
In the Garage
- Service summer power equipment. Empty fuel and clean lawnmower and trimmer. Have lawnmower blades sharpened and oil changed. Have any necessary repairs done now, so that you’re ready come spring.
- Store summer vehicles. If you have a motorcycle, summer car, ATV or other type seasonal vehicle, now’s a good time to have that serviced as well.
- Get winter equipment ready. Service snow blower and make sure it is ready to go!
- Test the generator. If you have an emergency generator for power outages, give it a test, and make sure it’s in good working order.
- Buy extra gasoline. Purchase extra gas to have on hand for use in your snow blower or generator, so you’re prepared for emergencies. Make sure you store gasoline in tanks away from fire sources and out of children’s reaches.
- Clean the garage. Since you’re in the garage prepping for fall, you might as well purge, organize and clean it while you’re there!
As you’re enjoying the last bits of summer, make sure that your home is prepared for the coming fall season. Preventative maintenance now will save money on expensive emergency repairs and wasted energy costs. Properly maintaining your home also enhances its value and appeal and is less effort than managing a crisis later. When the chilly weather approaches you and your home will be ready.