It’s that time of year again – the weather is cooling off, the kids are back to school, and it’s time to check up on your home maintenance before the cold hits. In this article we’ll be sharing a complete fall home maintenance checklist, including everything you need to do to keep your home in top shape before winter. It can be a lot of work, but properly preparing your home in the fall makes for a much more enjoyable (and easier) winter. At the end of the post, there is also a link to download a printable PDF version of the checklist.
Landscaping and Yard
- Inspect all of the trees on your property for dead or rotting branches, and have them removed. Heavy rains and snow could cause them to fall when you least expect it, so ensure they are all healthy and sturdy ahead of poor weather.
- Prune your shrubs and remove dead plants and old soil from your planters. When soil freezes in pots, it runs the risk of cracking or breaking them.
- Prepare your lawn for harsh weather by giving it some fertilizer.
- Rake fallen leaves frequently to reduce buildup.
- Do a walk around the exterior of your home and take note of any cracks or gaps. Seal areas around openings and entry points such as windows and doors.
- Check for peeling paint and fix any areas that are exposed to the elements.
- Fix and seal any cracks in the driveway or walkways, since freezing weather can cause small cracks to spread greatly.
- Check for any damaged steps or loose railings on patios and decks.
- Clean and store or cover your patio furniture.
- Disconnect the fuel tank from your barbecue, clean the grills and burners, and cover or store it in a shed to protect it.
- Organize your garage, cleaning and storing your summer gardening tools and supplies.
- Inspect your roof for any loose, curled, or missing shingles. Make sure these are fixed or repaired before the bad weather, and if your roof needs replacing, consider doing it now. It’s expensive, but less so than leaks and water damage.
- Clean and flush your gutters; clogged gutters can lead to flooding inside and damage outside. You can add leaf guards to keep them clear in between cleanings.
- Shut off the water supply to all outdoor hoses, disconnect them and store them. This will ensure the pipes contain no water that could freeze and cause them to burst. Drain and cover the pool.
- Check for gaps on all doors and windows, and add weatherstripping or caulking to ensure they’re sealed.
- Remove any A/C units from windows.
- Check the condition of the ventilation and insulation in your attic and/or basement.
- Clean your dryer vents.
- Have your furnace inspected to ensure the heating system is working efficiently, and change filters.
- If you have a fireplace, also have it inspected and cleaned. Inspect and clean your humidifier, and change filters.
- Do a round of general tidying, removing old papers and any clutter that has piled up.
- Do a deep clean of the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Pull out your cozy blankets and seasonal home decor.
- Change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and test that they are in working condition.
- Also check the condition of fire extinguishers around your home.
- Ensure you have a stock of candles and matches on hand for potential power outages.
- Take inventory on your emergency supplies and replenish any low stock or expired items.
- Check that all of your winter tools are in good condition and ready to be used, such as shovels and snow blowers.
- Buy de-icing salt for walkways, and wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stoves if needed.