Get your home ready for the 2019 fall and winter seasons while the weather is still mild.
Fall is officially here! The days are getting shorter, pumpkin spice everything is back on the shelves, the trees have started losing their leaves, and the temperature is slowly creeping downward.
Let’s take a closer look at some common tasks for your autumn home maintenance checklist, plus maybe a few you forgot to add.
Download our Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
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Fall Maintenance for Your Home and Lawn
If you haven’t already, now is the best time to finish up any home maintenance projects to get your house and yard ready for Fall. While the temperatures are mild and there’s still some sunshine, you’ll want to go ahead and get these tasks knocked out so you’re ready to weather the dark and frigid days ahead.
Fall Lawn & Yard Maintenance
- Create a “Cold Weather Kit.” Go through your garage or tool shed and gather all your fall and winter tools in a single location that’s easily accessible. You’ll be glad you did when the first snow falls. Trudging through the snow in search of your snow shovel or blower is a terrible way to enjoy the first winter wonderland of the season.
- Check walkways, stairs, and driveway for safety. When everything is covered in ice and snow, something as simple as getting from the car to the front door can be treacherous. Make sure all stairs are sturdy and have secure railings. Confirm that the driveway is in good shape for easy shoveling.
- Rake leaves. Leaves look gorgeous on the ground, but leaving too many leaves on your lawn during winter in a snowy area can stop spring growth. When raking, wear gloves to protect your hands and use a leaf scoop to bag leaves easily. Once you’re done, you can give us a call at 844-239-7711 to pick up your bagged leaves so you don’t have to leave them sitting out until yard debris trash day.
- Clean patio furniture and gardening equipment. You may not be ready to put them away just yet, but go ahead and clean your outdoor furniture and gardening tools so they’re ready to be stored for the winter.
- Protect AC units and condensers. Set a piece of plywood on top of the AC unit to cover and protect it from falling icicles. Heating and cooling experts warn against wrapping up your air conditioner, though. Doing so creates another cozy spot for small animals and creates condensation that can cause corrosion.
- Repair cracks in your driveway and sidewalks. Go ahead and repair any cracks in concrete and asphalt while it’s still warm and sunny enough outside to get it done.
- Check for mice and other critters. Animals like mice and squirrels like to nest in warm, enclosed spaces like engine compartments, AC units, and lawn mower hollows. If a vehicle or piece of lawn equipment has been sitting unused during the warm months, check for nests before using it. It’s also a good idea when it starts to get cold outside to check under the hood and wheel wells of your car before starting the ignition each time you use it. Small, furry critters love to snack on wires and cozy up to keep warm in there. This can cause electronics to overheat and can start a fire while the vehicle or equipment is in use. The little guys can also get sucked in, creating clogs and other. . . uh. . . nasty messes.
- Keep trees and shrubs healthy. If you have trees on your property, check for signs of poor health early on to prevent tree loss. Properly prune trees to avoid falling limbs in winter storms. If you have any dead trees on your property, have them removed immediately to prevent them from causing serious damage to your home.
- Clean out your gutters. I’m pretty sure everyone hates this job, but the gutters need some TLC once a year to prevent big problems later on. While cleaning the gutters, take a look at your roof to spot any damaged shingles, flashing, or vents. If you’ve got a fireplace, inspect the chimney while you’re up there and repair it if needed.
- Shut off any outdoor plumbing. Drain outdoor faucets, hoses, and sprinkler systems before covering them to protect them from damage by the impending freezing weather.
- Spend some time composting. Whether you already have a garden or plan to start one, composting all those autumn leaves you raked up will make your plants very happy, and they will thank you for it!
- Plant bulbs to bloom in spring. Give yourself something else about spring to look forward to. Plant bulbs as soon as the soil has cooled down, usually in October, in a place that gets full sun during the day.
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Fall Home Maintenance
- Have your HVAC system and/or furnace checked and serviced. If it wasn’t keeping you cool during the hottest days of summer, it won’t be able to keep you warm on the coldest days of winter, and you’ll likely see a jump in your power bills. HVAC systems should be replaced about every 15 years. If your HVAC is getting up there in years or you’ve been having problems with it, take some time in the fall to do your research and find a reputable expert who can talk with you about the best options for replacing your home HVAC system. Getting this taken care of during the heating/cooling off season means you’ll get better service than you would waiting until your (and everyone else’s) heat goes out during a cold snap. When the time comes to replace it, LoadUp can haul away and dispose of your old furnace or HVAC unit for you, making the whole ordeal a little easier.
- Conduct an energy audit. A trained professional can evaluate the current energy efficiency of your home and recommend improvements that can be made. This might include upgrading to Energy Star appliances, further insulating the attic, and adding or replacing weatherstripping. You can also find instructions for a DIY energy audit online. If you decide to upgrade your refrigerator, dishwasher, or washer/dryer set, you can have LoadUp haul away your old appliances and responsibly dispose of them for you.
- Clean your fireplace and the chimney. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, give it a thorough cleaning, inspect the flue, and make sure the doors and shields work properly. Don’t forget to stock up on firewood now so you don’t have to deal with it in the biting winter wind. Firewood should be kept covered, so it stays dry, and stored away from the house for fire safety. If you don’t have one already, invest in a good firewood carrier for easy transportation.
- Inspect your water heater. Prolong the life of your water heater tank and ensure your water heater’s efficiency and safety with just a bit of basic maintenance once a year. Test the pressure-relief valve located on the top or side of the water heater and replace it if it isn’t working properly or is hard to read. Release the pressure inside the heater’s tank then drain the tank to flush out sediment that has settled to the bottom. Sediment buildup will decrease the lifespan of your water heater, reduce efficiency, and increase your energy bill.
- Check your furnace. You should have your furnace professionally serviced before the cold weather starts. If you can’t afford a professional inspection, you should definitely at least visually inspect it for any potential problems and replace the filter before firing up your furnace for the first time this season.
- Remove AC window units. If you use window air conditioning units in the warm months, take them out before the weather gets cold. If your window units need to be left in, cover the outside of the unit with an insulating wrap to keep cold air from creeping in.
- Inspect your windows and doors. Check the weatherstripping by opening a door, placing a piece of paper in the entryway and closing the door. If the paper slides back and forth easily, the weather stripping needs to be replaced. You should go ahead and re-caulk around windows and door casings this season as well.
- Brighten up your home. To fight off the winter blues, bring as much light into your home as you can for the colder, darker months. To give the natural light from outside a boost, clean your windows and blinds, especially in rooms that get the most sunlight. You may also want to purchase some new lamps to add lighting to darker spaces. Be sure to replace your traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs. Not only are they more earth-friendly, but they’ll help to lower your power bill too!
- Perform a home safety check. Even if they seem to be working just fine, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors. Lots of people replace the batteries on these devices when they change their clocks for daylight savings time. You should also create a family fire escape plan, or review and make any necessary changes to the one you already have. Set up an emergency kit and keep it easily accessible so that you’re prepared for any winter power outages when they happen. If you don’t have a family emergency plan already in place, you can find instructions for creating one in our Guide to Hurricane Preparedness.
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Get Help Getting Your Home Ready for Fall
Getting ready for the colder weather can mean having to replace some older tools and appliances that get more use in fall and winter. You definitely want to go ahead and get this taken care of now so you can be prepared instead of scrambling to find one when you need it and are in a bind.
To help lighten the load on your cold weather prep checklist, you can give LoadUp a call to pick up and dispose of any tools and appliances you’re replacing or to clear away those big bags of leaves and yard debris right away so you don’t have to wait around for the garbage truck to pick them up.
Once you cross everything off of your Fall home maintenance checklist, you’ll be all set to hunker down and enjoy the season in your warm, cozy, and safe home with your loved ones.