Fall Waterloo Region Home Maintenance Checklist
The days are getting shorter, there is a crisp breeze in the air, and the leaves are starting to turn colour. It's nearly that time of year again, when you can light a fire, decorate the mantel with a garland, root for your favourite hockey team and switch your regular coffee order to pumpkin spice.
While most people are pretty excited for fall and all the fun activities it brings, if you are a Waterloo Region homeowner, there's also plenty of work to be done. As fall approaches, it's time to start preparing your home for the season shift.
We've put together the ultimate fall home maintenance checklist to get you started and make sure that your home is ready for the weather change, and is all set for the harsher winter ahead. To learn more about how to finish your fall home maintenance projects before autumn gives way to winter, keep reading.
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: Indoor Jobs
Before winter arrives, it's crucial to have your heating systems checked out and, if needed, fixed. The HVAC vents and air ducts throughout your home should all be checked for dust and debris that accumulated over the summer. Before the busy winter season, make an appointment with a local HVAC company for help with routine maintenance and cleaning.
This maintenance is not just about making sure the heat will work when you come to switch it on either. Regular maintenance can improve the efficiency of your heating system and reduce the amount of dust that leads to home allergies.
You should also ensure that everything combustible has been moved far away from your heating unit or heating vents. To help you save money on energy during the winter months, make sure your thermostat is operating correctly and think about installing a programmable thermostat if you have yet to invest in one.
Make sure your plumbing systems are functional and in good shape in order to get ready for the winter. Your water heater's pressure valves should be checked and tested for leakage. Consider hiring a qualified plumber to check the insulation on the pipes in your basement, garage, and attic spaces to keep them from freezing.
To prevent indoor pipes from freezing because of outdoor connections, you should disconnect and drain external plumbing. This often consists of sprinklers, outdoor faucets, and hoses, and it's something you should do before those first snap frosts.
Check Your Doors and Windows
Now is a great time to switch the summer screens on your windows and doors to winter storm screens in order to prevent storm damage. Look for any indications of drafts in your windows and doors, and install new caulking and weather stripping as necessary to help prevent drafts. If your home has storm windows or doors, check them for any cracks or broken glass that would require professional repair. Additionally, you should check your screens for any unwelcome bugs and, if necessary, arrange for a pest inspection.
Insulation and Ventilation Checks
Make sure your insulation is in good shape as you finish the tasks on your fall home maintenance checklist. To stop excessive heat loss, start by caulking any cracks in the foundation or walls. Make sure to look for any indications of dampness in your basement and attic. Move the insulation if you see it obstructing any vents to avoid ice dams. Look for any debris or weeds in ridge vents or vents at the eaves and clear them out.
A crucial aspect of home care that is often overlooked is routine appliance maintenance. Add checking your appliances to your fall home maintenance must-do list if you haven't done so recently. Look for leaks in any hoses that are connected to the dishwasher, refrigerator, washer, and sink, and tighten as necessary. If repairs are required, the time to schedule them is right now.
Watch out for any potential fire hazards when maintaining your appliances. Cleaning away the lint build-up in and around your dryer on a regular basis will prevent fires. Additionally, be sure to remove any fire hazards like piles of newspapers from your home, especially if it has a fireplace, or you frequently light candles there.
Safety Equipment Checks
Inspection of safety devices like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is another essential component of fall home maintenance. Inspect any detectors you have in your home and change the batteries, whether you think it's necessary or not (it's always better to be safe than sorry). Install a carbon monoxide detector if you don't already have one.
Additionally, make sure the alarm systems are operational and test the fire extinguishers. Review and put into operation your home evacuation plan in addition to adopting these safety precautions. If you don't have one of those, you really should make one now, and the information you'll find here will help you.
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: Outdoor Jobs
Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Cleaning out and inspecting your gutters and downspouts is an important fall home care activity that you should do early on in the season and then once again after all the leaves have fallen.
Leaf removal is very important. Not only will you be removing those leaves, but you'll also prevent vermin from making their home in them and the chance that you'll be left with corroded gutters will be reduced.
Make sure there are no loose gutter support brackets by checking them. Additionally, make sure that water isn't standing in puddles close to the driveway or foundation or draining from behind the gutters. If you don't like ladders or heights, hire a professional to help you.
Make careful to check your home's exterior, including the roof, before winter. This essential step will help you make sure that your house is properly weather-proofed. If you notice paint flaking, this can mean that the exterior of your house is no longer shielded. If so, you might want to add an additional layer of protection by painting over the area.
Look for any missing or loose shingles while inspecting the roof. These are essential layers to keep your house dry during the fall and winter. If you see these damage indicators, it is preferable to have your roof fixed before a storm causes a leak to develop.
Before lighting your fireplace for the the first time in the fall season, it's crucial to schedule a chimney inspection. A specialist can check for cracks, damage indications, and soot or creosote build-up, and it's a good idea to have the chimney professionally cleaned.
Landscaping and Gardening Tasks
Include fertilizing, aerating, and reseeding your lawn in your fall home maintenance checklist if you have one. Additionally, you should winterize your sprinkler system, which you may perform on your own or with assistance from a nearby landscaping or lawn care business.
Before winter sets in, pruning your trees and shrubs can encourage some additional growth. Consider contacting a tree service to cut back any very old or very large trees close to your home or electricity lines to prevent potential power outages or caved-in roofs in the case of strong winds or storms knocking them down.
Maintaining sidewalks, driveways, and front steps will help to avoid potentially dangerous walking conditions. Check the condition of any railings on your back deck or the steps going up to your house to make sure there are no signs of instability or decaying wood. Make any necessary repairs to make sure that any decks and railings can withstand the colder weather. Any outdoor furniture from the summer should be put away before the winter rain and snow arrive to avoid damage.
Check Your Snow Supplies
Make sure your snow equipment is in good operating order and is easy to locate when preparing your home in the fall. In a location where they are not exposed to the elements and are simple to reach in case of early-season snowfall, store shovels, rakes, and snow blowers together and make sure everyone in your family old enough to help knows where everything is and how it all works.
The most important step on your fall home maintenance checklist is preparing in advance. If you see a problem with your home, don’t wait until the last minute or the first winter storm. Stay proactive and schedule any necessary inspections, cleaning, and maintenance as soon as you can. And then reward yourself with one of those fall treats you have been looking forward to all summer long!