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Prepare Your Home for Fall

7 Essential Tasks to Prepare Your Home for Fall

When the weather cools and the kids are back in school, it’s the perfect time to mark a few items off your home maintenance to-do list. While homeowners might not be ready to think about winter just yet, there are some important tasks that should be taken care of now to ensure your home can weather the seasons ahead.

OUTSIDE YOUR HOME

Take advantage of the crisp fall weather to tackle these outdoor maintenance items:

1. Inspect the roof

Make sure your roof is in good repair before fall storms roll through. While getting on a ladder offers the best look, homeowners can safely inspect their roof from the ground using a pair of binoculars. Look for shingles that are missing, loose, broken, or curling and for cracked caulk or rusting on flashing. Inside, monitor for signs of leaking like dark spots on the ceiling.

2. Clean outdoor furniture and tools.

Before you store your garden tools, power equipment, and patio furniture for the season, make sure everything is clean and in good shape for spring. If you’re not sure where to start, this guide from Fiskars walks you through basic garden tool maintenance. You’ll appreciate your efforts when you have clean and sharp tools to use come springtime. 

3. Clean out your gutters.

Clogged gutters can cause expensive damage to your home’s siding and foundation. Make sure yours can handle the coming seasons by removing leaves, nests, and other debris from your gutters before fall. If spending the afternoon perched on a ladder doesn’t appeal to you, hire a pro to handle this dirty job for you.

4. Divide and plant perennials.

Late summer and early fall are the best times to update your home’s landscaping. While the soil is still warm from summer’s heat, take the opportunity to divide any perennial plants that are starting to overcrowd. This is also a good time to plant flower bulbs, young trees, and grass.

INSIDE YOUR HOME

The fun doesn’t end when you head indoors. To keep your family comfortable all fall and winter long, make sure you accomplish these tasks in the late summer:

1. Clean the fireplace.

If you like to cozy up around a fire on chilly fall nights, you’ll need to make sure your chimney is in good condition before the temperatures drop. Cleaning a chimney is difficult and can be dangerous, so it’s best to hire a professional chimney sweep for the job.  

2. Inspect for drafts.

As air conditioning is replaced by heating, it’s time to inspect your home for drafts. Even a small leak can spike your utility bills and decrease your home’s heating efficiency. The Department of Energy recommends performing a visual inspection of door and window frames, baseboards, attic hatches, and electrical outlets, among other areas inside and outside your home to detect leaks.

3. Maintain your air conditioning unit.

Before you turn off your air conditioner for the year, clean around your outdoor AC unit to remove leaves, weeds, and other debris. It’s also important to change your air filter one last time, but remember to select the right size — and know the difference between an AC filter and a furnace filter — before installing it. Also, pay attention to the MERV rating on the filter; the higher the number, the more participles it will collect. 

Being a homeowner comes with a lot of responsibility, and sticking to an annual home maintenance schedule is one of the best ways to protect your investment. Make sure these seven tasks make it on your late-summer to-do list so your house is as ready for fall as you are.

Paul Denikin enjoys working on DIY home repair projects. He learned to navigate the world of DIY while raising a child with special needs.

Image via Pixabay