That first hint of chill is in the breeze. The green leaves of summer are starting to get yellow, orange, and red-tinged edges. Homeowners know what this means. The seasons are changing, and they have fall home maintenance to get their homes ready for winter.
Fall is the perfect time to do all the home maintenance jobs to get ready for winter. Whether you’re a longtime homeowner or this is your first fall with a mortgage, this guide will help you know just what to do during the fall months.
Read on to learn all about fall home maintenance: Why it’s so important, and our ultimate checklist that will help you make sure you’ve done every chore you need to get your home ready to weather the winter.
The Importance of Fall Home Maintenance
Fall is a great time to tackle all kinds of home improvement and home maintenance tasks for a few important reasons:
- Winter can be hard on homes, and fall is your last chance to get your home in top shape to withstand any harsh winter weather that may be coming your way.
- When winter comes, the days will be shorter and the weather will be colder, making many of these tasks more difficult to do. During fall, when it’s still light and warm outside, is the perfect time to do many of them.
The Ultimate Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
Ready to get started getting your home prepared for the winter months ahead?
Fall maintenance outside your home
Most fall maintenance tasks will take place outside of your home to help get it ready for winter.
Clean and store your mower
One of the first tasks you should tackle in the fall is cutting your grass short and then winterizing and storing your lawnmower. Drain all fuel, give the mower a good cleaning, and then keep it somewhere protected from the elements during the winter months when it isn’t being used.
Service your snowblower
If you have a snowblower, now is the time to make sure it’s ready for the winter season ahead. Pull it out of storage and have it cleaned and serviced so you know it’s well-maintained and outfitted for snow.
Put away outdoor furniture
Any lawn, patio, or deck furniture should be cleaned and stored at this time. Take the extra time now to clean it, so it’s ready to pull out and use when the weather warms up again in the spring.
Put away your grill
If you use a charcoal grill, clean it out and store it somewhere out of the elements. If you use a gas grill, clean and winterize it before storing it for the winter season.
Remove garden hoses from faucets
If you leave your garden hoses attached during winter, water pools inside them can freeze and expand, causing cracks and leaks in the hose. Now is the time to remove and drain all your hoses, put them away, and turn off water to exterior faucets so the pipes don’t freeze.
Drain your sprinkler system
Schedule time for a sprinkler blowout, which will use air to force all remaining water out of your sprinkler lines so they can’t freeze during the winter. This is an important part of winterizing your sprinklers, so they’re ready for cold weather.
Check your foundation for cracks
Any cracks in your foundation could get moisture in them and freeze during the winter, causing existing cracks to widen. That’s why fall is the best time to check your foundation carefully and repair any foundation cracks you can see with caulking. This will also help prevent moisture from leaking into your home during bad weather and keep critters from finding ways to get inside.
Seal air leaks
Check your exterior walls, especially around window and door frames, for leaks that allow drafts of cold air to pass through. Use caulk to patch them so your home will stay warm during the winter.
Clean gutters and downspouts
Your gutters and downspouts will have a lot of work to do in the coming months when falling leaves and rainy weather begin. Take the time now to clean them out and make sure they’re ready to do their job.
Clean window wells
If you let leaves pile up in your window wells, they can trap water, causing the wells to flood. Clean them out whenever needed in the fall, so water can drain properly during winter.
Remove screens and install storm windows
If you live somewhere where you need storm windows for the winter, now is the time to switch them out for your window screens.
Inspect your roof
From the ground, inspect your roofing for any damaged shingles or debris. If it’s been a while since your last roof inspection, you may want to schedule one before winter comes.
Inspect your home’s drainage
Walk around your home and ensure that soil around the house slopes away from your walls and foundation, so water won’t pool up against your home during bad weather.
Check your driveway, walkways, sidewalks, and stairs
Carefully inspect your driveway, sidewalk, and any walkways. If there are cracks, repair them now since they will likely get worse over the winter.
Now is also the time to inspect walkways and stairs for winter safety. Make sure railing are sturdy enough to support someone’s weight if they slip on snow or ice.
Check outdoor lighting
When the days get shorter, outdoor lighting will be more necessary. Now is an excellent time to check your outdoor lights, replace any burnt-out bulbs, and make sure they’re all working properly.
Prune plants and trees
Before winter comes, get your plants in good shape to survive harsh weather by pruning them back and removing any dead branches or buds. Add mulch to garden beds so they’ll be ready for new growth in the spring. If you have cold-sensitive plants, you may want to winterize them by covering them with sheets of burlap or canvas.
Rake your yard
To protect your lawn, make sure to rake leaves as they fall. Check with your city to see if any leaf pickups are scheduled.
Aerate and fertilize your lawn
If you want gren grass in the spring, prep work starts now. Aerate and fertilize your lawn in the fall to make sure it’s ready to grow again when warm weather returns.
Fall maintenance inside your home
Once the outside of your home has been maintained and winterized, it’s time to move to an indoor checklist.
Remove air conditioners
If you use any temporary air conditioning, like window units, remove and store them. Make sure to keep them somewhere dry and protected from moisture, so they’ll be ready to use again when the weather heats up next summer.
Check your furnace
Give your furnace a quick once-over, and change the furnace filter. If you haven’t had your heating system serviced in a few years, you may want to schedule that before winter comes.
Drain your water heater and radiators
You can improve your water heater’s efficiency by periodically flushing it to remove built-up sediment. Do that now, so it’s ready for the winter ahead. If your home uses radiators for heat, you may also want to flush them out, so they’re working their best when the weather turns cold.
Inspect your fireplace and chimney
Before you start using it during the winter months, inspect and clean out your fireplace. Also, carefully inspect your chimney, looking for cracks and soot buildup. Schedule a chimney sweep or cleaning if needed.
Winterize your windows
If your windows are old or drafty, now is the time to winterize them. Add weather stripping around the edges, or seal windows with plastic insulation to help keep your home warm and energy-efficient.
Change ceiling fan directions
Reverse your ceiling fans, so they create an upward draft. This will draw warm air down from the ceiling and help keep your home comfortable during colder months.
Test safety devices
Test all your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Change their batteries to ensure they keep working all winter long.
Check your fire extinguishers
Make sure your fire extinguishers are clean, accessible, and haven’t expired. Replace them if needed.
Clean dryer vents
When dirt builds up in dryer vents, it reduces the efficiency of your dryer — but even worse, it can be a fire hazard in the winter. Unhook your dryer from the vent and carefully clean it out.
Fall home cleaning and organization
Spring isn’t the only time to clean. Fall is another great time to tackle some cleaning and DIY projects that will make sure your whole home is ready for winter.
Deep clean and declutter
When the seasons change is a great time to deep clean and declutter your home — because any time is a good time for those tasks. If you’re not sure where to start, our ultimate decluttering guide can help.
Clean out the garage
Fall is a great time to focus on cleaning out the garage, in particular. You should remove things like paint that might freeze during the winter. You can also make space to organize and store things like lawn and garden tools.
Air out the house
Cold weather is coming, which means any day could be your last chance to open all the windows and air out your home. Take advantage of the opportunity while you still can.
Rotate your wardrobe
Take your winter clothes and outerwear out of storage and give them some time to air out. Carefully check over winter gear to make sure it still fits and is in good condition to keep you warm for another winter season.
Consider an energy audit
With winter coming, your home appliances are going to be working hard to keep your home safe, warm, and comfortable. If you haven’t had one recently, consider scheduling an energy audit to see if your home is running efficiently or if updating any appliances could help you save energy and money during this and future winters.
Stock up on winter supplies
Now is the time to start gathering whatever you need for the winter: Snow shovels, ice melt, fuel, and supplies for emergency kits for your home and car.
Need Storage Before Winter? Rent it from a Neighbor
Whether it’s your lawnmower, patio furniture, or a summer recreation vehicle — you may find yourself with belongings you need to store for the winter. Why not store things with a neighbor? Neighbor connects community members so they can share their extra space — building community ties along the way.
Neighbor is a safe and affordable, new kind of self storage. See storage available near you today.