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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Use this fall home maintenance checklist to keep your house - and property - in peak condition as we head into the winter months.

With summer fading and seasons changing, Fall’s home improvement tasks center around getting your home ready for the cooler weather ahead. From your annual HVAC checkup to making sure your fireplace is in top shape, our Fall home maintenance checklist will get you in the mood to groove with some pumpkin space something or other and your favorite tunes.

Now that our summer heat seems to be giving way a little, take advantage of these far more comfortable days to tackle these important items in around your home.

1. Clean out the Gutters

Summer rains, yard work, and the coming of Fall means that most likely, your gutters are full of debris. An old plastic spatula makes for a great tool to clean them quickly and easily. They won’t scratch up the gutter, and you can cut them to fit gutter contours with snips.

What’s more, because the grit and grime wipes right off, cleanup is a breeze.

Clear out the Gutters

2. Service Your HVAC System

As the temperatures start to drop, you may find yourself flipping that switch from Cool to Heat. To make sure you are conditioning your air both at its optimum and at it’s safest, we always recommend you schedule an HVAC technician to come out for a full service check.

Small maintenance items can ward off costly repairs down the road, and also help you keep your heating and cooling bills at their best.

Get Your HVAC System Checked

3. Check Your Smoke Detectors

With the heater running, your windows closed, and portable heaters at your feet, Fall is the perfect time to make sure all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working as they should. Replace the batteries in all of your devices.

And since smoke detectors typically only last for about 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors 6, be sure to check out the expiration dates for your devices and replace if necessary.

If you address none of the other items on our Fall Home Maintenance Checklist, do this one. It could save your life.

Check Your Detectors

4. Inspect and Repair the Roof

In our area, hurricane’s are a way of life. So when the weather permits, it’s important to inspect your roof regularly for damaged shingles, lifted flashing, and leaks. If access to your attic is available, check the underside of your roof during our after a rainstorm to make sure water is not penetrating your roof.

Next, take a look at your roof from the outside; clean off any debris and brush to prevent creating areas where water can pool. Seal and tack down any lifted shingles or flashing. For larger jobs, call in a reputable roofer.

Inspect the Roof

5. Prepare Your Lawn for Cooler Temps

Before you do anything else with your lawn, make sure you clean up your flowerbeds of dead shrubs and trees, pull weeds, and remove all of those dead leaves from your lawn. Otherwise, the cooler temperatures and swift winds will create even more of a mess.

Next, drop your mower one or two notches, and give your lawn a once over being careful not to burn it. Finally, aerate your lawn using a rentable machine, or even buy aeration sandals from your local home improvement store.

Prepare Your Lawn

6. Winterize Your Sprinkler System

We don’t often have crazy cold winters that require wrapping pipes, but when we do – one oft overlooked task is to bleed the lines of your sprinkler system to prevent cracking. It’s a simple 3 minute task, that will will expensive plumber repair bills from ever happening.

And all you need is a flathead screwdriver, and maybe a pair of pliers.

7. Drain Water Hoses

While you’re at it, unscrew your water hoses and make sure they’re drained completely. Then store them in a dry location. Every year, homeowners replace thousands of water hoses because they forget to drain them, and freezing water destroys them from the inside-out.

When you’re done, make sure you close the water valves tightly, and then wrap the entire pipe, including the valve to protect them from the coming cold weather.

Drain Your Water Hose

8. Clean the Chimney

How often do you have your chimney cleaned? Have you ever? Creosote and soot buildup in the chimney flue is dangerous because it can ignite and cause an uncontrollable chimney fire.

A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8-in. or more layer of buildup (the thickness of a nickel), call a chimney sweep.

Clean the Chimney

9. Clean and Lube the Garage Door Opener

A neglected garage door will soon be a non-functioning garage door. And the same is true of the opener itself. Show your garage door a little love, by cleaning the springs and following with a spray lubricant.

Be sure to show equal attention to the garage door opener. Chain, belt, and shaft drive openers all need to be cleaned regularly, and lubrication will help keep it running smoothly and quietly.

Clean Your Garage Door

10. Change Your HVAC Filters

Time was, you used to change your 1″ air filters every month, or at the very most, every three months. That made it fairly easy to remember this simple task. But newer HVAC systems have abandoned the in-ceiling air returns, for cartridge based filters that are installed actually into the unit itself.

The benefit is that you only have to change these cartridges every six months, but as you can imagine that can make it difficult to remember. So set a reminder for yourself, and start fresh now. Change out that cartridge before your heating system gets it’s annual workout.

Change Your HVAC Filters

11. Clean Your Carpets

Fall is the perfect time to clean your carpets. When Houston’s hot humid summers start to give way, replaced by the cooler open-window air – the ventilation will air with the drying process.

Machines are cheap to rent and easy to use, so much so that even many grocery stores are renting them. But if you want a true deep clean, hire a pro and disappear for a day of fun.

Clean Your Carpets

12. Clean out the Garage

Month’s of yard work, hauling groceries in the house, pulling cars in and out, and tools that were taken out and never put back have a natural way of dirtying and cluttering up the garage. Fall is the perfect time to clean it out, de-clutter, and put everything back in its place.

And the timing couldn’t be better as you prepare to start pulling down Halloween, Thanksgiving, and eventually Christmas decorations.

Clean out the Garage

Every year, we review our fall home maintenance checklist, and one by one check these items off the list. Any every year, our list seems to grow. We hope you’ll find our list helpful, as you prepare to go into the Fall season. Be sure to comment below and tell us what items we should add!

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