DIY Friday: Fall Home Maintenance

Looking for a great DIY project for the weekend?  With the first official day of fall just a few days away it’s a great time to start thinking about fall home maintenance and getting a head start on preparing your property for the cooler seasons. Especially since the weather forecast for the next few weeks looks fairly nice!  Many of you may already have a list of chores that should be done around the house but for those of you that don’t here is a list of fall home maintenance chores.

DIY Friday: Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Outdoor Projects: 

  • Complete exterior painting before cooler weather arrives
  • Check and repair exterior lighting before daylight fades
  • Store lawn ornaments and patio furniture in a shed or basement. If space is limited, weather-resistant covers can protect outdoor furnishings
  • Cover outside of air-conditioning units and shut off power
  • Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall so that water does not drain into your basement
  • Clean leaves from eavestroughs and roof, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof
  • Drain and store outdoor hoses.  Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet), unless your house has frost-proof hose bibs
  • Have well water tested for quality.  It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months
  • If you have a septic tank, measure the sludge and scum to decide if the tank needs to be emptied before the spring.  Tanks should be pumped out at least once every three years
  • Close your pool before leaves start to fall, and nighttime temperatures begin to drop. Sooner than that and you risk an algae bloom
  • Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests
  • Store kids toys indoors or in an outdoor shed to prevent rusting and fading

Lawn & Garden:

  • Till and prepare planting beds when the soil is relatively dry. By adding soil and mulch to your beds, you’ll be a step ahead for spring planting
  • Plant spring blooming bulbs and perennials
  • Protect roses, saplings and small trees by sheltering them with a burlap screen
  • Pull weeds to reduce the number of seedlings next spring
  • Mow grass short for the final cut of the year by reducing the cutting height gradually to 3.5 cm (from 7.4 cm) until the grass stops growing

Indoor Preparation:

  • Bring container plants indoors, making sure they are free of pests. Doing so may enable plants to survive the season and bloom again in spring
  • Check and clean your humidifier. Empty the tank, dry the inside surfaces and refill with clean water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Have your furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company ever two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace, or as recommended by the manufacturer
  • If you have central air conditioning, make sure the drain pan under the cooling coil mounted in the furnace plenum is draining properly and is clean
  • Lubricate circulating pump on hot water heating system
  • Bleed air from hot water radiators
  • Disconnect the power to the furnace and check the forced-air furnace fan belt, if installed, for wear, looseness or noise; clean fan blades of any dirt buildup
  • Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust
  • Remove the grilles on forced-air systems and vacuum inside the ducts
  • Turn ON gas furnace pilot light (if your furnace has one), set the thermostat to “heat” and test the furnace for proper operation by raising the thermostat setting until the furnace starts to run.  Once you have confirmed proper operation, return the thermostat to the desired setting
  • Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months
  • Check to see that the ductwork leading to and from the heat recovery ventilator is in good shape, the joints are tightly sealed (aluminum tape or mastic)and any duct insulation and plastic duct wrap is free of tears and holes
  • If the heat recovery ventilator has been shut off for the summer, clean the filters and the core, and pour water down the condensate drain to test it
  • Check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly.  If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow)
  • Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries
  • Check sump pump and line to ensure proper operations, and to ascertain that there are no line obstructions or visible leaks
  • Replace window screens with storm windows
  • Remove interior insect screens from windows to allow air from the heating system to keep condensation off window glass and to allow more free solar energy into your home
  • Ensure windows and skylights close tightly; repair or replace weather-stripping, as needed
  • If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely


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