Home in the fall with leaves covering lawn

There’s a lot to look forward to as summer transitions into fall: changing leaves, football games, and everything pumpkin spice. But before you jump feet first into fall, follow our handy fall home maintenance checklist to to prepare your home for the New England cold.

Reap Long-Term Rewards With Regular Maintenance

Along with keeping your home’s systems in shape, regular seasonal home maintenance provides other benefits like:

  • Saving you time and money on repairs and replacements in the long run
  • Catching small issues with your systems before they evolve
  • Increasing your home’s overall value
  • Reducing your home’s energy production to lower your bills

There’s no better time than now to get ahead of your home’s fall maintenance in New England. Here are some DIY tasks to tick off your list before the cold weather arrives.

1. Quick And Easy DIY Maintenance In New England

Ready to become a DIY master? Start by scanning some key parts of your New England home for damage and functionality.

Probe The Perimeter

Take a stroll around the interior and exterior of your home, paying close attention to any damages, deterioration, or parts that just don’t look quite right. Search, identify, and take note of any areas in your home that may need window or door weatherstripping. Fixing and sealing these areas for fall and winter will keep the cold air where it belongs: outside!

Inspect Your Detectors And Safety Equipment

When fall and winter arrive, you’ll likely use your heating system and fireplace (if you have one) quite frequently. This heat, while comfortable, can also be harmful to the air in your home. Check and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and change batteries if necessary, to confirm they’re working properly. Additionally, make sure your home fire extinguisher is working and that your first-aid kits have all the necessary supplies.

Winterize Your Windows

Cool winds are best left outside. Scan your home’s windows to feel for drafts and be sure to handle them sooner than later, so your home can stay warm and toasty. Sealing your windows for winter can help keep the cold air out.

It’s also time to remove any door and window screens and install storm windows to protect your home during the harsh winter months. If you can, store your screens in a dry area so they’re ready to make an appearance when the cold weather passes.

Vet Your Vents

Once the temperature begins to change outside, you’ll want to preserve all the warm air you can on the inside.

Since hot air rises and cold air falls, make sure to switch your return vents from closed to open to collect cold air. At the same time, close your upper return vents to prevent warm air from escaping.

Once you switch the direction of your vents, consider doing the same for your ceiling fan. In the wintertime, you’ll want to switch the direction of your fan from counterclockwise to clockwise for optimal warm airflow. When operating the fan, run it at its lowest speed so it can pull up cold air while pushing down warm air, keeping you and your home warm and comfortable.

2. Outdoor Maintenance In New England

As those cool New England breezes start to roll in, prepare the property around your home for fall and winter. Consider these following outdoor maintenance, cleanup, and clearing steps to make your home the best it can be!

Lawn Maintenance

A little pre-winter cleanup is great for your greenery! Trim back tree branches, bushes, and any overgrown hedges to protect your home and lift the load for when spring arrives. You’ll also want to fertilize your lawn and replace any areas of dead grass with fresh grass to nourish your yard’s roots and plants during the cold winter months. Last, but not least, clear your lawn of any stray debris and foliage.

Close Your Outdoor Water Valves

Once the temperature drops, your outdoor water valves may be vulnerable to freezing. Be sure to shut off any water access points outside your home, including hoses, outdoor faucets, and spigots to protect your pipes from freezing and other damage. Similar to how you snuggle a blanket to keep warm, consider insulating any exposed pipes to give them an extra layer of protection.

Protect Your Patio

In order to maintain and extend the life of your accessories, cover your patio furniture and other outdoor items with weatherproof covering. If you have a shed or garage, you can store these items there to protect them from harsh weather conditions.

Gutter Cleaning

Foliage in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts is a beautiful sight, until those leaves clog your gutters. Consider using a gutter scoop or leaf blower to carefully remove any leaves, debris, nests, or other materials from your gutters to prevent any damage. This can also help protect your roof.

Roof Inspection

As your home’s first defense, make sure your roof is in great shape for winter. From loose or missing shingles to broken branches, it’s smart to have a professional complete a thorough inspection of your roof so it’s ready to protect your home from New England snowstorms.

3. Seasonal System Maintenance In New England

Now that you’re a master of DIY fall maintenance, let’s take a look at the projects that might require extra help to maintain. From plumbing to electrical, your home has several systems that need special attention this time of year — and that’s where we come in! Our GEM specialists can help you inspect and maintain all of your home’s systems to make sure they’re in shape for fall and winter.

Heating Systems

There’s nothing better than walking into a warm home when it’s cold outside. We’re here to emphasize the importance of heating and cooling maintenance. A thorough inspection, cleaning, and tuneup will help prepare your HVAC system to weather the cold temperatures ahead. 

Schedule an appointment with one of our heating specialists, and we’ll make sure your system is ready for whatever the approaching New England weather throws its way!

Window AC Units

If you have a window air conditioner, it’s best to remove it before the cold weather hits.

While you’re at it, this is a great opportunity to look into any end-of-season discounts and deals on central air systems, if you’re thinking about making the switch!

Want some guidance on air conditioners? Call GEM today for our heating and cooling services in New England. We can help you select the best system for your home.

Hot Water Heaters

Just like your heating system, your hot water heater needs a checkup. Water heater maintenance is crucial to keep your water temperature hot throughout the cold winter months. If you want to tackle some more DIY maintenance, you can clean out any mineral buildup or sediment inside your unit to enhance its operational efficiency.

For a more thorough inspection, one of our GEM Plumbing specialists in New England can clean and service your water heater to ensure the water pressure is optimal and look for any signs of leaks or other damage.

4. Taking Care Of Your Air

Last, but definitely not least, we’re here to help you improve your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ). Now more than ever, indoor air remains in the spotlight — and particles, bacteria, and allergens have no place inside your home. Here’s how to take care of your indoor air to stay healthy and happy.

Chimney And Fireplace Maintenance

When the temperature drops, there’s nothing quite as nice as a roaring fire. Before warming up next to your fireplace, make sure it’s clean and clear of any debris or other materials. Cleaning your chimney can prevent various pollutants and other dust particles from drifting into your home, improving your home’s indoor air quality.

While the fireplace and indoor sections of your chimney are more accessible to clean, the same may not apply to the chimney section on your roof — that’s why we’re here to help to tackle any chimney challenges! Contact GEM to book chimney cleaning services for your home.

Indoor Air Quality Systems

Indoor air quality is an important topic, especially as health and hygiene remain at top of mind these days. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality can be four to five times worse than outdoor air quality. But with GEM’s indoor air quality services, we’re here to make sure your home’s air quality is safe and healthy.

In the meantime, it’s good to know how air quality can impact your home. Over time, your home’s air can collect pollutants like:

  • Combustion byproducts (carbon monoxide, smoke, particulate matter)
  • Mold, dust, and other allergens
  • Pesticides and other harmful chemicals
  • Organic compounds that are not meant for human inhalation

Many of these contaminants can originate from outside, or your home’s cleaning supplies, paints, and systems. They can impact you and your family’s health by triggering allergy and asthma symptoms, headaches, fatigue, and more. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to improve the air you breathe in your New England home. We highly recommend installing an indoor air quality system in your home so you can enjoy clean and clear air. IAQ systems hold far less dust and fewer pollutants, and are effective against allergies.

Setting Up For Success In Your New England Home

Once you check off these maintenance tasks, your home will be more than ready for New England fall and winter. Not only can you count on your systems to spring into action, but you can be sure they’ll work throughout the season.

Want a helping hand? Contact GEM to get your maintenance routine up to speed and prepare your home for the cold weather in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts!

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