There’s a lot to look forward to as summer turns to fall: leaves will change, football season will begin, pumpkin spice will reign supreme. The best way to jump feet first into fall fun? Make sure you get the chores out of the way. That’s where our handy fall home maintenance checklist comes in — updated for the challenges and priorities of 2020.
Reap Long-Term Rewards with Regular Maintenance
Taking regular care of your home keeps you comfortable and keeps your systems working well. But there are other benefits to regular seasonal maintenance, too, like:
- Saving you time and money on repairs and replacements in the long run
- Catching small issues with your systems before they become big ones
- Increasing your home’s overall value
- Reducing your home’s energy production, which decreases your bills
Now’s a great time to reset and take care of some of that maintenance upkeep. Here are some small tasks to tick off your list before the cold weather arrives.
1. Quick and Easy DIY Maintenance
You can start by scanning some key things for damage and functionality. Check off these quick and simple check-ins all of your own!
Probe the Perimeter
Take a stroll around the interior and exterior of your home, paying close attention to any damages, deterioration, or things that just don’t look quite right. Search for and identify areas in your home that could use window or door weatherstripping, and take note of all of these locations. Getting these fixed up and sealed for winter should be a top priority.
Your home’s safety supplies need maintenance, too. Check your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, home fire extinguishers, and first-aid kits to make sure they’re stocked and functioning.
Test your detectors to confirm that they’re working properly, and change the batteries if necessary. Carbon monoxide and smoke detector maintenance is key to keeping you and your family safe.
Windy Window Winterizing
Scan your home’s windows to feel for drafts. If you’re dealing with drafts now, they’ll be downright unpleasant when the cold weather arrives. Sealing your windows for winter can help to keep the cold air out.
Switch Things Up!
Once the temperature begins to change, your return vents and your ceiling fans should change, too.
Because hot air rises and cold air falls, you should switch your return vents to open in order to collect the sinking cold air. At the same time, you’ll want to close your upper return vents to prevent warm air from escaping.
You should also make a ceiling fan direction switch. Wondering which way the fan should spin? In the wintertime, you should switch the direction from counterclockwise to clockwise, and if you choose to run it, do so at its lowest speed. This action will pull cold air up, pushing the warm air down simultaneously, helping to warm up the room temperature.
2. Outdoor Maintenance and Manicuring
As the cold weather starts to creep in, it’s time to take care of your outdoor maintenance, cleanup, and clearing. Take these action steps as soon as fall arrives to prepare the outside of your home for the winter months.
A little pre-winter cleanup is great for your greenery! Trim back tree branches, bushes, and hedges that have become overgrown. Plant fresh grass in any areas where yours might have died, and clear the lawn of any stray debris and foliage.
Close Up Water Shop
Once the temperature drops, your outside water valves will be vulnerable to freezing. Shut any water access points outside of your home, such as hoses, outdoor faucets, and spigots to protect your pipes from freezing and getting damaged.
Pack it Away
In order to maintain and extend the life of your accessories, cover patio furniture and other outdoor items with weatherproof covering (if you can’t store it away in a shed or garage).
Gutter maintenance is key to ensuring your gutters and roof aren’t damaged during the winter months. Clean out your gutters to remove any debris, foliage, nests, or other materials.
3. Seasonal System Maintenance
Now that you’ve knocked out the easy DIY maintenance steps, it’s time to advance to the next level of fall maintenance: taking care of your systems.
There are several systems that need special attention this time of the year. These steps are a bit more involved, even for a master DIY-er like yourself, and might call for a check-up from your trusty GEM Plumbing or HVAC specialist.
HVAC maintenance is crucial for your fall home maintenance regimen. A thorough inspection, cleaning, and tuneup will help prepare your HVAC system to weather the cold temperatures ahead.
Good news — GEM can help with that! Schedule an appointment with one of our heating specialists, and we’ll make sure your system is ready for whatever winter has to throw at it.
Window AC Units
If you have a window air conditioner, your window AC unit should be removed 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!
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.
Have your water heater cleaned and serviced by a GEM Plumbing specialist, or if you’re feeling bold, try it yourself. Make sure to check that the water pressure is optimal, that there are no leaks, and no signs of damage. Clean out any mineral buildup or sediment to ensure it will keep working well through the months ahead.
4. Taking Care of Your Air
Last but definitely not least, you should consider what can be done to improve the air you breathe inside. Now more than ever, indoor air is 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. But wait! You’ll need to be sure your chimney is clean and clear. Better do that now, while the weather is still nice, instead of waiting and missing your chance.
Clean your chimney of any debris and other materials that might’ve gotten lodged inside it. Various pollutants and other dust particles can drift into your home if this is not taken care of, reducing the quality of your air inside your home.
Be careful! Climbing onto your roof to clean your chimney can be very dangerous, and you’ll need to take some precautions. If you’re uncomfortable with this maintenance step, contact GEM instead to book chimney cleaning services for your home.
Indoor Air Quality Systems
Indoor air quality is a serious topic, and health and hygiene is at the top of everyone’s mind these days. The harsh reality is that, over time, the air in your home 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
Believe it or not, it’s perfectly normal for these things to enter your air (many come from right outside, your cleaning supplies, paints, or are your home’s systems), but they shouldn’t be ignored. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality can be four to five times worse than outdoor air quality!
Unwanted pollutants can cause a variety of health issues for you and your family, including allergy and asthma symptoms, headaches, fatigue, and more. The longer they’re left to accumulate, the worse health symptoms can become.The bright side is that there’s plenty you can do to improve the air you breathe at home. A great step is to install (and maintain) an indoor air quality system: with an IAQ system, you can enjoy clean and clear air that holds far less dust and fewer pollutants. It’s an effective way to push back against the impending allergy season, too!
Setting up for Success
Once you get through these maintenance tasks, you’ll be in a pretty solid place when winter comes around: not only can you count on your systems springing into action, but you can be sure they’re prepared to get you through the season. Need a bit of support? Contact GEM to get your maintenance routine up to speed.