The Fall Home Maintenance Checklist can be made easier with the help of a few different contractors (Chimney Sweep, Gas/Plumbing Contractor, Gutter Specialist, HVAC contractor). Entering into service agreements with companies to come out for yearly maintenance can make our honey-do lists much shorter and help protect our home over the long-term. For those of us that want to save money and perform some maintenance items ourselves we will have to acquire new equipment and learn new skills.
FALL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Fill Propane/oil tanks
Propane/oil tanks should be filled in preparation for the cold season. Contact your provider.
Gutters/downspouts cleaning may be needed 2 or three times during the Fall season for houses located in wooded areas. Overflowing gutters cause siding/trim/framing decay and erosion/damage to the foundation walls over the long-term. Leaf guards reduce maintenance but regular maintenance is still needed.
Service Gas Appliance(s)
Some propane providers and plumbers offer annual gas safety inspections and servicing which helps to ensure safe and reliable service.
Chimneys and fireplaces should be inspected and cleaned annually by a chimney specialist to prevent fire/safety hazards.
Service Furnace / Heating System(s)
The heating equipment should be serviced to ensure safe and reliable operation over Winter.
Switch Direction and Clean Ceiling Fans
As the weather becomes colder the direction of the fans should be switched clockwise to direct warm air downward and to keep the home more comfortable. Make sure the blades are free of dust and debris.
Storm windows and doors should be installed. Door and window energy seals should be repaired or installed. Attic access doors should be insulated.
Fallen or damaged insulation in the crawl space or basement should be repaired. Attic insulation should be repaired or upgraded as needed.
Winterize Swimming Pool / Hot Tub / Other Plumbing
Schedule a professional service to check and service the pool and/or hot tub as well as the pump and filter equipment then remove unneeded chemicals and water to correct level to close the pool/hot tub before the last freeze of the year. Owners of second homes may consider Winterizing plumbing for the cold months – a plumber can be consulted.
SEASONAL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Replace Water Sediment Filter:
Water sediment filters prevent silt from clogging and damaging the plumbing lines and fixtures. Commonly found in homes for well systems, these are becoming more common in homes with municipal water as they help prevent clogging/sediment in the lines when the municipal lines are being repaired/replaced. Follow the directions given with the filter install or call a specialist to maintain the filter.
Clean Faucet Aerators:
Faucet aerators are the small mesh screens at the end of a faucet– they catch small particles that slips through sediment filters as well as reduce the flow coming from the faucet to prevent excessive splashing. The aerators for sinks can become clogged with sediment (well systems or municipal water) The aerators should be removed (a special key or tool is usually required) and cleaned as needed.
Replace HVAC/Furnace filters:
A clogged filter makes a system inefficient! Through time, filters will clog with dust, dirt, and grime which will make your system work harder and less efficient. Dirty filters can also impart smells into the home. Remove the cover of the return vent and replace the paper filter with the correct size.
Inspect for Plumbing Leaks:
Inspect sink cabinets and around tubs/showers/toilets for evidence of a leak. Inspect Water Heater area for leaks and the indoor Heating/Cooling equipment for condensate leaks. If unchecked, a small leak can escalate into a catastrophic water intrusion incident. Contact a plumber for repairs as needed.
Test GFCI outlets and breakers:
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets help prevent electrical hazards near plumbing fixtures or other sources of water by cutting power in the event of a ground fault. To test the outlet just press the test button in the middle of the outlet. If the test does not reset, contact an electrician for repair.
MONTHLY HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Maintain Plumbing Drains, Dishwashers and Washing Machines:
Clean garbage disposal (if there is one). Unclog sink/tub/shower drains. Clean dishwasher and washing machine (Clean cycles, tablets, enzyme packets and home remedies can be used like vinegar and baking soda). Refer to the owner’s manual of each appliance for more information.
Test Smoke and CO detectors:
The USFA recommends testing the alarms monthly. Smoke Detectors are the most important item in your home when it comes to your family’s safety, these help to alert you and your family to fire and dangerous smoke while there is still time to evacuate. These detectors should be replaced every ten years. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced when carbon-containing fuels (such as coal, oil, kerosene, natural gas) are burned. CO inhibits the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to body tissues thus these detectors should be installed and maintained so that the alarm can be triggered by any fuel burning appliance such as gas cookers, boilers, and ovens that are emitting CO. These detectors should be replaced every ten years.
Inspect Fire Extinguishers:
The NFPA recommends inspecting fire extinguishers monthly. Extinguishers help control small fires– specially kitchen fires. Make sure the extinguisher is accessible and charged. Contact your local fire department for further instructions on how to maintain fire extinguishers. In many cases, the fire department will be glad to give instructions and inspect the extinguishers in your home.