Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist: Tips For Your Home & Yard This Fall

September 14, 2022

It’s almost here! Crunchy leaves underfoot, gorgeous blue skies, and a crisp coolness in the air. Get ready for clambakes, seasonal color, harvest festivals and bonfires. Can you tell we love fall? All that said though, right after fall comes winter, which isn’t everyone’s favorite. Winter also brings extreme weather that can wreak havoc on your home and landscape. We’re here with some key tips to keep your property looking great and your home running smoothly now and right through to spring.

autumn trees autumn checklist

 

Exterior Home Maintenance

 

As summer slowly turns to fall, the focus naturally shifts from vacation time and road trips to cozy evenings fireside, at home. And without the distraction of summer’s ample foliage and flowers, you might notice things about your home’s exterior that could use some work. Thankfully, the weather this time of year is often perfect for outdoor projects. 

You might spring for an aesthetic shift, like a new coat of paint or fresh siding. But there are a few structural considerations that will be sure to set you up for a warm and cozy winter, free from drafts and energy inefficiencies. Here are a few things to look into.

 

Storm Door Installation

The rain, snow, and icy conditions to come can take a toll on your exterior and entry doors. Driving winds can cause moisture to seep into any crevice, no matter how small, and can compromise otherwise efficient heating of your interior spaces. Storm doors are the key, as they are typically made of weather-resistant materials, like aluminum and fiberglass. They can also provide a heat buffer between your home’s interior and the raging weather outside, thanks to pressure that naturally sits between a storm door and entry door. Storm doors that include seasonal screened panels also allow for you to air out your home with the crisp, cool breezes that fall brings, which can help to reduce energy consumption. These are just a few of the potential benefits to storm door installation.

 

Front Door Replacement

When is the best time to replace your front door? The mild, dry weather in fall makes an ideal time to replace exterior doors. This also gives you a great opportunity to ensure a waterproof and critter-proof seal around doors and windows. Front door replacement could be in order if you’re noticing that a steel door has begun to warp or rust, or that a wooden door’s structural integrity is compromised, among other signs.

 

Replacement Windows

During spring and summer, as outdoor temperatures rise, you might not be so quick to notice dry-rotted window frames or cracked or broken glass panes. But as temperatures drop, cold drafts and unwelcome pests will make them quickly apparent. Now is the time to inspect your home’s windows and determine if replacement windows are a good idea. If you have older, single-pane windows or if double-pane windows no longer have viable gas insulation in place, investing in a new set of windows could help you to save on energy costs year round, among other benefits. While you’re at it, taking time to use a weather-resistant sealant to caulk around windows and close any tiny gaps can make a big difference too.

 

Roof Repairs

While you or a family member, friend, handyperson or contractor are up on a ladder inspecting windows, be sure to take a long, hard look at the roof. Check for worn spots or excessive shedding from asphalt shingles, obviously keeping an eye out for missing shingles too. If you’ve had the same roof over your head for 20+ years, it’s inevitable that someday sooner or later, roof repairs or even a replacement roof will be in order. Be sure to make any needed repairs before heavy snow and ice loads take a greater toll–that means that right now is the time to take action. 

 

Gutters and Downspouts

Well-maintained gutters and downspouts play a major role in the longevity of your roof, and keeping them clean and clear of debris means that when seasonal rain, snow, and ice do come, they’ll be able to quickly flow away. Blocked or damaged gutters and downspouts, improperly insulated ceilings, and poorly installed roofing can cause ice dams that will leach moisture into your home’s roof and structure, ultimately leading to rotting, mold growth, and an entry point for pests. Trapped water could also spill over, landing next to the foundation and causing damage or basement flooding. Since fall leaves don’t all come down at once, it’s a good idea to check your gutters for debris several times until the majority of leaves have fallen. If you have rain barrels attached to downspouts, it’s a good time to detach those and drain them for the season.

 

Porch and Deck

Handrails, stairs, and other supporting structures can be checked for strength and structural integrity at this point in the year. If someone were to slip on ice, you want to be sure that nearby supports can help to stabilize them and prevent a serious fall. Now is also the time to clean, cover, and put away deck and porch furniture that you won’t be using during the colder months. The same holds true for grills and other appliances that you use for outdoor cooking. Clean these items and make any necessary repairs so that you’re ready to go on that first warm day next spring.

 

 

Yard Maintenance

As temperatures and light levels drop, the natural world begins to slow down and get ready for the long sleep of winter. To keep your property looking its best, here are some top ways to prepare for the dormant season.

 

Lawn

Not everyone is focused on lawn care, but if a healthy, green carpet is your favorite thing about your yard, there are a few important tasks to put on your to-do list this fall. Removing thatch, aerating, seeding bare spots and overseeding the entire lawn are easy ways to set it up for success come spring. Lawn seed loves the more moderate temperatures and consistent moisture levels in fall, so it is more likely to germinate and put down strong roots. Using a slow-release fertilizer will help your lawn to develop a strong root system and will be there when it’s ready to jump into growth next year. Leaves can tend to form a dense mat on the grass, especially after rain. Getting leaves collected and mulched while they’re still dry makes it easy to manage them. Just blow or rake leaves onto the lawn, use a mulching mower to break them into small pieces, and then collect anything that’s sitting on top of the lawn and use it for a free, nutrition-rich mulch in your flower and vegetable garden beds, or as a great addition to your compost bin. Raking and bagging is taxing work and you’re carting away the trees’ natural fertilizer, but for many that’s the preferred option. Be sure to take breaks and stay hydrated, however you choose to manage the leaves.

 

Landscape

Annual plants bring a ton of color during the warm months, but as soon as the first frost hits, they’ll start to look tattered and can be trimmed back to soil level for easy, mess-free removal. Trimming back perennial plants as they enter dormancy is only necessary if you don’t care for the look, or if a trim will prompt the plant to flower better next year. Truth be told, spent flower stalks provide a vital food source for birds during winter, along with shelter for beneficial insects, like bees, moths, butterflies, and lightning bugs. If your goal is to attract more wildlife to your yard, then easing up on fall garden tasks is a first step. If you enjoy being in your garden this time of year, planting spring-blooming bulbs is a great way to get early color into your gardens and bring some much-needed cheer to early spring. 

Once temperatures have warmed up next year, everything can be safely cut back. It is important, though, to clear away branches, leaves, and other garden debris from right against your home, no matter the season, as that can encourage pests and moisture to enter the house. Hiring a certified arborist to evaluate your trees for any potential hazards can go far to protecting your property and family, especially if the trees in your yard are close to the home or other structures. Heavy ice and snow can easily bring down limbs from an unhealthy or poorly maintained tree.

 

Outdoor Equipment

Once you’re hunkered down inside for the season, you won’t be regularly using your lawnmower and other outdoor equipment, like leaf blowers, string trimmers, and tillers. Take time to clean these tools and remove or stabilize any remaining fuel. If you have gasoline or other fuels stored, be sure they are fresh and stable. And if a generator, snow-blower, or other tool is part of your winter prep, give it a once-over. Check to be sure it’s running well, and ensure that you have the needed fuel to operate it. Other outdoor items like patio furniture, pool equipment and yard toys can be taken down or covered to keep them in good stead til next year. Be sure to winterize outdoor faucets and drain hoses and irrigation systems. Store garden hoses under cover, where they won’t be exposed to frost or freezing. Water is vital if you’re looking to bring wildlife into your gardens, and you can find easy-to-use heating devices to keep water available during winter. If you’d rather put birdbaths and fountains in storage, cleaning and draining first will prevent damage.

 

Interior Maintenance

 

With just a few tasks, you can ensure a comfy, cozy, and safe few months spent indoors.

 

Heating

Call your trusted HVAC service provider to schedule a furnace inspection and tuneup. Be sure to change filters if necessary and consider having ducts cleaned. Ask a pro to inspect your fireplace and chimney, and ensure that your wood burning stove is clean and ready to go. Wrap or remove window AC units to prevent them from rusting and to keep pests and cold air out.

 

Safety

Since windows will be closed, and heat is the name of the game, the potential for accidents involving fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide (CO) goes way up. Test all of your home’s smoke and CO alarms and switch out old batteries for fresh ones. If the alarms have been in place for more than ten years, it could be time to change them completely. Humidifiers and vaporizers are often used to prevent dry conditions from forced air heating systems. Now is the time to give them a thorough clean to prevent mold and harmful bacteria.

 

Efficiency 

Seal any and all gaps you can find that might allow drafts to come into the home and fight your heating system. Change the direction of your ceiling fans so that they better circulate warm air and keep you comfortable without raising the thermostat.

 

Prepare for Every Season with Fairview Home Improvement


No matter the time of year, replacement doors and windows and new roofing can make a huge impact on your energy bills, your home’s structural integrity, and your overall comfort. Before that first snowflake flies, reach out to our experienced team to schedule your next home improvement project or to inquire about the products and services we offer. We’re proud to make our clients happy and to help beautify their homes.

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