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Getting Ready for Fall: 10 Home Maintenance Tips to Follow

Posted by Vanessa Freeman on August 30, 2016

getting-ready-fall-home-maintenance-tools.pngThere are some big advantages of a new home build. One is the feeling of security that comes from knowing things aren’t likely to break down and will be covered by the warranty if they do. However, it's always a good idea to keep your home in the best shape possible by taking the necessary maintenance steps. Additionally, neglecting regular maintenance could void certain aspects of your warranty.

While you won't need to tackle large projects such as replacing the roof or overhauling the electrical system in a new home, you should still do the following things to keep your home in great condition.

Clean Out the Gutters

During the fall, leaves collect in the gutters and can cause blockages. Sometimes, these blockages cause rainwater to pool and seep into the wood. This problem will get worse in the winter as ice dams form when the melting snow from the roof cannot drain properly and reforms as ice in the gutters. In addition to the water damage to the roof that this could cause, an ice dam could become heavy enough to pull the gutters off the home. By cleaning debris from your gutters now, you ensure a smooth passage for water.

Tune Up The Heat

Your furnace should go through an annual filter change and tune-up to ensure the system is working as it should. It doesn’t cost much for a professional, and you won’t have to worry about the system breaking down in the middle of winter. Tune-ups are also a smart move if you have other types of heat sources throughout the home, such as gas-powered fireplaces.

Sweep Those Chimneys

There’s nothing quite like sitting by the fireplace on a brisk autumn night as the colours begin to change around you. However, if you don’t get your chimney cleaned there’s a chance it could start a fire. The Canada Safety Council recommends cleaning your chimney once a year. A professional chimney sweep can inspect and clean your chimney. Make this a part of your annual fall maintenance.

Prepare the Lawn

You may not know this but a great lawn starts with proper preparation in the fall. Aerate your lawn by poking small holes in it to allow oxygen and nutrition to seep deeper into the ground. You can do this with special shoes or tools. Once you’ve finished this task, spread out some lawn fertilizer and grass seed. Most lawn maintenance companies offer a fall maintenance plan where they'll take care of everything.

Change the Direction of Fans

You know that fans can keep you cool in the summer months, but they can also keep your home warmer in the cooler ones as well. When they rotate in a counterclockwise direction, they push the cool air down into the room. In the fall and upcoming winter months, you want fans to run in a clockwise direction. Doing so will push the warm air at the ceiling out toward the walls, circulating it back into the room. Take a few seconds to flip the switch on your fans and save on heating costs.

Check for Pests and Possible Entryways

You’re not the only one spending more time inside as the weather gets cooler. Birds, rodents, and other small animals start looking for warm places to spend the winter and parts of your home might look attractive to them. Check your attic for signs of animals, such as droppings, feathers, and fur. Search your home for possible points of entry and block those when possible. For instance, you could put a screen behind vents in the attic or cut tree branches that are close to the roof. If an animal problem persists, consider hiring a professional to take care of it.

Drain the Lawn Mower

If stale gas sits in your lawn mower over the winter, it can prevent the machine from starting in the spring. When you’re done mowing for the year, allow the mower to run until it’s out of gas. Alternatively, siphon the gas into a container and transfer it to a snow blower. The mower’s manufacturer might recommend an additive for winter storage. Follow the directions in the manual.

getting-ready-fall-home-maintenance-check-windows.pngTest for Air Leaks

Heating bills go up when cold air seeps into your home. On a cool night, check the areas around windows and doors for coldness or a small breeze. Even though the builder undoubtedly used weatherstripping techniques when they built your home, these can crack and wear down over time. It may be time to replace some of the parts. Learn a few tricks on how to test for air leaks online.

Clean Gardening Tools

It’s easy to forget about your gardening tools once your plants start to die off. However, tools that sit through the winter with caked-on mud can start rusting or become damaged. If you’re ready to put the tools away until next year, take some time to clean them off, then store them properly.

Turn off the Outdoor Water Pipes

Since water expands when it freezes, it’s not good to keep water in the outside pipes and hoses. You’ll want to drain and remove your hoses, then store them in the garage or attic until springtime. Don't forget to turn off the water to the outside water spigots.

Although little to no home maintenance would be ideal, fall maintenance is essential for the well-being of your home. Get started on your to-do list so that it’s finished by the time the snow starts to come.

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Photo credit: garden tools, woman at windows

Topics: home maintenance, seasonal