After months of summer heat, who doesn’t love a cool afternoon that reminds us the season is about to change? The leaves are starting to fall, and colder temperatures are on the horizon. To ensure your home is ready for the season ahead, we’ve compiled a list of essential fall maintenance tasks that can help you avoid costly and potentially dangerous situations.
1. Clean Your Gutters
Regularly cleaning your gutters is essential to prevent damage to your home’s exterior and foundation. Clogged gutters can lead to water seepage and rust. So, before the leaves start falling this year, clean your gutters and consider installing mesh gutter guards to keep debris out.
2. Seal Air Leaks
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a drafty home can cost you up to 20% more on your heating bills. Sealing gaps in caulk and weatherstripping helps you save energy.
Weatherstripping is the most cost-effective way, but it can deteriorate over time. Test your weatherstripping by sliding paper under doors and windows. If the paper slides easily, it likely needs to be replaced.
As for caulk, check for missing or damaged caulk around windows, doors, and entry points for electrical, cable, phone, and gas. Fill those gaps with suitable caulk; if drafts around windows persist, consider replacing your windows. Investing in more efficient windows can decrease your heating bills, making it a wise long-term investment.
3. Inspect Your Roof
Examine your roof for cracks, damaged shingles, and missing granules, indicating that it is losing its coating. Look for damage to metal flashing and around vents and chimneys. It’s better to address these issues now than later when snow has fallen or ice prevents you from using a ladder.
4. Protect Faucets from Freezing
Prevent freezing and bursting outside faucets by closing shut-off valves that serve outside faucets and opening the outside faucet to drain the line. Consider using Styrofoam faucet covers if you have faucets that are not “freeze-proof.”
5. Freshen Your Furnace Filter
Clogged filters make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature and can increase utility bills. A simple monthly cleaning is all it takes to keep these filters free of debris. Disposable filters can be vacuumed once before replacement. Foam filters can also be vacuumed, but they don’t need to be replaced unless they are damaged. If the filter is metal or electrostatic, remove it and wash it with a firm water spray.
6. Give Your Furnace a Checkup
Schedule an annual professional inspection of your heating system to ensure it operates efficiently. Address noisy belts, poor performance, or erratic behavior promptly.
7. Ready Your Fireplace
Even if you use your fireplace only occasionally, get your chimney system inspected annually. For most people, the best option is to use a professional chimney sweep.
If you choose to inspect your own, shine a bright flashlight up the flue and look for creosote deposits, too much of which can cause devastating fires. Next, ensure the damper (the metal plate that opens and closes the flue) functions properly.
8. Use a Humidifier
Maintain indoor comfort, stop dryness in your sinuses and skin, and prevent wood from cracking using a humidifier with distilled water. If your home features a whole-house humidifier, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and cleaning.
9. Ward Off Gas Problems
Ensure your gas heater is well-maintained to prevent safety hazards and reduce operating costs. Schedule an annual professional checkup.
10. Repair Walkways
Fix damaged walkways, driveways, and steps to prevent accidents, especially during icy weather. Address cracks, uneven sections, and loose railings now so these minor issues don’t become expensive headaches after a harsh winter.
Most of the tasks listed above are well within the average homeowner’s ability. But if you’d rather hire a professional to handle them, it can be well worth the expense. At F.C. Tucker Emge, we have a list of recommended resources for outsourcing these tasks. Just contact your favorite Tucker real estate agent to find the best professionals.
Don’t delay these essential fall home maintenance tasks. Get your home ready for the season, and enjoy a worry-free autumn and winter!
For all of the latest information on our local real estate market in Southwestern Indiana and Northwestern Kentucky, you can always trust the professionals at F.C. Tucker Emge and F.C. Tucker/Collier. Our agents have superior training and resources at their disposal to better educate you about the road to homeownership. Even if you are 6-12 months (or more!) out from making a change, there is a lot to learn about the home buying and selling process, and our agents can help you learn what you need to know so that you can be confident in your decision and have a smooth experience when the time comes. Let’s Talk!