Top 5 Items on Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

While fall’s gently tumbling leaves seem so peaceful, they can also be a wake-up call that winter is coming. Now’s the ideal time to take care of some important home maintenance. Use this list to get your home ready for the cold ahead.

Someone Cleaning Home's Exterior Gutters

By doing these projects, you can avoid some costly repairs and feel confident that you’ll be warm and comfortable when the cold weather arrives.

1. Get Your Heating System Humming

You don’t want to wake up on the coldest morning to find you have no heat. Schedule a furnace checkup now with a heating system professional. An expert technician will make sure everything is running properly and that your system meets the manufacturer’s rated efficiency. The checkup will also measure carbon monoxide leakage.

2. Prevent Gutter Gridlock

Leaves, twigs and other debris can clog gutters, which can lead to ice dams. Ice dams cause melting water to back up and flow into your house. Save yourself from this expensive repair by cleaning the gutters after your leaves have fallen. Tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets, and replace any worn sections. Check that your downspouts extend at least five feet away from the foundation. If not, you can buy inexpensive extensions and attach them.

3. Take a Caulk Walk

Walk around the exterior of your home and check it for air tightness. Carefully look for cracks, which can be the source of air leaks, energy loss and money down the drain. An inexpensive tube of caulk can help prevent energy loss and also help prevent moisture from getting inside the walls of your home. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring comes through walls or floors.

  • Most Common Sources of Air Leaks:
    1. Dropped ceiling
    2. Recessed lights
    3. Attic entrance
    4. Sill plates
    5. Water and furnace flues
    6. All ducts
    7. Door frames
    8. Window frames
    9. Chimney flashing
    10. Window frames
    11. Outlets and switches
    12. Plumbing and utility access


4. Get a Look at the Roof

You don’t need to get up on the roof to spot trouble areas. Stay on the ground and use binoculars to look for buckled, cracked or missing shingles. If you find any, replace them right away. Examine the flashing and look for any rust spots, which could expose your home to damaging leaks. The good news is you can clean, prime and seal the rust fairly easily yourself. Also, if you spot large areas of moss, your roof may be rotting underneath. Call a roofing professional rather than trying to tackle it yourself.

Maintenance Man Cleaning Out Chimney

5. Clean Out the Chimney

Looking forward to a cozy fire? Better make sure your fireplace, chimney and vents are clean first. A good cleaning by a professional chimney sweep can help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide buildup. Some DIY measures you can take include keeping the fireplace damper flue tightly closed when not in use and sealing seal air leaks with fire-resistant materials like sheet metal or sheetrock.

Get these projects knocked out and your home will be warm and cozy for winter. Then head to the store and load up on hot chocolate and some good books.