Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Sutton Quantum

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

It looks like summer is over for good this year, and so now is the time to prepare your home for cooler weather and a long winter. If the idea of fall maintenance seems stressful, you’re not alone. But don’t despair! Grab your favourite pumpkin-flavoured beverage and follow our list of tips to make the process easier.

Care for trees and shrubs

If you have trees in your yard, trimming away dead limbs is probably one of the most important things to do in the fall when they are growing dormant and are less likely to get diseased. For treatments, use fungicide injections to prevent diseases like diplodia, which can affect pine trees. Keep your eyes open for unusual changes in leaf colour and dead branches, which are signs of disease.

Rake leaves

The bright yellow and orange leaves are a sight to behold, but leaving piles of leaves over winter can inhibit lawn growth in the spring. To make it easier on yourself, use a lightweight rake, wear gloves to protect your hands, and use handheld “leaf scoops” to bag leaves efficiently.

Make outdoor repairs

Take a stroll around your property looking for signs of damage on your roof, siding, and foundation. If you see anything that needs some TLC, make a note to schedule it before the cold weather hits.

Seal gaps and holes

Mice and other rodents need only a tiny gap to be able to sneak into your home and raid your pantry. Fill any holes or cracks and cover any larger gaps with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep wildife where it belongs - in the wild.

Deep-clean the kitchen

Take a day to tackle some of the more labour-intensive cleaning tasks, and keep your kitchen working efficiently and looking great. In addition to light cleaning like cleaning your light fixtures and washing the backsplash, give some attention to parts of your kitchen that need it the most. Degrease the range hood and filter, clean the oven, and vacuum the refrigerator coils.

Check walkways, railings, stairs and the driveway for winter safety

When the inevitable hits and your yard is covered in ice, the walk from your door to your car can feel like taking your life into your own hands. Make safety a priority by checking that all steps and stairs are in good shape and have sturdy railings, and that the driveway is even and in good repair to make for easier shoveling.

Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses

Since it’s safe to assume we won’t be hooking up the Slip N’ Slide Protect your pipes from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to outdoor faucets before the weather dips below freezing. Drain hoses and store them indoors.

Add weatherstripping

When applied around the frames of windows and doors, weatherstripping is a cold weather one-two-punch as it helps boost winter warmth and cuts energy costs. Add door sweeps to the base of drafty doors to keep heat in and cold air out.

 

Check safety devices

One thing that many people often forget about is your fire extinguisher - make sure to check the expiration date and replace if needed. Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as needed. If you haven’t checked your home for radon, fall is a good time to do so — as the weather gets cooler and windows stay shut more often, radon is more likely to become trapped in your home. Radon at high enough levels is extremely harmful, so if you find that your home has radon (a radon level of 4 or above is considered unacceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency), hire a contractor qualified to these issues.

Stock up on winter supplies

Now is the time to make sure you’re well-prepared for our cold winter days. Check the condition of snow shovels and ice scrapers, and replace as needed. Pick up a bag of pet- and plant-safe ice melt - better yet, grab a few while they’re still available! Restock your emergency kits for your car and home, and  if you use a snow blower, buy fuel and have it serviced.

Clean dryer vents

Lint buildup in dryer vents can be a fire hazard at any time, but cool, dry weather increases static electricity, so now is a key time to get that lint out. You can hire a duct cleaning specialist to clean the vents for you, or clean the vent yourself.

 

Do an energy audit

A trained auditor can assess your home’s current energy efficiency and give you a list of recommended improvements you can make, which may include upgrading to Energy Star appliances, adding insulation to the attic or beefing up weatherstripping.

Schedule a chimney cleaning and heating system maintenance

Making sure your chimney and furnace or boiler are cleaned, maintained and in working order before you need to turn on the heat is an important safety measure. And be sure to add a chimney cap if you don’t already have one — it will keep small animals from crawling down your chimney!