Owning a house, as any homeowner will tell you, is a never-ending job. A new repair job seems to come up just as you finish one. On the other hand, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.
One way to stem some of those problems is by following a yearly maintenance schedule, like the one that follows for the fall season. Each task will take only a short time each month, but the result is well worth it: You’ll be able to keep your home in top shape.
Before the cooler weather sets in, this is a good month to get into the habit of changing the furnace filter, if you have forced-air heat. As simple and as inexpensive as it is to change a furnace filter, many homeowners overlook this task.
Believe it or not, furnace filters can get so clogged that the furnace can’t push warm air into rooms. Clean filters can greatly cut down on energy consumption and save you money on your energy bills.
Keep out the critters. Just as you’ll spend more time indoors when the weather cools, rodents and pests will seek out a warm place, too—like your home. Take a tour of your property, seeking out any cracks that might let a critter sneak inside. Seal any openings with spray foam or steel wool.
The weather is cooling and it’s a perfect time to change summer screens to storm windows and doors. Inspect and repair any loose or damaged windows or door frames. For energy efficiency re-glaze windows as necessary.
Inspect your roof, clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent the build-up of leaves and debris. Neglected gutters can lead to wood rot problems and pest infestations, not to mention ruined gutters.
Call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
With the first cold breezes of the season in force, December is a good month to determine which of your exterior doors are leaking cold air into your warm home.
There’s a good chance a lot of that cold air is coming from the bottom of the door, as opening and closing the door causes the door sweep to wear out. Don’t install the sweep too tight. You should be able to slip a piece of paper under the door.
Although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn. Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth.
Make sure you change the batteries on all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home at least twice a year. Fire Department officials recommend that this is done in the spring and fall when we reset our clocks and “fall back” and “spring ahead”.