Leaves are changing colours, and the smell of pumpkin-spiced lattes is in the air, which can only mean one thing: fall has arrived. As temperatures cool down and daylight gets shorter, it’s time to perform seasonal maintenance on your home in preparation for winter. We’ve put together a fall home maintenance checklist to help make your life easier.
1. Clear Gutters and Downpipes
Clogged gutters can cause water to pool and potentially damage your roof and siding—and even leak into your home. Clogged gutters in the fall can also lead to dangerous icicles during the winter. At least once a month, clear fallen leaves, sticks and debris out of gutters and downspouts to ensure water can easily drain away.
2. Trim Trees
Prune trees and shrubs to help prevent falling limbs from damaging your home and property during winter storms. A professional arborist can identify and remove any diseased trees, dead limbs, or branches before winter hits.
3. Tend to the Lawn
Raking fallen leaves is an ongoing fall task that serves a purpose. Although they may look beautiful, they can inhibit grass growth and decompose with the first rainfall. September to November is the ideal time to seed and fertilize your lawn and aerate the soil to promote the healthy growth of lush green grass in the spring. You can continue to water your lawn until the ground starts to freeze.
4. Make Exterior Repairs
Inspect your roof, siding and foundation in preparation for heavy rain and snow. Check exterior finishes for any signs of deterioration such as peeling paint, loose siding and cracks. Seal any gaps where pests could enter. Check the caulking around windows and doors for air leaks that may impact your home’s energy use and work against your heating system. Repair any cracks and uneven surfaces in your front stairs or driveway to make snow removal easier.
5. Protect Your Pipes
Ensure you drain exterior water lines and shut off the supply from inside your home; otherwise, freezing temperatures could damage your pipes, leading to water damage or flooding within your home. Also be sure to drain garden hoses and store them in the garage or shed.
6. Check Your Batteries
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries and check the expiration dates. As furnaces, fireplaces, and portable heaters may be working overtime to keep you warm, it’s imperative to ensure the detectors can do their jobs to sense the presence of smoke, as a key indication of fire, or a carbon monoxide leak. Make sure your safety devices are in good condition. Invest in a fire extinguisher and have a flashlight easily accessible.
7. Clean the Dryer Vent
Lint buildup can make your dryer work less efficiently and potentially cause a fire. Since static electricity increases in fall (when humidity in the air is low), there is an increased risk that fibre-clogged vents might ignite. Cleaning dryer vents can be an easy DIY job, or you can hire a professional.
8. Conduct an Energy Audit
Find out how you can improve your home’s energy efficiency and stay warmer in winter. A trained auditor can assess your home and provide recommendations such as upgrading appliances, adding insulation or replacing your windows. To help Canadian homeowners, the Greener Home Grant is available to financially assist with retrofitting with more energy-efficient products.
9. Schedule Heating Maintenance
Before you turn on the heat, clean and maintain your chimney and furnace. Hire a professional to perform seasonal maintenance on your HVAC system. This safety measure will ensure it operates efficiently throughout the cooler months.