Everyone loves fall around here. It means cooler weather, colorful changes, new menu items, and, of course, football. But the changing temperatures and falling leaves can also put some stress on your home. Before grabbing a slice of pumpkin pie and kicking your feet up to watch a little afternoon pigskin, make sure you’re staying on top of all-important home maintenance issues.
9 Fall Maintenance Tips for Homeowners
Fall is a transitional period. It provides a gentle shift from summer to winter. Use this time to prepare your home for the colder months ahead, while also making the most of the pleasant conditions to knock off items on your to-do list.
Here are a few fall maintenance items we recommend adding to your checklist:
1. Change Air Filters
Want to keep your furnace in good working condition so that it continues to pump out even and predictable heat without putting too much strain on your system and budget? One of the easiest things you can do is swap out the furnace filter. A new, clean furnace filter will not only make the system run more efficiently – it’ll also give you cleaner air. Not bad for an investment of just a few bucks per filter.
2. Check for Drafts
Did you know that heat loss through windows and around doors could be responsible for as much as 25 to 30 percent of heating energy use in your home? That’s an expensive issue!
Fall is the perfect time of year to inspect for heat loss and remediate any problem areas. On a cool day – ideally in the early morning or late evening – run your hand along the edges of windows and doors. If you feel cool air, it’s a sign that you have gaps. Caulking or weatherstripping can fix the problem.
3. Fertilize Your Lawn
Want your lawn to look great when spring rolls around? You need to begin prepping now, in the fall. And one of the best ways to do this is to throw down fertilizer when the roots are still active and the grass isn’t growing. (This prevents winter damage and ensures your lawn turns greener faster when the weather warms up next year.)
4. Aerate the Soil
While it’s a little more involved than simply fertilizing, you may also want to aerate your soil. (This is arguably the single best thing you can do for the health of your lawn.)
Aerating is essentially a method of making holes in the ground by removing plugs of soil in the yard. This relieves compaction caused by things like foot traffic, machinery, and kids playing on the lawn. It’s a task you can do yourself (by renting the equipment) or easily hire out to a lawn care company.
5. Clean the Gutters
Your gutters are one of the most important systems of your home. They drain thousands of gallons of water every year – diverting water away from your home’s foundation and eliminating potentially devastating and costly water damage. But with all the use they get during the year (and particularly in the spring and summer months), it’s important that you give them a little love. This means checking to see if they’re clogged and removing any obstructions that prevent proper water flow.
It’s best to clean gutters a couple of times throughout the fall. Once after roughly 50 percent of leaves have fallen and again after the trees are done shedding their leaves.
6. Test and Change Batteries
You can do it whenever you want – winter, spring, summer, or fall – but now is as good a time as any. Go through the house and inspect all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test for functionality and change out the batteries. This will ensure you’re never left without the protection your family needs.
7. Change Ceiling Fan Direction
Your ceiling fan can move in multiple directions. During the warmer months, it should move in a counterclockwise direction. This pushes air down and keeps you cool. During the fall and winter months, it should be reversed. By running in a clockwise direction, the fan’s blades pull cool air up to the ceiling. This displaces the warm air that collects near the ceiling and makes the room more comfortable. You’ll also want to turn the fan down to its lowest speed setting.
According to Home Depot, “The low speed prevents any drafty ‘wind chill’ and keeps the airflow steady and consistent. When standing under the fan, look up and double-check that the blades are rotating in a clockwise direction.”
If your fans aren’t working properly, it’s time to have them replaced. If you do the work yourself, it won’t cost you more than a couple hundred bucks to grab a suitable replacement.
8. Drain Hoses
As you know, water expands as it freezes. And that’s why you need to disconnect your hoses from outdoor faucets and completely drain the water from both the hose and the faucet.
“Freeze breaks from the outside faucet can lead to costly plumbing repairs in the spring,” APC Plumbing writes. “Drain remaining water from the outside faucet by first shutting off the water supply to that area. Ask a plumber if you have trouble locating the shut-off valve that controls water flow to the outside faucets. Then, turn the nozzle to drain any remaining water from the faucet.”
Simple steps like these can save you thousands of dollars! Take the time now and avoid the trouble later.
9. Install Attic Tent
In terms of heat loss, your attic door is one of the biggest problem areas. Heat pours out of this door and costs you hundreds of dollars per year. One simple solution is to install an attic tent, which is basically an insulated hood that goes in the entryway and prevents unwanted heat exchange. Depending on the brand you buy, you should be able to get a quality solution for less than $200 and install it yourself.
Partner With Green Residential
Do you own rental properties in the Houston area? Our Houston rental property management services take the time-consuming aspects of fall home maintenance off your plate. Simply work with us and we’ll coordinate all of the maintenance and repair projects you need to keep your property in tip-top shape. Contact us today for more information!