Homeowners get to enjoy their home most of the year, lazing around the living room watching football, but four times per year, the intrepid homeowner must conduct home maintenance to ready the home for the coming weather changes. This article provides a fall home maintenance checklist pdf and ideas for how to make the maintenance process a breeze. From shoring updrafts to reinforcing the foundation, let this advice guide fall home maintenance.
Reseal Your Doors and Windows
Draft-proofing the house kicks off the fall home maintenance checklist pdf. Start by checking for drafts at the edges of doors and windows. Close the door or window, then hold one hand in front of the edge where the sill meets the wall. Any air felt indicates a draft.
Drafts cost money by letting in cold air during winter and warm air during summer. Weatherizing the doors and windows with caulk and weather-stripping addresses this problem. Typically, materials for this project cost less than $50.
Businesses can also use this tip to save money on energy bills. If after installing weatherization materials, the door still admits drafts, consider having new exterior commercial doors installed.
Cover Your Pool as Summer Ends
In some locations, homeowners can still use their pool past Labor Day, but in most areas of the U.S., Labor Day signals the time to cover the pools with liners. Knock this one off of the fall home maintenance checklist pdf before fall chills set in. Use the last of the warm weather to do this chore to make it more enjoyable. Some homeowners hire a pool maintenance service to handle pool cleaning and winterizing.
Invest in Roof Repairs Before It Snows
Don’t put off repairs to the home’s roof or foundation until spring. Add them to the fall home maintenance checklist pdf. Contact residential roof contractors for estimates and timelines, and then schedule the work before the cold weather hits.
If the roof requires extensive repairs, consider replacing it instead. Having a new roof installed increases home value and prevents interior damage from leaks. If the home currently features an asphalt shingle roof, consider having it replaced with a metal roof or copper roof. These two tough options last up to 50 years when properly installed.
In some areas of the country, cedar shakes, also known as cedar shingles, work well. Cedar lasts a long time – about 35 years. Many homes in the northeastern U.S. use this type of roofing.
The desert southwest of the U.S. offers another roofing option common to its architecture. Clay roof tiles made of terracotta or similar substances offer a long-lasting roofing option that performs exceedingly well in hot, dry climates. Conversely, clay tiles don’t make a good choice in areas where hail storms frequently occur.
Some homeowners adore the look of asphalt shingles though. To use this look of a home, choose shingles rated a three or a four, the two heartiest scores for roofing materials. These two tough options undergo testing with steel balls of varying weights dropped on them to determine how well they would hold up in hail.
Other tests determine the wind rating of a shingle, expressed in miles per hour. For example, a box of shingles might include the statement “wind rated up to 160 mph,” indicating that in independent testing, simulated sustained winds of up to 160 mph did not remove the shingles from a roof. Although these statements use lab tests, the wind machines and steel weights used in laboratory testing do reveal accurate information.
Even homes that received new roofs in the past year need new roof inspections to spot installation issues before the weather changes. Older roofs need an inspection to spot damage that needs immediate repair. Having the roof inspected every fall and spring results in a safer home since the roofer reports damage and wear and tear issues to the homeowner, so they can have them repaired.
Contact Your Lawn Care Company
Lawn care preparations also appear on the fall home maintenance checklist pdf. During fall, in many areas of the U.S., the grass dies. Contracting with an artificial turf company to cover the yard in faux grass can preserve its gorgeous, lush looks without costing a lot. Some homeowners like the artificial grass so much that they don’t replace it with the real thing in spring, which saves them a lot of mowing.
Landscapers trim bushes and trees during fall in preparation for winter storms. This pruning process ensures that no dead branches overhang the home, deck, or gazebo. The landscaping crew also removes leaves, dead brush, and sticks, preparing the yard for holiday decorations.
Some homeowners keep the raked and bagged leaves to use as mulch. Others use the leaves as fire-starting materials in their fireplace. Direct the lawn care company as to what to do with the leaves from the yard.
Inspect the Garage Door
Here’s one many people don’t realize belongs on a fall home maintenance checklist pdf – garage door inspection. Contact a garage door services company that offers inspections, repairs, and installation to check the operation and the structural stability of the garage door. Have them immediately repair any problems found.
If the inspection turns up no problems, consider installing a vinyl wrap to decorate the door for winter. These wraps cost less than $99 and transform the door’s appearance until the wrap gets removed. Many garage door screen manufacturers create solid color and printed screens that enable a homeowner to raise the garage door but block insects with a screen similar to those installed on entry doors.
Have the Water Heater Inspected
Water heaters work harder in winter. People love a hot shower or a soak in the tub during cold weather. Prepare the home’s water heater by having the device inspected before winter begins.
Some inspections include cleaning the lines of the water heater, but many plumbers say this isn’t necessary. An inspection uncovers part problems, rust buildup, and tiny leaks that winter use could transform into huge ones. Repairing these small problems during fall ensures the water heater works all winter.
Get an HVAC Inspection and Duct Cleaning
HVAC systems needed twice a year overall maintenance. Every month, the homeowner should change the air filter on the system, but these twice-a-year inspections and cleanings go much further than that. Hire an HVAC professional to clean the ducts of the HVAC system to rid them of debris and allergens. This cleaning process readies the ducts for the heavier workload that winter months bring.
HVAC inspections typically include a tiny bit of maintenance but also schedule regular maintenance visits with the HVAC service. The combination of these two items results in better heat and cooling performance, as well as fewer allergens in the system.
Have the Chimney Swept
Homes with wood-burning or gas fireplaces need to have the chimney swept at least once per year. Although once a prevalent career, chimney sweeps prove a little tougher to locate today. Turn to home repair websites like Thumbtack to find a local provider of this necessary service. The sweeping process removes soot, debris, and living and dead animals from the chimney, a favorite spring nesting area for birds.
Sturdy the Foundation
This fall home maintenance checklist pdf includes a foundation inspection, too. Many foundation repair companies offer these inspections free of charge. They hope the homeowner will hire them to make the repairs. Here’s how to tell whether it needs the work they claim it does.
Walk the perimeter of the home, checking the slab foundation for cracks, holes, and sinking. A small, hairline crack in cement shows normal development, but a thick or lengthy crack requires immediate repairs. Any noticeable change in the home’s leveling indicates a need for immediate house lifting and reinforcement. Houses do “settle” over time, but a visible change indicates erosion or cement foundation issues.
Repairing this type of damage requires a foundation repair service and a local excavating contractor. The excavator digs out the ground around the one to expose all of the slab foundations. The foundation repair team raises the home using house jacks, then makes repairs, including adding new concrete to the slab to shore it up. Once the concrete dries, they lower the home back onto its foundation and remove the jacks completely.
The excavation crew then replaces the dislodged dirt and ground cover. This re-encloses the area surrounding the home, hiding the slab. Typically, a homeowner would plant bushes or a flower bed on each side of the home to create curb appeal again.
Trust the Professionals
Checking off items on a fall home maintenance checklist pdf provides a sense of accomplishment. Hiring repair personnel requires research and patience for interviewing. Each homeowner needs contractors they can trust to honestly appraise the home and its repair needs. Start by asking family, friends, and neighbors which landscaper, plumber, or roofing business they use.
Check the reviews online for each recommended business. Start with each company’s Google My Business page, something most tree removal experts, electricians, and HVAC professionals maintain. This page features their work gallery and informational posts. Any person can leave reviews though, leading to frequent bogus reviews.
For trustworthy home service provider reviews, visit the Better Business Bureau. It fact-checks each comment or complaint and removes fake information from its website. Any reviews or complaints registered with that website reveal valid information about the company.
After whittling down the number of potential contractors, interview each company to determine whether to use them for work related to the fall home maintenance checklist pdf. Obtain a quote for the work from each contractor. Compare each interview and quote, and then hire the company that seems most trustworthy, easy to work with, and offers a reasonable price for the work.
Paying for Fall Maintenance
Expect annual home maintenance to cost between one and four percent of the home’s value. That means if your home costs $100,000, maintenance each year would cost between $1,000 and $4,000. Divide that by 52 weeks, and deposit that amount of money in savings each month. This ensures you’ll have the funds available for fall and spring maintenance checks.
Also, establish an emergency repair fund. With this money, when something unusual arises while addressing the fall home maintenance checklist pdf, the money’s there to take care of the repairs. Although this checklist delves into the worst-case scenarios, most fall checklists don’t turn up any major problems. That means the only expenses come from sweeping the chimney and getting the ducts cleaned.
Knowing that most appliances require replacement every 15 years, such as washing machines, freezers, and water heaters, helps the homeowner plan for their replacement cost. Expect to replace the dishwasher every nine years. The home purchase records provide a list of major appliances and when the previous homeowner purchased them. Use this as a guide to determine when to purchase a new appliance before the incumbent breaks.
Sometimes, emergencies occur that no one could have anticipated. Perhaps more than one item breaks only months into residing in a home. Rather than maxing out a high-interest-rate credit card, consider taking out a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC lets the homeowner access a portion of the equity in the home as a line of credit, drawing on it as needed.
Although the homeowner has to pay this money back to re-earn equity in the home, a HELOC features much lower interest rates than a loan or credit card. The bank typically provides a few months from the time the homeowner uses the HELOC to the time of the first repayment. This type of equity extension makes the repair funds available immediately, so the homeowner can reside in a safe home.
With planning and care, a home can comfortably last its owner a lifetime, then get sold to a new homeowner who also enjoys its coziness. Use this fall home maintenance checklist pdf to prepare for winter. Check back in spring for that season’s checklist.