Seven Home-Maintenance Projects to Complete This Fall
Many homeowners get overwhelmed trying to complete an entire autumn to-do list in a single weekend. Give yourself time to get ready for the upcoming season, designating a few tasks per weekend. Here are some great projects to get started on now:
1. Create a Landing Zone for Muddy Shoes. Wet weather in fall and winter means people tracking more dirt into the house. Purchase extra mats and boot trays for all high-trafficked exterior doors. Encourage family members and guests to take off their footwear upon entering the house, especially when it rains or when their shoes are dirty (e.g., following yard work or a soccer game). The more you can contain the dirt and debris tracked in with people’s shoes, the less it will spread to the rest of the house. Dog owners may want to also designate a spot right inside the door for cleaning up their pets.
2. Add Insulation. A well-insulated home stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer, keeping everyone more comfortable while lowering the energy bills. During the fall, think about adding insulation to the interior walls and attic space for improved temperature control.
3. Schedule an HVAC Inspection. It’s a good idea to have your HVAC system inspected and serviced before you switch on the heat. If you aren’t comfortable handling these tasks yourself, hire a professional. HVAC technicians will check the unit and ductwork for leaks and make any necessary repairs; clean and inspect the motor and blower to ensure they’re in good condition; test the safety controls, which help prevent fires; and test the switches, thermostat, and burner. When your inspection is complete, change the air filter. If you have an outdated HVAC system or are thinking about switching to a programmable thermostat, fall is an ideal time to make the upgrade.
4. Repair Sidewalk and Driveway Cracks. Now is a good time to make any sidewalk or driveway repairs. Getting the sidewalks and driveways in top condition minimizes the risk of accidental trips and falls. Inspect all paved exterior areas for cracks and loose paver material, and make repairs as needed.
5. Ensure the Windows Are Sealed Tight. Check double- and triple-pane windows for fog or condensation, which indicates a failed seal. Most windows are under warranty for at least a decade, which means the installation company will cover the repair. For homes with older windows, weather stripping helps retain heat and minimize drafting. Inspect the condition of the current weather stripping, and remove or replace it as needed.
6. Look for Leaks. Check faucets in the bathrooms, kitchen, and utility room for leaks. Confirm the faucets are turned all the way off, then look for dripping. Sometimes a leaky faucet issue is as simple to fix as replacing the washers on the faucet knobs, while other leaks are more involved. Regardless of the complexity of the issue, the time and money you spend fixing leaky faucets will be well worth it.
7. Schedule Chimney Maintenance. It’s a good idea to have your chimney serviced before you use your fireplace for the first time in the fall. A chimney professional will clean out the built-up soot, which will minimize the risk of a chimney fire and allow carbon monoxide to escape when a fire is burning. A chimney professional will also check for animals or nests that might have moved into the chimney over the summer. If your chimney isn’t equipped with a chimney cap, talk to the professional about adding one. This metal cap with screened sides keeps out critters and shields the roof from hot embers.