Fall home maintenance checklist 2019: 10 things to do this autumn. Seasonal maintenance can reduce energy costs and help prevent emergency repairs over winter.

Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist 2019

While you’re enjoying the arrival of Autumn—and pumpkin-spiced everything, you should start thinking about your fall home maintenance checklist. 

Homeowners who take their seasonal home maintenance tasks seriously save money on energy bills and have a chance to get ahead of mechanical issues that could become costly emergency repairs when temperatures drop below freezing.

“While some homeowners delay important repairs and regular system maintenance, you should get on it. It can help to think of getting your home ready for winter as an annual habit—something you do when you rake the fall leaves, replace smoke detector batteries, and switch to a warmer wardrobe. It may require a little time and money to get your house buttoned up each year, but you stand to save a lot more money by cutting back your heating bill and preventing expensive winter damage to your house and property,” says Ilyce Glink, author of 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask” (4th Edition) and publisher of ThinkGlink.com. 

10 Things to Add to Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Here are 10 things Glink recommends homeowners do each year to maintain their homes and prepare for the winter season:

Indoor Home Maintenance

  1. Schedule HVAC Maintenance – Scheduling a yearly furnace inspection will reduce the likelihood of a breakdown during a freeze. 
  2. Replace Furnace Filters – Replacing furnace filters make your heating system run more efficiently, distributing heat better and cutting down your energy costs.
  3. Seal Drafts – Seal drafts (you can find them using a candle – watch for dancing flames) and then seal cracks around windows and doors to lower your heating costs over the winter. 
  4. Drain and Flush Water Heater – Drain and flush your water heater once a year to remove sediment (minerals like magnesium and calcium) that can force the system to work harder to heat your water.
  5. Insulate Pipes – Insulate exposed pipes with fiberglass or foam sleeves, which can be purchased at most home improvement stores.

Once you’re done indoors, throw on a sweater and head outside to prep the exterior of your home for winter weather:

Outdoor Home Maintenance

  1. Clean Gutters – Clean gutters of leaves and check that gutters and downspouts are clear of obstructions so they’ll direct water away from the foundation, walkways and driveways.
  2. Inspect Your Roof – Look for damaged or missing roof tiles and when you head back inside check in the attic for evidence of leaks or anything coming loose. Spotting and repairing a roof leak now saves you the cost of patching it throughout the winter.
  3. Finish Seasonal Lawn Care – Drain your sprinkler system, turn off faucets, store hoses, aerate and fertilize your lawn to set yourself up for a healthy green lawn next spring. 
  4. Check Your Deck – Clean off fallen leaves and other debris, look for missing or rusted bolts, boards that need to replaced and signs of rot, which could worsen over a long, wet winter.  
  5. Get Out Winter Gear – Pull out the snow shovels and make sure you’ve got enough ice melt so you won’t be stuck in your garage after the first big snowfall. If you have a third party do your snow removal, check in with them to make sure your regular service is in place.

Most of these items, with the exception of HVAC maintenance, can be completed by the average homeowner. If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these things on your own, hire a licensed professional. You’re better off spending the extra money for professional help than potentially creating a bigger problem trying to DIY (do-it-yourself). Plus, if you can be there while the work is being completed you can learn how to DIY next year. 

More on Home Maintenance and Repairs

Home Repairs: Do It Yourself or Hire Help?

Home Renovation Costs for 2020

Natural Disaster: What to Do Before You Make Home Repairs

What Does a Home Inspector Do?

When a Home Inspector Overlooks an Asbestos Problem, What Can You Do?

3 Issues Standard Home Inspections Don’t Typically Catch