5 Things to Put on Your Fall Home Maintenance to-Do List

Now that Labor Day is in the rearview mirror, the kids are back to school and the pool memberships are starting to expire, it’s time to turn your attention to the fall season. Autumn is an amazing time of year regardless of where you are in the country, when the leaves change, the weather turns much more mild, the fall sports kick in and the holidays are suddenly just around the corner. As a homeowner, now is also the time to start thinking about some of those maintenance tasks that you’ve been putting off. You should have a seasonal to-do list that you reference four times a year, especially if you live in a region that experiences seriously cold winters. So if you’re ready to get started, here are five things to put on your fall home maintenance to-do list.

First of all, schedule a heating system tune up. This is pretty inexpensive, usually coming in at $100 or under, and could well save you thousands of dollars and serious heartache as the season progresses. A HVAC professional will come in and check out your heat pump or furnace, making sure there aren’t any parts that look about to break down. He’ll also give it a thorough cleaning, which will make sure the heating system works more efficiently through the long winter. Remember, if you wait for something like this until a brutally cold winter day it could take weeks to get someone out to your house.

This also might be a good time to invest in a programmable thermostat for your home. Ideally, try to find one that has been approved by Energy Star. Although you’ll put a bit of money into it, you’ll save a ton in heating costs over the course of the year. With a programmable thermostat you can set various zones in your home, saving the heating capacity for the most commonly used rooms. As you install your new thermostat, take this opportunity to check over all of your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.

Your next step should be checking out all of the seals around your doors and windows. If you’ve got a crack, crevice or gap anywhere around your home that is wider than a nickel, it means you are losing money. Heat must be contained in order to be effective, and with broken down seals you’re wasting energy heating the neighborhood. It’s also a super easy fix. All you need is a solid exterior caulk and a caulking gun. If you want to go the extra mile with older windows, consider applying some weatherstripping as well.

Now you should grab a ladder and go check out the roof. Probably the most important thing is to check for missing, cracked or loose shingles. These are prime spots for leaks during a damp fall and cold winter. And you’ve got to make these repairs now, before the first frost creates a pattern of freezing and thawing that creates additional damage. While you’re up there check the gutters as well. If they are clogged with detritus from your yard you should have them cleaned. This will help you avoid water damage this fall.

Finally, pull back on your landscaping. Remember, the wet fall and winter makes protecting your home’s foundation even more important than managing your heating oil usage. You’ve got to trim all of the plant life a full foot away from your home. Keep an eye out for anything that looks rotten or moldy, and clean out all of the ventilation ports in the side of your house.

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