A boring but useful topic
As a homeowner, the consistent upkeep of your home helps to preserve its value.
Maintenance in the fall is essential in preparation for cooler temperatures and ultimately the deepest of freezes in winter. I’m all about planning ahead to accomplish goals, so now is as good a time as any to pull up your calendar and schedule your must-do projects.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Even if you live in a condo unit, you still have some annual tasks, such as HVAC maintenance. Your condo association should handle common areas but agreements are different from one condo corporation to the next when it comes to owner responsibilities. Be sure you know who takes care of what when it comes to home maintenance.
- Some projects can be DIY jobs but others truly require a professional. If you trust your service provider, signing up for a service contract may be advantageous.
Get Organized Today
Below is a fairly exhaustive list of fall maintenance tasks. Many may not apply to your home – so no need to get overwhelmed. Just work your way down the list, slow and steady!
I’d recommend downloading a home maintenance app for your smart phone so you can schedule and record your repairs and upkeep. Within a year, you’ll have a personalized monthly checklist and estimated budget. Most apps even allow you to set up alerts and reminders.
If you’re more of a hard copy person, a home maintenance binder can be just as useful. I just visited a home where the homeowner used the Home Inspection Report binder as a home maintenance binder complete with checklists and invoices/receipts. She was ready to sell, and she had the records from the last 15 years right there at her fingertips.
My Handy Fall To-Do List
Customize the list below for your own home and put it in your app/binder.
Doors, Windows & Attic
- Add or replace weather-stripping around doors and windows to keep out drafts.
- Caulk around windows where cold air gets in.
- Check or add insulation in your attic.
- Window washing (some people like to do this twice a year, fall and spring); if you have to choose only one, choose spring.
- Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney. You are looking for someone who can provide a WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) inspection.
- Examine for loose bricks and mortar and get it repointed. The earlier you catch this, the better. You want to avoid water damage and the need to rebuild a whole chimney.
- Order/buy firewood but store it away from the exterior of your home (it can attract rodents!)
- Consider installing a gas fireplace if you rarely use your wood-burning one. Ease of use makes them ideal for many homeowners.
Furnace, Ducts, AC
- Hire an HVAC professional to inspect and clean your furnace. Also, check your whole-house central humidifier unit to make sure you’ll have the right amount of moisture in the air (which can help prevent dry winter skin and other winter irritations).
- Stock up on furnace filters and change or clean them monthly depending on which type you use. Dirty filters make it more difficult for your HVAC system to work efficiently and will also limit the amount of dust, lint, and airborne molds that go through your system.
- Hire a professional to inspect air ducts for leaks, and have them cleaned if necessary.
- Remove and store window AC units if you have them.
- Clean the dryer vent by vacuuming the tube that leads to the vent and then vacuum from the outside dryer vent. This should be done every six months so include it on both your fall and spring maintenance schedules.
- Clean and disinfect your portable humidifier if you have one in order to prevent mold and bacteria growth in the standing water.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris. Blocked gutters can cause water damage to your home at any time. But in the winter, blocked gutters will trap water that can freeze, causing gutters to detach from your home.
- Make sure your gutters are directed so that they drain as far away from the house as possible and on a downslope. Check on this regularly during rainstorms to prevent major water damage.
- Inspect roof for any damage to shingles and double check seals around vents and chimney to prevent any leaks.
- Seal foundation cracks to prevent mice from sneaking in. Drain outdoor faucets and winterize in-ground watering systems so you don’t get burst pipes inside your walls. Your plumber can show you how.
- Inspect your driveway for cracks. Sealing it now will prevent winter damage.
- Rake leaves regularly in the yard so you aren’t overwhelmed with one big job at the end of the season.
- Remove and weed any dead plants, especially those summer and early fall annuals.
- Prune shrubs before they go dormant. Cut back perennials; divide and transplant as needed.
- Aerate, fertilize, and seed your lawn in early fall.
- Plant bulbs now for springtime flowers
- Trim tree branches that hang too close to your home or electrical wires. Hire a professional arborist to care for and trim trees where necessary.
- Drain garden hoses and store them inside.
- Clean and then cover outdoor furniture (or store it inside).
- Winterize sensitive plants such as roses, and stake any shrubs or young trees.
Preparing for Power Failures & Severe Weather
- Buy and store flashlights, batteries, candles, and matches in easy-to-reach locations. Get battery-operated candles too if you’re worried about matches and small children!
- Keep extra water bottles, nonperishable food (for pets too), blankets and necessary medications on hand.
- Buy that snow shovel before it snows! Don’t forget bags of salt and sand.
If I can point you in the right direction on any of the above to-do list items, email me at Liisa@LiisaVexler.com.
I'm Liisa and I love helping people moving to Ottawa make their home purchase and transition smooth and seamless. I also love helping sellers get the most for their Ottawa home. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
613-898-1184 (call or text)