Your fall maintenance checklist consists of steps you should take every year around this time to prepare your home for winter, especially when you live in a place like Bend, Oregon where we often get snow and cold temperatures throughout the winter season. (Don’t miss the handy Infographic to Print or Share at the bottom of this post!)
Preventative maintenance on a yearly basis will, as the name implies, help prevent larger repair bills – which seem to come along at the most inopportune time!
Typically, you should begin your maintenance checklist by taking care of any exterior issues. Get these important tasks out of the way just in case an early frost sets in and derails your plans for the rest of the season!
Exterior Maintenance Checklist
Inspect the home’s foundation
Look for any and all cracks in the concrete foundation. There are two reasons why any cracks in the foundation need to be caulked as soon as they appear.
Throughout the winter, water will get into any cracks and freeze. Ice expands and will cause more damage to the foundation. Small cracks will become larger, and eventually an entire portion of the foundation will crumble.
Allowing water into the foundation can also cause the development of mold. Mold spores can seep into the interior of the home and cause illness.
Inspect the driveway
Cracks in your driveway will only get larger if left untreated. Purchase driveway filler to fill the cracks, and then seal the entire driveway. This task can be done by the homeowner if desired, or a professional can be hired.
Inspect small openings into the home
Caulk around any openings where pipes or wires run into the home (such as cable TV wires). Caulk around the exterior of the window and door frames as well to prevent the loss of heat.
Inspect and replace paint on windows and doors
Paint does more than just improve the appearance of a door or window frame, it also protects the wood beneath. If you have peeling paint on any of these surfaces, moisture can get into the wood and gradually destroy it. Scrape off what paint remains and reapply a new, all-weather paint.
Remove screens, if any, and install storm windows in preparation for winter.
Inspect paint and/or siding
Just as its important for window and door frames to have pristine paint to protect against moisture, so it is important for the sides of the home. Peeling paint allows moisture to get into the surface it’s supposed to protect, and this will result in damage that will be quite expensive to repair if it is not caught in time.
During fall, leaves have a tendency to fall and pack into rain gutters. Even if you have no trees tall enough to drop leaves onto your roof, the wind can blow them up there, along with other debris. Always check your gutters (ascending to the roof safely to do so) and clean out any and all debris.
Inspect the joins of the gutters to the roof and make sure they’re secure – and tighten any loose brackets.
Inspect any external air conditioners
If you have air conditioners set into windows, either remove them, or securely cover the external portions to make sure moisture – and cold air – can’t get in.
Inspect your roof
Hire a professional to inspect your roof. You may be able to easily spot missing shingles, but loose shingles or other damage caused by a rain or windstorm can be difficult to see by non-professionals.
Winterize your exterior faucets and irrigation system
Drain water from exterior faucets and turn off the water. Drain fuel from any gas-operated lawn mowers or other tools. Blow out irrigation system and turn it off for the season.
Inspect your deck
Cover your outdoor furniture and barbecue to ensure that they will be safe from winter weather.
Interior Maintenance Checklist
Inspect your HVAC system
Have a licensed HVAC contractor inspect your heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system. If you have a wood stove or fireplace this is essential. Make sure chimneys are clean.
Inspect your ceiling fan
Clean dust and grime from the ceiling fan blades.
A ceiling fan provides an important function year-round. There will be a toggle switch on the exterior of the motor, which will enable you to reverse the direction in which the blades spin. Normally a fan rotates in a counterclockwise direction. During winter, reverse the fan so it rotates in a clockwise direction. The blades will cause the warm air that rises to be redirected down into the room.
By following this 12-step checklist each fall, you will extend the life – and comfortableness – of your home.
This 12 Step Fall Home Maintenance Checklist Infographic is a handy graphic guide. Feel free to share it with friends and family too!