Essential Fall Maintenance Checklist

[area] real estate
The nip of the first chill in the air. The colorful foliage. The pumpkin spice everything. Oh yeah, and the long list of home maintenance tasks awaiting you at the start of the season.

The postsummer months are a critical time for knocking out routine home maintenance to keep your household running smoothly into winter. Luckily, many of these tasks are easy DIY projects.

Check windows and doors

Lower temperatures mean higher thermostat settings, and anyone in a cold climate knows the pain of opening a gas bill in the dead of winter. To keep cold air out and utility bills in check, check all of your windows and doors for air leaks. If your issues are minor, a few low-budget options to fix leaky doors and windows include caulking around gaps, adding or updating the weatherstripping, and using foam sealant.

Clean the chimney

If you have a fireplace, fall is a great time to give it a thorough cleaning and inspection. Maintaining a clean fireplace is the simplest and best way to remove creosote, a byproduct of wood combustion that contains tar and toxins. Eliminating this from the chimney liner and the smoke box reduces the risk of a fire. If you’ve been keeping up with cleaning your chimney on a yearly basis, you can handle this task on your own, as long as you feel capable of using an extension ladder to get to the roof and scrub the chimney.

Run ceiling fans in reverse

The hot, humid days of summer are officially in the rear-view mirror (in most parts of the country, at least). That’s why now is the perfect time to start thinking about reversing the direction of fans in the home to make the space warmer. Reversing the direction of your ceiling fans helps circulate warm air near the ceiling back into your living space. All you need is a ladder or stool for this task—and make sure the fan is off. Then simply flip the switch that is commonly found on the side of the motor to change the fan’s direction.

Clean the gutters

Throughout the year, your gutters fill up with leaves, sticks, and other debris. Failing to clear this gunk from your gutters can mean rain and melting snow won’t be able to drain easily—potentially causing seepage and leaks into your home. If you’re comfortable climbing on a ladder to clean your gutters, this is a DIY-friendly task. Using a bucket, gutter scoop, and heavy-duty gloves, you can remove any debris found in your gutters. Use a hose to wash away any remaining debris and to make sure the downspouts are working properly.