Going through a home maintenance checklist should be an annual ritual in every household. Regular maintenance on your home can help keep it safe from potential water or fire hazards. It also helps keep your home running efficiently, keeps it warm in the cooler months, and helps you save money on utilities by reducing energy usage. When creating your fall home maintenance checklist, be sure to include items that need cleaning or replacing. Here are some checklist must-haves to help you get started.
As the temperature outside gets cooler, homeowners are turning on their heaters and lighting fires to stay warm inside their homes. For this reason, the first item on your home maintenance checklist should always be checking your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It is a good idea to put fresh batteries in them every fall, whether you think you need them or not. Running tests to make sure their alarms are working ensures they are doing their job. And if you think one or both need replacing, don’t be afraid to do so. It’s always better to err on the side of caution than to live with faulty or old detectors.
With the sun setting earlier in the fall and winter months, light fixtures tend to be used much more frequently. Make sure you check all of your fixtures and give them a good cleaning. Consider updating your bulbs to energy-efficient LED lights, and make sure there is no exposed wiring on any of your fixtures. If you see anything that is exposed or frayed, be sure to contact a licensed electrician to check it out.
Fireplace maintenance is another essential task to include on your fall home maintenance checklist. Lighting a fire in a dirty, unmaintained fireplace could cause excessive smoke or even a house fire. Be sure to have all of your fireplaces in the house inspected before you light them this season. They should be cleaned and repaired annually to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Learn More: Fall Fire Safety and Prevention
Did you know that fire extinguishers have an expiration date? Before you light any fires in your home, be sure you check to make sure you’re equipped with fire extinguishers and that they are in date and functioning properly. If you don’t have any fire extinguishers, take the time to install them at various places around your home. Make sure they’re easy to get to and everyone in your family knows where they are and how to use them.
Air Filters and Vents
A home maintenance checklist for fall should always include cleaning your air filters and vents. Replacing air filters and cleaning out air and dryer vents can not only clean your air and keep your home running efficiently, but it will protect your home against potential fire hazards.
Windows and Doors
Weather changes can cause normal wear and tear on window and door seals, such as cracking and shrinking. When maintaining your home, check all of your windows and exterior doors for gaps and cracks. Weatherstripping and caulking can seal and prevent water leakage as well as keep warm air from escaping. Don’t forget to include the garage door on your checklist.
Frigid temperatures can not only freeze your pipes and leave you without water, but it can damage them and cause them to burst if they are not properly insulated. As water freezes, it expands, increasing the pressure inside and causing them to crack or burst. This could lead to extensive water damage, some of which you may not be able to see until it’s too late. Before Winter arrives, wrap your pipes in an insulated sleeve to keep them warm and prevent freezing.
The last thing you want in the colder months is to run out of hot water. Before the temperatures drop, make sure that all of the water heaters in your home are ready for the season. Perform any regular maintenance and consider having a licensed plumber come do an annual check.
Since your heater will most likely be used regularly in the Fall and Winter months, you will want to have it inspected. Replace the filter and check to make sure all of the pipes and hookups are in good shape. Heating systems work more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems if they’re serviced regularly.
Learn More: Heating Headache: How to Lower Your Gas Bill
Another very important home maintenance checklist task is to clean the gutters and downspouts on the exterior of your home. Clogged gutters can cause water damage on your roof, costing you a lot of time and money in repairs. Make sure all drainage areas are clear and not blocked by any leaves or debris.
An annual roof inspection can help prevent water damage from rain, snow, and ice. You can do a visual check of the roof yourself, but it’s always best to hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for normal wear and tear and more serious problems that may be difficult to see. If you are checking the roof yourself, be sure to always take proper safety precautions.
Trimming your tree branches will keep them from coming down in a winter storm and causing damage to your home. Get rid of any dead branches and prune other limbs to clear some space around the perimeter of your house.
Family Safety at Home
You never know when disaster can strike. Thankfully, winter storms aren’t usually severe in North Texas, but it’s best to have a plan just in case. Keep emergency preparation kits ready and available to grab in a pinch. Review evacuation and fire escape plans with your family, and do your best to rid your home of old newspapers and other potential fire hazards.
Learn More: Winter Storm Emergency Preparedness
Maintenance on your home is not always the most enjoyable task, but it’s absolutely essential to keeping your family and your home safe. The Fall and Winter months are filled with time spent with friends and family. Walking through a maintenance checklist ensures you’re ready to have a great holiday season.