16 Handy Fall Home Maintenance Tips and Fall Yard Maintenance Tips [to prepare for winter]

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If you are a homeowner then you may be familiar with some of these Fall Home Maintenance tips already, but some of them may be new to you. And the Fall Yard Maintenance tips are good things to get done before winter comes.

Fall Home Maintenance Tips and Fall yard maintenance tips that you should get done before winter
Fall Maintenance Tips and Fall Yard Maintenance Tips

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Please only do home maintenance that you are safely capable of and/or certified to do. If you are in doubt, hire a professional. And this article and writer makes no warranty as to the completeness, accuracy, quality of the information provided or its applicability to you. It is for informational purposes.

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Below are fall home maintenance tips that will help you be prepared for winter.

1) Fire Safety and Home Safety

Fall Home maintenance tip - make sure your fire extinguishers are charged, and make sure your smoke detectors are working and within date
  • Check your first aid kit for completeness and expired products
  • Check your fire extinguishers. Most fire extinguishers have a gauge on them. Check if yours is still in the operable range.
  • Smoke detectors: check the batteries and check the date of manufacturing on your smoke detector. First Alert states that you should replace your smoke detectors at least every 10 years, and if it has Carbon Monoxide detector it’ll have to be replaced every 5-7 years.

2) Heating System

Fall home maintenance - have your furnace cleaned and serviced by a HVAC technician and change your furnace filters
Fall Home Maintenance includes having furnace serviced and cleaned by HVAC professional
  • Change your furnace filters – take a picture of your current filter to bring to the store with you to make sure you get the correct replacement
  • Have your furnace cleaned and serviced by a licensed HVAC technician and do it BEFORE you need it during the cold of winter (because the HVAC companies are really busy then too).

3) Fireplaces

Fall home maintenance - have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned y a chimney sweep
Image by Pexels from Pixabay
  • Have your chimneys cleaned and inspected, and your fireplace inspected
  • A chimney sweep will look at the condition of the chimney bricks, flashing and cap to make sure everything is in good shape and that smoke will exhaust up through your chimney correctly

4) Windows and Doors

  • Caulk around drafty windows. You can select a clear caulk so its color doesn’t clash with your paint colors.
  • Weatherproof stripping around doors and along the bottom
  • For more information on weatherproofing your home click here.

5) Dryer Vents

Fall home maintenance tip - clean your dryer vent. That trapped lint is a fire hazard
Photo credit: woodleywonderworks on Flickr.com
  • Clean your dryer vents…get that lint out of there because trapped lint can be a fire hazard.
  • Some companies may provide this as a service or you could do it yourself. Amazon sells dryer vent cleaning brushes to make it easier for you.

6) Does your attic have adequate insulation?

Photo credit: Alston Edwyn on Flickr.com
  • Did your roof have less snow on it last year compared to your neighbors? Since hot air rises this could mean that excess heat was escaping up through your under-insulated attic and therefore melting the snow off your roof. (Reference here.)
  • If this happens to your house look into getting an insulation company to install new insulation, or do it yourself if you are capable. It could help you save money on your heating bills.

7) Clean your Gutters

Fall home maintenance tip - clean gutters to ensure water can freely flow through them
Image by 123switch from Pixabay
  • Hire a gutter cleaning company or clean them yourselves if you can safely do this
  • You want to make sure there are no leaves or debris in your gutters clogging them up because a clogged gutter can lead to water pooling in there.
  • Then once the cold of winter hits this pooled water it can freeze creating an “ice dam” and this can actually start to build up and go underneath the roof shingles causing a damaged, leaking roof. And clogged gutters that are filled with water or ice are heavy and could break.

8) Check your Roof for Damage or Needed Repairs

  • It is much easier to fix a damaged roof before the snow falls then after it is covered in snow and  possibly melting into your house
  • Grab some binoculars (or use a drone) and carefully scan your roof for signs of damage such as no shingles missing, no holes, and check for cracked tiles if you have a tiled roof.
  • And if you have an asphalt shingled roof and you noticed gritty, sand stuff in your gutters (when you have those cleaned) this means the asphalt shingles are starting to break down and accumulate in your gutters. If this is the case, hire a roofing company to inspect your roof.

Fall Yard Maintenance Tips

Below are some fall yard maintenance tips to ensure your yard is in good shape before winter.

9) Store your Lawnmower and Lawn Tools

Photo credit: Hans F. on Flickr.com
  • If you have a gas lawn mower or other gas lawn tools then you’ll want to get it ready for winter storage. This involves adding fuel stabilizer and draining the gas tank. Click here to see how to do this on “This Old House”.

10) Underground Irrigation

  • If you have underground sprinklers (pop-up sprinklers) then have your underground irrigation system blown out and shut off before the first freeze.

11) Shut off water supply to the Outside Hose Bibs to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Water shut off valve inside the house that controls water to the outside hose bibs
  • Many homes have a water shut-off valve inside the home that controls water to the outside water faucets. 
  • Unless you have frost-free bibs attached to these outside water faucets, you’ll need to turn off these valves inside the home to prevent water freezing in these pipes. (If you’re in doubt, call in a plumber to have a quick look.)
  • Once you have turned off the water shut-off valve inside your house, go back outside, turn on the outside water faucets to drain any water that may still be in the pipe.
  • Detach all garden hoses from the outside water faucets, drain the garden hoses and store for the winter

12) Pick up Lawn Ornaments, Sports balls, etc…

  • walk around your yard and pick up anything that you don’t want covered in snow
  • Get your kids to help you pick up their toys and sports equipment that may still be outside.

13) Empty the Soil out of Planters

Image by gamagapix from Pixabay
  • Empty the soil out of garden planters to avoid them possibly cracking and breaking from the soil expanding and contracting (Reference here.)

14) Walk your Yard to make sure it is properly sloped away from your home

  • Did any of your yard or garden projects this year cause the ground to slope towards your home?
  • If so, you need to make sure you correct this and the ground is sloped away from your home’s foundation.
  • If you’re in doubt or have had any signs of water leaking into your basement, you’ll want to call a professional to have it looked at and evaluated.

15) Prune Dead Branches from Trees

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay
  • Inspect the trees and shrubs on your property for dead branches.
  • I find it is better to do this while there are still leaves on the live branches so you can easily differentiate a dead branch from a live one.
  • A heavy snow load on a weakened dead branch could cause it to snap and damage property or people.

16) Should I cover my Air Conditioner for the Winter?

The answer is No. I used to think this was necessary to help protect my air conditioner, but I’ve read that the opposite is true. Turns out that if you cover up your A/C unit you could actually trap moisture inside there causing damage and providing a more hospitable habitat for rodents to live.

And that air conditioning units are built to withstand the outdoor winter elements.

So according to this HVAC professional, don’t cover your Air conditioner in the winter.

I hope you have found some value in these fall home maintenance tips and fall yard maintenance tips.

If there are any fall home or yard maintenance tips that you think should be added please comment below.

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