A Not So Typical Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
If you Google “Fall Home Maintenance,” you will find hundreds of articles outlining the basic steps you should take to prepare your home for the cold weather to come. Things like cleaning your gutters, blowing out your irrigation system, storing outdoor furniture – all of the basic steps.
We’ve found a few tips that may not occur to you that are simple fixes to help keep you safe and warm indoors and out.
Every fall maintenance article will tell you to store your outdoor hoses. But did you know there is a right and wrong way to do it? The wrong way is to simply roll up the hose and stick it in your garage. The right way has a few other steps.
- Take off any spray nozzles or sprinklers and shake them to remove all water.
- Disconnect the hose from the spigot, and disconnect hoses from each other if you have more than one.
- Tilt the hose to drain any remaining water out.
- Coil the hose so there are no kinks or serious-looking twists.
- Connect the two ends together (this preserves the threads)
- Store flat (if possible) in your garage or tool shed.
If you haven’t already, replace your bulbs with energy-efficient and long-lasting LED bulbs. You don’t want to have to try and climb a frozen ladder on a windy day to replace a standard bulb.
Speaking of ladders, be sure to hold them parallel to the ground and check for overhead power lines if you need to set one up to clean those gutters or cut back limbs that could damage your roof when snow weighs them down.
Get it inspected. Wood burning fireplaces and chimneys should be checked every 1-2 years, and gas-burning fireplaces should be inspected every 2-3 years. Why? Because wind and water can weaken your chimney over time and it is far less expensive to maintain a chimney than to replace one.
This is a pretty common item on any Fall Maintenance list, but just in case you’ve forgotten, you want them to rotate clockwise in the winter.
Snow Removal Gear
Most Virginians find a snow shovel is sufficient for their snow removal needs, so check it now to make sure it is sturdy and has no cracks.
Keep Out Uninvited Guests
Mice, snakes, and even fleas look for a warmer place to last out the winter, so do a quick tour of your home and look for any cracks that might let a critter inside. You can seal any openings with spray foam or steel wool. This might not stop the fleas as much, but it will deter the squirrels and mice. And while you are out there, close your crawl space vents if you have them.
Do your third out of four washing machine filter cleanings. Your what, you may ask? Washing machines have filters that catch hair, dirt, and more on each rinse cycle. Manufacturers recommend you clean this 4 times a year. Check your owner’s manual for instructions, or you can read this how-to article.
After the hot and humid air of summer, outdoor door locks can get harder to use as moisture attracts dirt. Spray a small amount of powdered graphite into the keyhole (available at hardware stores). Insert your key and turn the lock a few times. Remove the key a few times to distribute.
Fall is not the best time to trim your plants – that is in the dead of winter when they are dormant. Limbs that are within 10 feet of your chimney, however, are the exception. Sparks and heat from your fireplace can catch nearby limbs on fire, so it is better to remove them now.
If you use a humidifier that is separate from your HVAC system, make sure it is in working order. Experts are predicting a shortage of humidifiers and filters this winter as more people will be staying in.
This tip isn’t home-related, but it does provide peace of mind. On the next mild day, wax your car. The extra layer of protection will help protect the finish from road salt and chemicals used on winter roads.
Store your garden tools so they are easy to reach. It’s 2020 after all.