Fall Home Maintenance Checklist



Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. —Alexander Graham Bell

The cold months approaching mean a host of potential bad weather can ruin the best laid plans. Fall maintenance is important because it’s the foundation for securing your home against rain, snow, and dipping temperatures.

Kitchen

You’ll spend plenty of time in the kitchen preparing school lunches, holiday meals, and festive treats. Keep it in working order to make cooking and baking enjoyable.

  • Restock the kitchen with new utensils and cookware for fast and efficient prep.
  • Plan and freeze recipes for quick and easy meals.
  • The interior of the dishwasher can get stinky. Clean it with a homemade vinegar solution or commercially produced solvents.
  • The oven will be in heavy rotation this fall. Start with a deep scouring and continue touch ups throughout the season.
  • Don’t forget about holiday ware. Remove from storage and cleanse for service.

Bathrooms

Autumn starts the season of "company is coming." Get your guest bathrooms ready for frequent use.

  • Add pleasant smelling candles or incense reeds.
  • New hand towels are welcoming.
  • Check for running toilets and proper flushing mechanisms to avoid embarrassing situations for guests.
  • Faucets that leak leave ugly residue rings. Repair or call plumber if necessary.

Living Room

The center space for all entertaining should be comfortable and ready at a moment’s notice to receive friends and family.

  • Display new fleece and Sherpa-like blankets in baskets for everyone’s use.  
  • Use a decorative fireplace screen and log holder. A new caddy of wood burning utensils adds to the ambience.  
  • Schedule an early check-up with the chimney sweep for fireplace health.
  • Flameless candles on timers add elegance and warmth.
  • Update and wash any pet bedding and toys.

Bedrooms

Guest bedrooms get a workout over the holidays. Make everyone feel at home with a few extra touches.

  • Add a rug or two to fight chilly mornings.
  • Provide a heavier quilt or multiple blanket and pillow choices.
  • For everyday bedrooms, streamline bed making and dressing for agreeable back to school mornings.
  • Master bedrooms benefit from routine-friendly mornings, too.

Basement or Utility Room

Don’t wait until a problem occurs; preemptive strikes are best. Last-minute disasters usually get you last-minute service people to bail you out.

  • Inspect and service HVAC systems. Friends and neighbors will be glad to recommend their favorite trustworthy and reputable professionals.
  • Change filters and dust any air returns and intake covers.

General Interior

With guests arriving regularly, it’s a good time to upgrade cleaning appliances and habits.

  • Sanitize and repair any vacuum accessories and parts that are worn.
  • Vacuum and dust electric baseboards or panel radiators if they heat your home. Excessive dust is a fire hazard.
  • Change smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries on Daylight Savings day.
  • Insects and small rodents like to be warm, too. Schedule a visit from a pest control company.
  • Improve windows and doors with various types of weather stripping.

General Exterior

There’s a lot of work to be done outside in the fall. Give yourself ample time to complete everything.

  • Care for and protect your air conditioning systems by covering fixed and temporary units.
  • Screen windows should be switched with storm windows.
  • Because the daylight hours are short, programmable exterior lights provide safety and cost efficiency.
  • Trim trees to prevent damage to the exterior of the house. Racoons and squirrels use any branch they can find to enter the attic space.
  • Shrubs and young trees need pruning and mulch to survive harsh winters.
  • If a spring garden makes you happy, plant bulbs in the fall according to your gardening zone.
  • Empty garden of last summer’s debris. It houses pests.
  • Clear gutters are the best defense against flooding and foundation deterioration.
  • Take lawn care to the max: aerate, fertilize, mulch. Don’t rake all of the leaves. A thin layer of mulched foliage gives homes to helpful bugs and provides nutrients to the grass.
  • After fall ornamental planting, disinfect and store pots and planters.
  • Stow hoses and garden lawn tools.
  • Clean and repaint patio furniture before covering or moving inside.
  • Simply turning off the water flow and clearing out remaining water from hose bibs while installing insulating covers prevents potential frozen pipes.
  • Inspect the foundation, roof lines, and other pest access points. Unwanted guests take advantage of your heated space.
  • Sprinkler systems need winterization. If the water trapped inside isn’t cleared, the lines could expand and crack.

Fall begins a festive season of the year for many households. With numerous gatherings ahead, the best course of action is to try and avoid any unpleasant occurrences by giving the house the attention it needs to run smoothly. Preventing and preparing for unseen maintenance issues is a part of homeownership that can’t be overlooked or postponed.

By Dawn M. Smith