Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, October 19, 2022

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With cooler temperatures quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to do a home maintenance check to confirm that your residence is in shape for the upcoming winter months. Regular care and maintenance of your home can help increase the quality and life of your house. Just a few simple steps can keep your home efficient and it might save you money in the long run. 

Start by giving the exterior of your house a good check-up. Do this by inspecting all wood framing for signs of rats, bats, roaches, termites, squirrels, mice and other pests. Contact a professional as needed to treat and get rid of them. Also, check for and replace rotting wood or damaged trim, especially around doors and windows. Ensure that your windows and doors work correctly and that the weather-stripping and caulking around them is in good shape. Take the time to repair or replace cracked or broken windows. These are good money saving tips. 

It’s important to clean gutters and downspouts making sure they discharge water 2-3 feet away from the house. Check the flashing around the chimney, plumbing vents, skylights, and other joints to ensure they are securely fastened; repair as needed. Make sure to examine the roof surface, shingles, eaves, and soffits and make repairs as needed. Inspecting the attic for signs of leaks and pests is also a good idea. It makes sense to check that attic insulation is sufficient and that vent and ductwork connections are free of debris and work properly allowing the fans to exhaust to the outdoors. 

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To help improve the air quality inside the home, replace air filters in your HVAC system. Dust off ceiling fan blades and run the fan clockwise during fall/winter to circulate warmer air. Hire a professional to tune-up the heating and cooling system. If you use window air-conditioning units, this is the time to consider covering them and sealing the openings. Remember to check the fireplace damper and clean the chimney, or find a professional to do it for you.

Cooler fall weather makes it easier to be outside and work in the yard. This is a good time to clear dead plants and shrubs away from the house and trim any tree branches that overhang the roof. Not only does this help prevent moisture build-up, but it is also a safety measure in case of hurricanes, tornadoes, or other severe storms. Use this time to inspect fences and decks for wood rot; clean, repair, reseal, and repaint as needed. 

Always keep home safety a priority by making sure that you have a fire extinguisher that it is fully charged, or purchase one if necessary. Change all the batteries in the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Since it is storm season, it is a good idea to update your home emergency plan and make sure that every family member knows what to do in an emergency.

Although these tasks might seem a little daunting, in reality they take only a few hours. Using these guidelines can help put your home in tip-top shape for the storm season.

For a full home maintenance checklist, please contact the Decatur County Extension office at 248-3033.