Taking care of a few fall home maintenance chores can help prevent problems later, allowing you to enjoy all the comfy seasons without stress.
We’ve prepared some easy tips and tricks for fall house maintenance that any landlord can do. Even if you'd prefer a service professional handle them, it will be well worth it in the long run. You'll save money by avoiding costly repairs with just a little upkeep on your property.
Large-scale home repairs should be completed in the fall when shorter days and cold weather make outdoor labor difficult. If you live in a cold-weather region, spend some time improving your home's energy efficiency and protecting your trees from winter storms this autumn. If you cross these things off your fall home checklist, you can relax knowing that your house and yard are winterized and prepared.
Use this fall home maintenance checklist for advice on cleaning gutters, roofs, fireplaces, and other areas.
What should a home maintenance plan include?
1. Start at the top with roofing repairs.
Begin your fall house maintenance with an important step: checking your roof or shingles for damage. Shingles must lie between 40 and 85 degrees to avoid sliding under snow and ice. Otherwise, the shingles will crack, and cold weather may make it difficult for the adhesive to adhere to the roof. Make a plan to remove the old shingles and get a professional to fix any missing or peeling shingles.
Every year, the drainage system on your roof diverts tons of water from the outdoors. Water in your basement or damaged external surfaces can be caused by clogged gutters, leaving them vulnerable to corrosion and rust. Don’t forget to clean out leaves from gutters and cover them with mesh gutter guards to prevent future clogs.
2. Protect your deck.
Safety inspections of your deck are a must-do on the autumn home maintenance checklist. Spray water on various spots around the desk and reseal if water seeps into the planks. The deck will be secure throughout the winter if water beads up or forms puddles.
Look for any loose screws or nails to prevent cold weather damage. Tighten or replace fasteners as needed. Power wash the deck and inspect it for splintering or cracking. If necessary, fill the cracks in the wood with epoxy. Use a water-repellent stain to prevent damage from melting ice and snow.
Fall home maintenance tip: While winterizing your outdoor space, wipe down and spit clean any outdoor furniture. Store all cushions, pillows, rugs, and umbrellas inside or out of the elements for the winter.
3. Cover air leaks.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, sealing up a drafty house can save up to 20% on heating costs. Cracks in caulk or weatherstripping allow cold air into your warm home. Applying new caulk and weatherstripping will help stop drafts.
Heating and cooling account for 47% of energy expenditures. Effective insulation and sealing can reduce your yearly energy bill by up to 10% and cut your heating and cooling costs by up to 20%.
Weatherstripping is an inexpensive material that reduces drafts and keeps your house comfortable all year. Inspect weatherstripping every season as it might degrade with time.
Fall maintenance tips: Try shutting doors or windows on a piece of paper to see if weatherstripping stops the draft — if the paper slides out of the doorframe easily the weatherstripping isn’t working as well as it should. You could also place a lit candle next to the frame — if the flame flickers you have a draft coming in.
4. Check the furnace.
Have a professional inspect your heating system at least once a year. Consider scheduling this in advance to ensure availability but before the busy heating season. The following are warning signs that an examination is needed:
- Noise: unusual screeches or whines may indicate that the blower motor's belts are worn or broken.
- Low performance: if the heating system doesn't function well, it may indicate an issue like blocked heating ducts, burners need to be changed, or blower motor replacement. But first, check to see if your furnace's filter is clean.
- Incorrect temperature settings: the thermostat may be broken if the temperature it is set to does not match the temperature of the room.
What are the most important home maintenance tasks you should do every year?
Autumn is a great season to complete home improvements and maintenance projects before it gets cold. With the help of TenantCloud, homeowners can quickly identify and hire qualified local service professionals to assist with all home maintenance needs.
Here are five fall home maintenance tasks you can’t afford to skip before winter rolls in.
1. Maintain HVAC Systems.
Service HVAC systems annually to make sure it is working and in proper condition before the arrival of cold weather and winter storms. Hire a professional to test the heating system, inspect or replace filters, and clean the ventilation system.
2. Inspect Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors.
This task only takes a minute and can save lives. Check the functionality of your smoke detector alarms. Make sure the power indicator light is on and push the test button to check the alarm is working and you can hear it. If you can’t hear it or you don’t see a light, insert new batteries. Consider adding carbon monoxide detectors to your house if you don't already own one.
3. Direct Drainage.
By carefully inspecting the area surrounding your foundation, you should ensure that the earth slopes away from your house by at least six vertical inches over a distance of ten feet. It will keep water from penetrating the soil around the foundation and causing leaks and fractures.
Check that the soil does not bind the siding.
4. Clean Chimneys and Fireplaces.
To prevent chimney fires, hire a professional to clean soot, dirt, and creosote from your fireplace before using it. To prevent moisture and vermin from appearing, remove any obstructions from the chimney's exterior, such as a pile of leaves, and inspect the chimney cap for cracks or damage.
5. Winterize Plumbing.
Close shut-off valves and open outside faucets to drain the pipe before winter arrives. Exterior faucets and underground irrigation systems are prone to freezing and bursting when temperatures drop. Check for leaks, the temperature and pressure of the water, the insulation of the pipes, and the cover of any outdoor faucets.
How much should I budget for home maintenance?
One of the most expensive aspects of homeownership is the cost of repairs and replacement. However, saving a small amount regularly for routine maintenance will help you avoid future repair costs. Keep in mind that maintenance is prone to "scope creep," which occurs when a repair project becomes a replacement, or a replacement becomes a rebuild or renovation. What you may have thought was a simple fix is now a major undertaking.
As a general rule, allocate 1%–4% of a house's worth as a fund for home maintenance. For example, a $200,000 property should budget between $2,000 to $8,000 each year on maintenance and repairs.
Prioritizing based on the age of the home is a helpful guide. If the roof is 20 years old, you may need to replace it soon which is a major investment. However, if the furnace is only five years old, you might not need to start saving for another 10 years.
What is the most expensive item to repair in a home?
After you've made a list of your top priorities, set savings goals based on these typical home maintenance expenditures for replacement. Here are some price ranges to consider:
- Roof: $5,443 – $11,206
- Deck: $15 – $30 per square foot
- Furnace: $2,150 – $5,900
- Central air conditioner: $3,811 – $7,480
- Water heater: $812 – $1,575
- Garage door: $218 – $511
- Windows: $200 – $1,800 each
Appliance prices typically range from $400 to $1,000 depending on brand and features. Higher-end appliances may be much more expensive to repair.
Emergency repairs are the most expensive, so we recommend performing routine maintenance to avoid them. Regular maintenance is critical for extending the life of your home's systems and appliances.
As winter approaches, routine maintenance will greatly enhance the quality of life for both you and your tenants. After you've finished your fall home improvement projects, you can relax with and rest assured your property and tenants are safe and cozy for the cold months ahead.
Time flies, so make sure you get a head start!