Fall Home Maintenance Checklist - Part II

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist - Part II

  • Stafford Family Realtors
  • 11/9/22

Welcome back to our Fall Home Maintenance Checklist. This week we are going indoors to make sure our homes are ready! Keep reading for excerpts from MN Realtor with ideas to help protect your family and home as we head into winter.


Seal Leaky Windows and Doors

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafty, improperly sealed windows and external doors account for 30% of all household heat loss. Check weatherstripping and caulking in all of these areas and replace if necessary.


Insulate Plumbing in Cold Spaces

When pipes are exposed to cold air, ice blockages can form, causing enormous water pressure to build. If not thawed, the pipes will burst and cause extensive water damage. That’s why it’s important to inspect pipes in the attic, basement, crawlspaces, garage, or other areas they might be impacted by freezing temperatures. Prevent blockages by wrapping exposed plumbing with pipe-insulation foam or tape, which you can obtain from the hardware store.


Sweep the Chimney

There’s nothing cozier than a crackling blaze in the fireplace. However, few things are more dangerous than a dirty and improperly maintained chimney. Every year, there are over 125,000 chimney fires in the United States, causing in excess of $100 million in property damage.  , a substance that forms from the residue of smoke, vapor, and unburned wood, is highly flammable. When it ignites, fire moves rapidly, cracking, warping and melting masonry, and spreading to other areas of the house.


The best defense is scheduling an annual chimney inspection with a chimney sweep who is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. It’s a small investment to keep the home fires burning where they belong.


Replace Filters in the HVAC System

During those lazy summer days your central air conditioner sucks in clouds of pollen, dust, and other contaminates. By autumn, the filter in your HVAC system in a nasty grey mess. Switch it for a high-quality filter that can perform efficiently up to three months. And while you’re at it, schedule an HVAC inspection and cleaning to ensure your furnace is operating optimally and all the ductwork is clean.


Test the Smoke Alarms

Although most smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors start chirping when their batteries are low, it’s still a good idea to periodically test them. Replace batteries as needed and look at the manufacturer’s replacement recommendations. The average lifespan for a smoke alarm is 10 years. Units combining smoke-and-CO detection should be replaced every five to seven years. And stand-alone CO detectors last about seven years.


Prime the Pump

Eventually, that White Christmas (and White Valentine’s Day, and White St. Paddy’s Day) is going to melt into a moving river of water. For most basements, it’s only a matter of time before some—or a whole lot—of that water floods in. A working sump pump is your first line of defense. So, it’s important to make sure it’s in top operating order. Test it periodically, and if it has a backup battery make sure it’s still functioning. As the battery ages, its run time decreases to as little as half of its original capacity. If you have a voltage meter, measure the voltage between the positive and negative terminals. Anything less than 12.1 volts shows that the battery is nearing the end of its lifespan and should be replaced.


Clear the Air

When the windows are shut tight, the air can become a toxic stew of molds, mildews, and off-gassing chemicals. Allergies, asthma, and even cardiac disease can be irritated by environmental triggers. Fortunately, there are many easy and economical ways to purify the air.

Tame allergenic dust by vacuuming weekly, regularly cleaning bed sheets, and damp mopping floors where dust accumulates.

Discourage mold and mildew by keeping bathroom and laundry areas dry. Toss damp mats and towels in the wash and dryer and run a ceiling fan while showering or bathing. Consider using a dehumidifier in stubbornly moist areas like laundry rooms.

Keep toxins out of the air by replacing volatile chemical cleaners with gentler citrus, soaps, and vinegars.


Deep Clean the Stove and Oven

All that sautéing and frying takes a toll on the range hood, filters, and fan. Take it all apart, scour the greasy gunk, and replace the filters. If you have a gas stove, inspect the burners for clogs that can create uneven heating. Get your oven ready for prime-time baking season by running the self-cleaner if it’s equipped with one. Otherwise, try this recipe for a powerful, all-natural cleaning paste:

  • 1 tablespoon Castile soap
  • 1 ½ cups baking soda
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • Blend together and apply to oven with cloth. Let sit for 20 minutes (or longer), and scour with an abrasive sponge. Wipe down with clean, wet cloth before using dry cloth to finish.


Clean the Fridge—Inside and Out

Remember that potato salad you stowed from the July 4th cookout? Well, it’s still in the back of the fridge cultivating a healthy mold colony. Fall is a perfect time to purge your “food museum” of ancient relics and make room for all those pies and leftovers you’ll shove in there after Thanksgiving. This is also a good time to roll the fridge forward and vacuum the condenser coils. It will operate more efficiently and help expand the appliance’s lifespan.


We hope that find these to-dos helpful. Let us know if you have any other things you do around your home to help prep for the season. 

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