Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: 5 Key Safety-Oriented Tasks

September 12, 2023
Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

“I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

― L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables

Fall, if you can believe it, is right around the corner! While we grab these last, few, luxuriously warm days, it’s a good time to plan for some maintenance tasks around your home. Fall is the perfect time to look at a Fall Home Maintenance Checklist and get some of these tasks accomplished before cold weather really sets in. Some of the most important, at least in my book, are as follows…

Clean Your Gutters or Get Ready To Call Your Insurance Agent

One of the best things about living in my new condo is that I don’t have to do a lot of the exterior maintenance jobs that used to consume my Fall weekends. But for all you single-family homeowners out there, this one cannot be understated or under-valued: cleaning the gutters. Cleaning gutters is an essential on the Fall Home Maintenance Checklist because of one very ominous thing: ice dams. When my kids were small, one Fall, we were “too busy” to clean the gutters or too cheap to pay someone else to do the same. One massive mess and a huge insurance claim later, I learned a very hard lesson. When water freezes in your gutters because of debris, this prevents drainage and it forces the melting ice and snow to go up, underneath the shingles, on your roof and into your home. However, clean gutters can proactively prevent ice dams from forming as well as preventing any significant water damage. So if you don’t want to be damned this winter, clean your gutters this Fall.

Check Your Smoke Detectors and Replace The Batteries – It’s Tops on The Fall Home Maintenance Checklist!

My brothers, Rick and Mike, are both firefighters, so this one is near-and-dear to my heart. Fall (and Spring, for that matter) is a great times to check the functioning of your smoke detectors and to change the batteries, even if it doesn’t seem necessary. According to a Johns Hopkins University study, funded by the United States Fire Administration, 75 percent of residential fire deaths and 84 percent of residential fire injuries could have been prevented by working smoke detectors. So get it done! It’s easy, inexpensive… and worth it!

For further fire protection information, here’s a super-helpful article from the American Red Cross on How To Protect Your Home From Fire Emergencies.

Drain Sprinkler Systems, Outdoor Showers and Hoses

So we’ve already established that ice dams are bad, but floods from broken pipes can also be a disaster that you can most often avoid. Simply draining the pipes from your lawn sprinkler system and outdoor shower can assure smooth sailing through the winter. Also, turn off and drain your outdoor faucets to avoid pipes freezing from the outside and causing pipe ruptures inside your home. And while you’re at it, drain the water from your garden hoses and bring them inside before hard frost. It will prevent them from cracking and save you money not having to replace them.

Clean Your Chimney… Save Your Life… Check It Off The Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

So Rick and Mike are pretty happy that I’m talking to you about this one too. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 374,000 U.S. homes catch fire annually. The cumulative damage is a jaw-dropping $8 billion per year. According to Global Reconstruction, 12,975 people are injured and 2,600 lives are lost from house fires each year. And according to the latest statistics available, of these 374,000 fires, over 25,000 are chimney fires. In the US, chimney fires cause over 125 million dollars in property damage every year. So one of the best things you can do for the safety of your family is get your chimney cleaned before you begin to use it this Fall. Do it! Enough said.

Bring In or Cover Your Outdoor Furniture…Home Maintenance at It’s Simplest.

Patio furniture can make outdoor living so much more fun and enjoyable. Outdoor furniture is an investment, for sure, so why not protect it? Fall is a great time to wash it all down and put it away or under cover till spring. No room in the garage? Or the basement? Then the next best thing is a quality cover to protect your belongings from the elements. You can cover each piece individually or, often, you can stack furniture and cover it with a larger cover. Make sure to secure the covers with rope or bungies and you won’t have a sail traveling about your neighborhood should a Nor’easter hit.

And Now For A Little Music Before We Go…

Have a lovely day, and stay safe, my friends. Marianne

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