A fall maintenance checklist for your home

A fall maintenance checklist for your home

Updated:
Beyond raking the leaves, there are other home-care tasks to address during the fall. (©iStockphoto.com/Ashok Rodrigues) Beyond raking the leaves, there are other home-care tasks to address during the fall. (©iStockphoto.com/Ashok Rodrigues)

By Jim Sulski
F
rom Completely at Home

Owning a house, as any homeowner will tell you, is a never-ending job. A new repair job seems to come up just as you finish one.

On the other hand, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.

One way to stem some of those problems is by following a yearly maintenance schedule, like the one that follows for the fall season. Each task will take only a short time each month, but the result is well worth it: You'll be able to keep your home in top shape.

September

Before the cold weather sets in, this is a good month to get into the habit of changing the furnace filter, if you have forced-air heat.

As simple and as inexpensive as it is to change a furnace filter, many homeowners overlook this task.

Believe it or not, furnace filters can get so clogged that the furnace can't push warm air into rooms. Clean filters can greatly cut down on energy consumption and save you money on your energy bills.

To change the filter, simply draw it out of its slot next to the furnace. Some filters needs to be replaced, while a few can be washed and reused. A filter should be changed simply when needed - that could be monthly or every few months. Don't forget to check them in the summer when the central air conditioning system is running full speed.

October

Before the cold weather sets in, reglaze a few of the windows on your home.

Reglazing is a process in which you replace the putty that seals a bond between the window and the frame. That helps cut down on a lot of cold air infiltration during the cold winter months.

Start with the windows in which the existing glazing is cracked or missing. Gently press the new compound in place. Use a flexible blade putty knife to compress the compound so that the exposed surface is flat and pitches 45 degrees from the sash to the glass.

Allow the compound to dry for three weeks before painting it. Apply the paint so it barely touches the glass to from a weather seal. If you're worried about getting paint on the window, put strips of masking tape around the inside of the window just a hair away from the putty. After the paint dries, remove the tape and you'll have a perfect edge.

November

With the first cold breezes of the season in force, November is a good month to determine which of your exterior doors are leaking cold air into your warm home.

There's a good chance a lot of that cold air is coming from the bottom of the door, as opening and closing the door causes the door sweep to wear out.

To repair the sweep, remove the old sweep, which may mean removing the door. Sweeps are usually held in place with screws. Sweeps come in different styles but replacements can be purchased at home improvement stores. You may need to cut the new sweep to fit the existing door. Re-install the new sweep according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Don't install the sweep too tight. You should be able to slip a piece of paper under the door.

Year-round tasks

Make sure you change the batteries on all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home at least twice a year. Fire Department officials recommend that this is done in the spring and fall when we reset our clocks and "fall back" and "spring ahead".

Although most homeowners think of it as a spring or fall job, check your gutters for debris every other month. A clogged gutter can caused water damage to a home when rainwater backs up over the gutter and washes over the side of a house.

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