By Jeremy DeLay, Tulsa Home + Design Realty
With each new season comes a great reminder that there are things around the house that need attention. Some things are season-specific and involve preparing for major changes in the weather, and others just happen to come up at that particular time. Whatever the task may be, using the changing of the seasons as a home maintenance calendar is a great way to ensure that your annual duties never get missed. In this article, we will look at several items to include on your Fall checklist.
- Furnace Inspection
- Chimney Cleaned and Inspected
- Clean the Gutters
- Fertilize Your Lawn
- Test Home Safety Devices
- Clean Your Garage
- Check for Drafts
If you live in a climate that gets cold and even freezes, you don’t want to wait for a cold front to find out that your furnace isn’t working properly. Fall is a great time to have your furnace inspected and the filter replaced. Having a clean filter helps ensure your home gets to the desired temperature quickly and stays there. Lifehack.com recommends the following, “Hire an HVAC professional to test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the filter. They can also do a carbon monoxide check to ensure air safety. It’s also a good idea to stock up on extra air filters and change them every few months.”
Next up is the chimney. If you use your fireplace regularly throughout the fall and winter, you’ll definitely want to have your chimney cleaned and inspected at the start of the season. All kinds of soot and debris, and even dead animals, can build up in your chimney and cause problems with airflow, and even lead to house fires. From bhg.com, “Even if you use your fireplace only occasionally, you should check it annually for damage and hazards. First, inspect the flue for creosote, a flammable by-product of burning wood. Too much accumulation in a flue or chimney can result in a devastating fire. Get your chimney inspected annually for creosote buildup. If you use a fireplace or wood stove frequently, have the flue inspected after each cord of wood burned.” Again, this is not something you want to learn about or try to figure out when it’s too late.
Externally, this is a great time to clean your gutters and check for leaks. According to bhg.com, “Your roof’s drainage system annually diverts thousands of gallons of water from your house’s exterior and foundation walls, so it’s vital to keep this system flowing smoothly.” Coming on the hills of the rainy season and just before leaves start falling, the start of the fall season is a perfect time to ensure your gutters are clean and free of damage. While you’re up there, another great thing to do would be to check your roof for any damage or leaks. You’ll want to look out for any missing, damaged, or loose shingles, and if your roof is flat or has any flat portions, it’s a good idea to remove any leaves or debris.
Another external item on the list is the lawn. If your work with a lawn company, they will likely have you on a quarterly maintenance schedule already. If not, fall is the perfect time to fertilize your lawn, which will help prevent both winter damage, as well as spring weeds. According to housebeautiful.com, “If you want to keep your lawn looking great in the spring and summer, you need to prep it for the fall and winter. Roots are still active when the grass isn’t growing, so applying fertilizer will prevent winter damage.” It’s also the time to plant bulbs for the spring if gardening is your thing. While you’re working on the lawn, go ahead and trim back trees and bushes. If you live somewhere that can get heavy snow or ice, those can both weigh down bushes and branches, and cause big problems for you during the wintertime.
Since this is the time of year that we start turning on the heater and using the fireplace, next on the list is testing home safety devices like smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices, and replacing the batteries. When was the last time you made sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are powered up and working properly? Fall is a great time to go around the house and replace the batteries in all of your home safety devices and make sure that they’re in working order. Additionally, you can test your burglar alarm system and any other battery-powered devices in the home like automatic door locks.
The next thing on our fall checklist is to clean the garage. This is something you could do at the start of any season, and maybe need to add it to the list for every season if your garage is anything like mine. Our garage seems to be a place where everything just ends up, so we spend a Saturday about once every quarter finding a home for everything and getting the garage back to square one. This is a good opportunity to rotate summer items either to the back of shelves or out to storage and move the fall and winter items to where they’re easily accessible.
Lastly, but certainly not least, is checking your doors and windows for drafts. From lifehack.org, “A good tip is to use a lighted candle and if the flame flickers, there’s most likely a draft. If necessary, replace seals and repair caulking around window and door frames. Consider buying heavier or insulated drapery for especially drafty windows.” According to the U.S. Department of Energy, sealing up a drafty house can save you 20% on your heating bills.
These are just a few of the many things you can do to make sure your home is ready for the fall season. While not exhaustive, this list does include some very important items that are necessary to keep you and your family safe year-round.
*At Tulsa Home + Design, we work with clients at every step of their home-buying and owning journey to help them find and create spaces to live and grow. Call us today. www.tulsahomeanddesign.com