Believe it or not fall is here, which is hard to believe with the mild temperatures we are having. Addressing these fall maintenance items is easier now when the weather is nice and and there is plenty of time to make any needed service appointments.
Disconnect any garden hoses, drain and store for the winter.
If the exterior faucets (aka hose bibs) are not frost free, drain the water out. Don't forget any remote hose bibs you may have such as those for a garden, outbuilding or boat dock. This entails turning the water supply to the faucet off and then opening the faucet to drain the water. This does not apply to frost free faucets.
Remove any pond pumps and store the pump in your basement in a 5-gallon bucket filled with water. This will help to prevent the seals from drying out.
If you have a utility sink in your garage or other not heated area drain the water out of the pipes and dump some RV anti-freeze into the drain.
If you have a lawn sprinkler system (irrigation system) it needs to be drained and blown out with compressed air. Hire a pro to do this.
Any plumbing or pipes that that are subject to freezing should be either protected or drained.
Outdoor showers should be turned off and the water drained. Make sure to remove any residual water in the shower head.
Turn on and check that the heating system works.
Have the heating system checked and serviced annually.
Replace the batteries in your thermostat (if battery operated). If your thermostat fails while you’re on vacation, you might come home to a winter wonderland.
Clean or replace the furnace filter (hot air systems) – this should usually be done every three months, depending on the type of filter. The arrow on the filter should point toward the furnace. Hydronic (hot water) systems do not usually have an air filter.
Smoke / CO Alarms
Smoke alarms should be located inside every bedroom, and one in a common area on every level.
If you don’t have photoelectric smoke alarms in your home, add them. If you don’t know what type you have, you probably don’t have photoelectric.
CO alarms should be located within ten feet of every sleeping room, but not in furnace rooms, kitchens, or garages.
Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms and test them using the built-in test buttons.
Check the age of your smoke and CO alarms; smoke alarms are good for up to ten years, CO alarms are good for between five and ten years. If they’re any older, replace them. It is best to have separate smoke and CO alarms - not combination units.
General Exterior & Roof
Seal any gaps around the home ‘envelope’, check for loose or dried out caulking
around pipes, ducts, faucets, air conditioner refrigerant lines, etc. While this is the most generic piece of fall maintenance advice, it’s still smart to do this before winter.
Replace any damaged or worn weatherstripping around windows and doors.
Clean gutters and leaders after the leaves have fallen.
Check to see if gutters/leaders are operating correctly. The best way to do this is to take a walk around the house during a mild rain and see if the water is running from the roof into the gutters and down and out the leader. If not make the necessary repairs. Getting water away from the foundation is critical and can avoid costly repairs.
Check the roof for any missing or damaged shingles. Take a look at the roof from a distance while walking around the house. Note: use a set of binoculars for a closeup view.
Have your swimming pool winterized by a professional. This is not something that should be done by a homeowner unless you have experience doing so. Never drain all of the water from an in-ground pool. A certain amount of water must remain in the pool so the sides do not cave in.
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