10 Fall Home Maintenance Musts

Use these ten easy fall maintenance projects to keep your house in peak condition through the winter.

  1. Check for Peeling Paint

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    Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings. According to Carl Minchew, Director, Benjamin Moore Paints, "Peeling paint is a sign that the existing paint film is failing and can no longer protect the siding of the building. Left uncorrected, the siding itself will deteriorate, leading to expensive repairs in the future."

  2. Clean the Gutters

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    After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.

  3. Caulk Windows

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    Be sure to caulk around windows and doorframes to prevent heat from escaping. “Caulking and sealing openings is one of the least expensive maintenance jobs,” says Michael Hydeck, Hydeck Design Build, Inc., Telford, PA, and National President, National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). “Openings in the structure can cause water to get in and freeze, resulting in cracks and mold buildup,” he says.

  4. Inspect the Roof

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    Make sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and loose shingles. "Ice, rain, snow, and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs," says Jay Butch, Director, Contractor programs for CertainTeed Roofing. "Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm."

    Related: Roofing Roundup: 7 of Today's Most Popular Choices

  5. Ready the Fireplace

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    Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems if properly serviced. Get your wood stove and fireplace in working order. Gary Webster, Creative Director of Travis Industries, suggests that you examine your wood stove or fireplace insert’s door gasket for a tight seal.

    Related: 10 Accessories for the Fashionable Fireplace

  6. Seal the Driveway

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    Inspect your driveway for cracks. Clean out and repair any damage with driveway filler, then coat with a commercial sealer. Sealing the driveway now will help extend the life of the asphalt through the winter and beyond.

    Related: How To Seal a Driveway

  7. Reverse Ceiling Fan

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    Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling. Clean your humidifiers regularly during the heating season. Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.

    Related: The Benefits of a Whole House Humidifier

  8. Cover Air Conditioners

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    Vacuum internal parts of air conditioners. Remove units from windows or wrap the outside box with an approved tarp or plastic air conditioner cover, like this one from Frontgate, to prevent rusting of vital parts.

    Related: Fall AC Care

  9. Clean Yard Equipment

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    Prepare your yard equipment for storage. This includes draining fuel from all gas-operated equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and chain saws. Check to see that all of your snow equipment is up and running before the first flurry falls. Organize your snow clearing gear. When snow arrives you’ll want to have shovels, roof rakes, and snow blowers where you can get to them.

  10. Prepare Deck for Winter

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    Clean porch and deck furniture, and look for any needed repairs. Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area. Make sure all soil is emptied from pots and planters. Dirt left in clay pots will freeze and cause the pots to crack if left outside.

  11. For More...

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    If you are interested in more about fall home maintenance, consider:

    Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

    Gutter Basics

    Winterizing Your Patio Furniture

  12. See the House of the Week


    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!