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Answering all those burning questions you didn’t know you had about home ownership.

Fall Maintenance, Interior Checklist

Picture of Jessica Dabkowski

Jessica Dabkowski

Helping you with all things homeownership!

Fall maintenance time is here! (Yeah, the exclamation point is probably overkill here.) Fall maintenance is a big job so I’m breaking this topic into two articles – inside your home and outside.
Today, I am reviewing fall maintenance for the inside of your home.

We All Have Better Options

Fall maintenance isn’t the pastime which comes to mind when I conjure up my version of “fall fun.” Cider mill visits, football games (i.e. snack time) and jumping in leaves all sound way more fun.

Unfortunately, you can’t jump in the leaves unless you rake them first.

Me during Saturday football watching.

It is important that we get summer wrapped up and prep your home for the long, lonely haul of winter. Consistent upkeep will help preserve home value and prevent expensive damage. On this blog, I love keeping your money in your financial portfolio where it belongs!

Keep in Mind

Even if you live in a condo unit, some yearly tasks should get checked off your list, such as HVAC maintenance. Your condo association probably handles common areas but each association can vary on unit owners’ responsibilities. Double check on what items you are responsible to maintain and keep the tips below in mind.

Some projects can be DIY jobs, but others may require a professional. This choice is at your comfort level, but for some tasks, it may be better to involve a professional. I can always provide you with the names of a few reputable contractors if you don’t know where to start.

Get Organized Today (Uh, Not Tomorrow!)

I don’t know about you, but when I get overwhelmed, my brain tends to shut down. (This one happened to me recently where I used a TV show binge session to numb my brain – sound familiar?)

Don’t feel overwhelmed by the list of fall tasks below. You probably don’t need to do all of these fall maintenance tasks, but at least take a look to gather your “must do” list.

If you are a digital person, there are some cool apps out there to help you track items related to your home. Two apps that popped up in my research: HouseHappy and HomeZada. I have not used either of these, but I’m going to look into them to use personally.

If you are more of an analog person, create yourself a binder to keep your maintenance checklist and store all things house-related. You can store receipts, warranties, contractor information, etc. in the binder.

The best system is the one you will actually use! You’ll know exactly what you have to do each month and how to budget for it. On certain apps you can even set up alerts to remind you or set yourself a reminder on your calendar or reminders app.

Doors, Windows & Attic

Winter is coming. (Anyone watching this House of Dragons spinoff? Let me know.)

Remember this guy? He was one of my favs.

Use the fall to batten down the hatches on your house to save on winter heating bills.

Add or replace the weather seals/stripping around doors and windows. If you feel a cool breeze streaming in under your exterior door, take care of that leak! Something like this door sweep can stop that cool air in its tracks! There are also adhesive-only versions without screws.

Caulk around windows where cold airs gets in. I know people who get intense satisfaction out of putting down fresh caulk (hey, Mom!), but I find it to be a tedious pain. HOWEVER, fresh caulk saves you money and makes your windows appear clean and well-cared for, in addition to saving you money. Be sure to remove the old caulk first!

While you are already giving those windows some love, give them a nice clean too. You want to get all that summer dirt off the exteriors before winter hits; you’ll want every drop of sunshine you can get in the winter.

If you don’t want to DIY this one, it’s a great task to outsource! I myself just secured a quote to wash the exterior of the windows and clean all the screens on my house.

Get a good storm door for your entrance. A storm door is going to serve as your first line of defense against the cold and keep precipitation away from your main exterior door.

Review your attic insulation situation and whether you should add additional insulation up there.

Chim Chiminee

Chimneys are an often overlooked area of home maintenance. They seem so permanent and indestructible. Every few years, you may want to hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney.

You want to make sure the damper is in working order. Close the damper when not in use, but don’t forget to open it up before lighting a fire!

Bet you didn’t see this one coming at you . . .

Visually inspect for loose bricks/mortar and have any issues addressed. These issues can result in water damage to your chimney over time. It is much easier to plug a small hole than try to repair an area that is crumbling.

Ensure you have a cap or screen on your chimney to keep out the birds and animals. (No to birds, I find birds very anxiety-inducing.)

Furnace and Ducts and A/C, OH MY!

Before you flip on the heat in cooler temperatures, you’ll want to ensure your furnace is in excellent working order. Your furnace will run 24-hours a day for several months, so you want to prep him for battle!

Hire an HVAC professional to inspect and clean your furnace. We did this recently in our rental property, and it was well worth the $95 to have him clean it and let us know it looked pretty good for its age. (He did mention that it was the dirtiest unit he had seen in a long time.😶)

Take a look at your whole-house central humidifier unit to make sure you’ll have the right amount of moisture in the air. You also want to ensure the unit is . . . not disgusting. Here’s a thorough article on maintaining a bunch of different types of units.

If you use a portable humidifier, pull it out and make sure it is nice and clean. If it uses filters, order a few of those now.

While we’re talking about filters, stock up on furnace filters. Change it out before your turn on the furnace and then up to monthly depending on which type you use.

Dirty filters make it more difficult for your HVAC system to work efficiently. Clean filters limit dust and allergens circulating in the air. If you have one of the metal static filters you hose down to clean, consider swapping it out for a HEPA filter; I’ve had two professionals recommend this action.

Clean your dryer vent by vacuuming the tube that leads to the vent and then vacuum from the outside dryer vent. This should be done every six months so include on both your fall and spring maintenance schedules. Built up dryer lint in vents is a really big fire hazard, so do yourself and favor and add this one to the list.

Thermostat

Buy a programmable thermostat (so many great options to choose from now!). A programmable thermostat allows you to set temperatures lower when you’re not at home or sleeping.

Back in this article, I discuss options and also checking to see if your utility provider offers a rebate back when you upgrade your unit.

To prevent pipes from bursting, never set your thermostat below 55 degrees.

I know we covered a lot today, but look over this list and determine what is essential to get done around your home. An ounce of prevention with maintenance can prevent you owing a pound of money (or whatever.)

Next week, we’ll pick up with part 2, covering exterior fall maintenance! As always, reach out if I can help with any of your home ownership needs.

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