Your Home Maintenance Guide for Fall

Fall is here which means it’s time to tackle your chore list for the season. The mild temperatures offer ideal conditions for much of the work that is needed on the exterior of your home.  You’ll be glad you took the time to do it now so when that harsh winter weather sets in, you will have peace of mind that your home is ready for whatever mother nature has up her sleeve.  As a property management company, we thought it prudent to provide notes about which of these chores is typically a tenant responsibility vs. a landlord responsibility.  Always check your lease if you are unsure.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Man Cleaning Gutters

It’s critical to clear your gutters and downspouts in the fall. You will absolutely need to do this (or hire someone to do it for you) once all the leaves have fallen but, if you live in a heavily wooded area, you may need to do it two or even three times in the fall. When the gutters get clogged, rain water will pour over the sides of your gutters directly at your foundation putting you at increased risk for water intrusion in your home. Don’t have a false sense of security if you do not have trees directly around your home; debris will still find it’s way in there and you will want to flush it out before winter sets in.

Note: If you’re a tenant, this maintenance would be typically your responsibility.

Clear Leaves off the Ground

Sure, most people know they need to rake their leaves but you also need to make sure Fall Lawnthe leaves are removed from exterior drains. If the water outside can’t drain properly, it will make its way into your home. You will want to check your drains pretty much daily at the height of the season. When it comes to your lawn, rake up any thick leaf piles. You can use a mulch mower to handle thin layers but it is crucial that you do not allow matting of the leaves on your lawn. You want to avoid trapping moisture which can lead to mold and insects that will damage your lawn.

Note: If you’re a tenant, this maintenance would typically be your responsibility.

Aerate Your Lawn

While we are talking about your lawn, did you know that October is the best time to aerate in our area? If your lawn is suffering from compacted soil and has been looking dry and “sorry”, you may want to consider aerating. The idea behind aeration is to perforate the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients in. This will allow the roots to grow deeply and give you a stronger grass. If you are not sure if you need aeration or if you want to know how to do this on your own, this link on DIY Network has some great information.

Note: If you’re a tenant, you would not typically be responsible for this.  Your landlord is also not typically required to do this, but may opt to.  

Winterize Your Hose Bibs hose bib

No one should have to experience frozen pipes – it’s an incredibly costly disaster that is easily preventable! To protect yourself from frozen pipes, shut off inside supply lines to the outside faucets (hose bibs). Then head outside to remove hoses from the outside faucets. Drain the lines by running the water until it stops. Some newer homes have frost-free valves installed, which have no inside shut-off. They have a valve right at the outside spigot which requires adjustment and the bib needs to be drained.  Still not sure what to do? This helpful “how-to” video from Excel Inspections is a fantastic guide.

Note: If you’re a tenant, this maintenance would typically be your responsibility.

Have Your Chimney Inspected

Fireplace.jpgIf you use your fireplace every season, you should have it cleaned and inspected annually.  Creosote, which is a black or brown tarry substance, can build up on your flue creating a fire hazard. A chimney sweep and inspection will run you, on average, between $100-$250.  Cost can vary depending on a number of factors such as accessibility to your roof, number of chimney’s etc. This is an important step to preventing house fires and it should be done by a professional.

Note: Generally, as at tenant, the chimney should have been cleaned and inspected prior to your lease commencement. Any subsequent cleanings/inspections during tenancy would typically be your responsibility.

Do Exterior Painting

Have some differed painting on the exterior of your house?  Fall is a great time to tackle Trimit!  With low humidity and mild temperatures, the conditions are ideal not only for completing the work but for the paint to dry properly.  You will also want to take this opportunity to repair or replace any rotted wood.  Use a screwdriver to prod wood trim around the outside of your house; if you poke a hole in it easily, it needs repair.

Note: If you’re a tenant, you would not typically be responsible for this.

Trim and Remove Branches

If you have any loose hanging or dead branches, you will want to remove them now to prevent them from coming down when the ice and snow hit this winter.  For the same reason, you should also assess any low lying branches that hover over your home and trim them back as necessary.  You may need to hire a tree company for this job as it can be harrowing to get the branches down from a ladder.

Note: If you’re a tenant, you would not typically be responsible for this but you may want to address any easy to access dead branches yourself and then notify your landlord of larger, more labor intensive branches and request they be removed/trimmed.

Replace or Clean Furnace Filters

Man replaces a filter in a furnaceThis is something you should be doing about every other month or so but it is especially important to do before the winter. Make sure your furnace filters are clean and return vents have been vacuumed. If you have disposable filters, it’s helpful to write the install date in permanent marker on the cardboard trim for quick reference.

Note: If you’re a tenant, this maintenance would typically be your responsibility.

Check Smoke Detectors

You should be replacing batteries in your smoke detectors every six months but you should be testing them monthly. Use this post as reminder to test your smoke detectors this month! If you find one is not working, replace the battery. If that does not solve the issue, you will need to replace the detector immediately. Do not delay on this as you never know when you may need that detector!

Note: If you are a tenant and have already tried changing the batteries only to find your detector is still not functioning, notify your landlord or property manager right away so they can get it replaced.

It may seem like a daunting list, but preventative maintenance will save you time and money.  So, don’t delay!  Cross off whatever items you can, as soon as you can.

-Nicole Campana for Peake Management



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