Your 8-Step Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Cardinal Financial September 15, 2023 | 5 min read
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Don’t wait for the first freeze to prep your home for colder weather. Use our fall home maintenance checklist to make sure you’re ready for whatever the season brings. By taking these preventative measures, you could avoid the hassle and expense of costly repairs and extend the life of your home. So, let’s talk fall home maintenance tips for home buyers.

Your 8-Step Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

  • Tidy your yard
  • Declutter your gutters
  • Trim your trees
  • Prime your lawn
  • Store your equipment properly
  • Prep your pipes
  • Check your HVAC system
  • Complete outstanding repairs

1. Tidy your yard

First up on your fall home maintenance checklist: Take a look at your yard and tidy as needed. Rake and bag the leaves, remove dead bushes, branches, and shrubs, and pull up any dead plants and weeds. If you have a composter, now is a good time to feed it with your lawn’s refuse and generate some nutrients for springtime gardening.

A note on raking: When it comes to raking leaves, less is more. You’ll want to leave a thin layer of leaves to provide nutrients for your lawn and offer winter hibernation habitats for frogs and other small creatures. Avoid more than 50% leaf coverage of your yard, though. With too many leaves, your grass will be smothered and soggy when spring rolls around.

2. Declutter your gutters

Decluttering: It’s not just for closets. Although it might be an unpopular task, cleaning your gutters is actually one of the best ways to take care of your home. After clearing leaves and debris from the gutters, don’t forget to check the downspouts and make sure a clear path exists for the snow to melt and drain away from the house.

3. Trim your trees

Our next fall home maintenance tip is to scan your trees for dead or low-hanging branches. Trim back any that are resting on the roof or brushing up against the windows and siding. If it snows in your area, it could weigh down these branches to the point where they snap and cause collateral damage to your home.

4. Prime your lawn

Next, take winter preparation a step further by aerating, fertilizing, and seeding your lawn. This way, you’ll be ahead of the game when the spring rains come. While you’re at it, eyeball the foundation of your home for any spots where the soil may be sinking. Filling those ruts now will help melting snow and ice flow away from the house and prevent potential water damage to your basement and foundation.

5. Store your equipment properly

Don’t wait until you need it to make sure your home maintenance equipment is stored and working properly. For lawnmowers and other gasoline-powered equipment, drain the fuel and store it in a safe container (fuel that sits in the tank for too long may cause corrosion). Assess your winter supplies and make sure you’re stocked up on basics like antifreeze, shovels, salt, and car window scrapers as needed.

6. Prep your pipes

Ah, the dreaded frozen pipes. To avoid this common cold weather issue, shut off your home’s exterior water lines before fall ends. If you have any outdoor hoses, drain and wrap them up and store them in your garage or another dry, indoor space. This is also a good time to drain your home’s hot water heater and clean out any sediment buildup. This task will increase the life of your hot water heater and make its water cleaner and safer to use.

7. Check your HVAC system

It’s easy to go long periods of time without examining your home’s HVAC system, but don’t skip this step in your fall home maintenance checklist. Winter is the busy season for HVAC professionals, so it’s a good idea to contact them now for preventative measures. This is also a great time to clean or change your air filter to improve your home’s air quality as well as your HVAC’s efficiency. If you have a working fireplace, have your chimney cleaned or your gas line inspected so you can relax and enjoy its warmth in the months to come.

8. Complete outstanding repairs

The last step on your fall home maintenance checklist is a bit of a catch-all. If you have any home repairs or projects underway, make sure these are complete before fall is over. Inspect your roof, windows, and doorways for gaps that could allow cold drafts to permeate. These can be repaired with simple caulk or could require more involvement, like window replacement. All these minor upgrades will help prevent hot air from escaping from your home and lower your winter utility bills.

Any other fall home maintenance tips?

We’ve provided some general home maintenance tips in this checklist, but your specific needs will vary based on your location and the unique features of your home. Older builds in colder areas, for example, tend to be more at risk for frozen pipes. If you live in a remote area where snow plows don’t service your neighborhood, stocking up on winter supplies may be your priority. Regardless of where you are, the most important things you can do as a homeowner are to have a plan, be prepared, and don’t forget to enjoy all the cozy activities the season brings. Pumpkin spice, anyone?

Spending a little extra time on home maintenance in the fall could help you save money on utilities and repairs in the winter.

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