Fall Prep Checklist: Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Fall
To help your home run more smoothly, we have a checklist of 13 money- and time-saving to-dos to prepare homes for the fall season. These easy projects go a long way toward helping you reduce energy consumption, improving your home's appearance and preventing expensive appliance and outdoor power equipment repairs.
- Clean kitchen appliances.
• Refrigerator/freezer: Toss out expired items and wipe out the interior. Remove dust and dirt from condenser coils – the radiator-like coils located on the back or beneath the unit – with a long-handled bristle brush and vacuum.
• Range/oven/cooktop: Use the self-cleaning feature. For models without a self-cleaning feature, use an oven cleaner spray. (Never use an oven cleaner spray on models with a self-cleaning feature)
• Garbage disposer: Use biodegradable deodorizing pellets to freshen.
- Inspect window and external door frames for caulking cracks and re-seal. Replace torn weather-stripping as needed.
- Get heating systems ready for the season.
• Look for register blockage. Make sure furniture, rugs and curtains are not obstructing air flow.
• Replace furnace air filter and stock up on a supply for the season.
• Schedule professional air duct cleaning. It’s wise to do this every few years, especially for families with allergy problems.
- Clean out central air conditioning system condenser units.
Consider purchasing a manufacturer-designed, off-season cover. Common mistake: Don’t use a tarp or other material to cover your central air conditioning system condenser unit; it will restrict important air flow and possibly cause problems and expensive repairs.
- Examine appliances for proper functioning.
Stock up on maintenance products. Replace broken, damaged or worn parts.
- Organize garages and safely dispose of bottles and cans containing residual amounts of unneeded chemicals.
- Clear lint buildup from dryer venting systems.
To reduce energy consumption and prevent a fire, clean out dryer venting system, from inside of the dryer to outside vents cap at least once per year. This is a D.I.Y. project that can be completed by using a 20-foot cleaning brush.
- Remove debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Wash home siding with a pressure washer (a.k.a. power washer).
“Thorough pressure washing of home siding is often mistaken for a fresh coat of paint,” said Chris Hall, appliance repair specialist and RepairClinic.com president co-founder. “Pressure washers are available for rental from home improvement stores for about 40 dollars per day. It’s a good idea to do this before temperatures drop.” (Own a pressure washer? Repair Clinic has troubleshooting and repair help for pressure washers.
- Stock up on fuel stabilizer, air filters, spark plugs and other maintenance items to prepare outdoor power equipment for off-season storage.
Replace broken, damaged or worn parts. Inspect leaf blowers and other fall yard equipment. Get tune-up supplies ready.
- Schedule professional winterizing work for irrigation systems.
- Ready the water heaters.
Adjust water heater temperature settings to ensure it’s appropriate for home needs. In the winter months, colder city or well-provided water means longer recovery times for water heaters. Also, it’s important to follow the owner’s manual instructions for flushing out sediment buildup every few years to prevent future problems. Get water heater repair help here.
- Check sidewalks, walkways and driveways for cracks and repair as needed.
Water that seeps into the cracks will freeze and expand – making the cracks larger. Concrete cracks can be repaired with a concrete-resurfacing product available at most home improvement stores.
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