Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: What Ontarians Should Complete Before Winter

Creating a Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Whether you call it fall or autumn, this season has a lot of beautiful things happening in nature. The leaves change into a large variety of colours, you can see birds flying in lovely formations as they start their migration patterns, and squirrels and other small critters are collecting food for their winter hibernation. The temperature is cool, and you don't get exposed to much harsh weather. However, you can't just spend the whole season relaxing and watching nature take its course; there's work to be done.

We've already discussed the importance of maintaining your home in the winter, spring, and summer. However, just like how we want to cover your home insurance needs fully, we also want to ensure that we fully cover home maintenance for every season, so we've taken the time to create a fall home maintenance checklist for you.

The Importance of A Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

For all its beauty, fall can be a chaotic season. You've been back from your summer vacation just long enough to get back into work routines, you have to help your kids get ready for school, and you have to brace yourself; winter's coming. There's so much to do and so little time to do it. However, if you sort out all your tasks, you'll see that it's not actually that bad. Keeping a fall home maintenance checklist ensures that not only will you stop yourself from being overwhelmed, it will also allow you to keep track of what you've done and create a system that ensures you get everything completed in time for winter.

Maintaining Inside Your Home

It's an understandable mistake to think that all your fall home maintenance checklist tasks would happen outdoors. After all, the outdoors is where the seasons are. However, even though most of the things you have to do on your fall home maintenance checklist are outdoors, there are a few things you have to do in your home. Ensure that what goes on outdoors doesn't draw all of your attention because setting up everything inside is a huge part of what you need to do to keep your home well-maintained in the fall. 

Get Your Furnace Ready

One of the more forward-thinking things on your fall home maintenance checklist is ensuring that your furnace is ready for the winter months. The furnace is your best protection against cold weather, and if you don't remember to ensure that it's well maintained, you risk having it break, exposing you to winter weather. To keep yourself warm during the colder months, you'll have to ensure your furnace is well-maintained. While you can certainly do this yourself, doing so without a high degree of training is complicated and dangerous, as it could expose you to dangerous and deadly chemicals. Unless you know what you're doing when you check the furnace filter and clean it out, it's best to call in a professional to keep your machine in peak condition.

Change The Direction of Your Ceiling Fan

Something that can add to your fall home maintenance checklist to warm up your place (or at least help save your furnace some work) is to have your ceiling fan spinning in the right direction. When you think of a fan, you probably think of a device designed to cool your home down, not warm it up. Usually, you'd be right. However, in the case of ceiling fans, they can either cool things down or warm them up, depending on the direction they spin.

During the spring and summer, your ceiling fan should be spinning counterclockwise, creating a downdraft that will cool your home. However, in the fall and winter, having them spin clockwise will create a warming updraft, increasing your home's temperature slightly. It will also lower your energy costs. This is one of the quickest and easiest things on your fall home maintenance checklist, so there's no excuse for not doing this, assuming you have a ceiling fan. 

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors could save your life one day, so a vital part of your fall home maintenance checklist is ensuring that these little machines are still working well. This is especially true with carbon monoxide detectors, as smoke can be seen and smelled, while carbon monoxide can't. Given the fact that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors usually last up to about a decade, there's a solid chance that unless you have relatively fresh ones, your current machines could stand to be replaced. If either your carbon monoxide or smoke detector is approaching or past its expiration date, not making an or enough noise when tested, or is filled with debris that could potentially clog them up, it's best you replace them to make sure that you and your family know about a dangerous situation in time to save yourselves.

Check Your Wood Burning Stove Or Fireplace

Even though having working smoke alarms is necessary, it's an even better line of defence to prevent fire in the first place. Making sure that your fireplace or wood burning stove is safe to operate is an essential part of your fall home maintenance checklist. Since winter is the time you will use these the most, that makes fall the ideal time to run this maintenance. 

The first tip for safely maintaining anything that burns wood might seem laughably obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people outright miss it. Don't put highly flammable materials too close to the fireplace, except, of course, for the wood that you currently want to burn.

Another essential part of your fall home maintenance checklist is burning the correct type of wood. Hardwoods, such as oak, ash and maple, burn much better in fireplaces and wood stoves than softer woods, like pine, poplar and cedar. Also, it's recommended that your fireplace, wood burning stove, and chimney be cleaned at least once yearly. As you are about to use these in the fall, this is the perfect time. If you're uncomfortable doing this yourself, professional services will do it for you. 

Maintaining Outside Your Home

As was mentioned earlier in this article, the majority of work you will do on your fall home maintenance checklist is outdoors. This is partially because all of the leaves fall and cause more chaos than you would think. This is also partially because you must prepare for snow and ice since winter is coming.

Clean Out And Maintain Your Gutters

Although it's always a good idea to clean out your gutters, and it should be done semi-regularly, autumn is by far the best time of the year to do it. This is why it's a mandatory part of your fall home maintenance checklist. Don't be surprised if you have to do this multiple times throughout the year. This is because leaves can quickly build up when they fall off their trees, clogging your gutters. These clogs are something you should take care of before the next rainfall to prevent water damage to your home. This becomes especially true if you don't have clean gutters when winter hits, as melting snow can lead to more water damage.

Clean Up Your Lawn

This might seem like an obvious thing to include as part of a fall home maintenance checklist, but it's important to list it as people can often forget why it's so critical. Another problem caused by those beautiful leaves falling everywhere is that they end up all over your lawn. Although this will lead to your yard being the most colourful it's ever been (which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your opinion), it also causes some health problems for your lawn. This is because having too many leaves could stop sunlight from reaching the grass, stunting the growth of your grass and its roots. While having your grass grow slower might seem like a good thing due to you not needing to mow it as often, a weakened root system can leave your lawn more vulnerable to harsh winter conditions, meaning that you might be in for a nasty surprise when spring hits. Also, a yard with the leaves cleaned off is less susceptible to diseases and fungal infections. All you need to do is rake leaves, and you'll check this off your fall home maintenance checklist. Furthermore, you don't even have to rake every leaf; getting most of them will do the trick. Similarly, if you plan on cutting your lawn, a lawn mower will take care of any straggling leaves. These smaller, cut-up leaves can also provide specific nutrients to your lawn.

Store And/Or Winterize Valuable Belongings

Part of living in Canada is dealing with snowy winters, as that's just part of living in a place with a cold climate. If you don't prepare for winter as part of your fall home maintenance checklist, your equipment can take some real damage when winter weather hits. Sometimes, storing particular objects in a garage or shed is best. Other items can be winterized simply by throwing a tarp or protective cover over them. It would be best if you winterized or put away your barbecue, outdoor furniture, gardening tools that you usually leave out for convenience, your pool, your sprinkler system and garden hose, and your clothesline, among others.

Inspect And Clean Your Roof

Yes, another problem caused by falling leaves is what they can do to your roof. While the idea of having leaves on your roof doesn't seem that bad on the surface, there are many subtle ways that it can cause severe damage to your home. Having leaves on your roof makes a wet roof just hit by rainfall extremely susceptible to various fungi, such as moss, to build up. Leaves aren't the only culprit, as fallen twigs and sticks can cause the same effect.

While moss may not seem to do much other than create an unaesthetic appearance on your roof, it can do severe damage. A leaky roof can lead to expensive repairs. This can cause water to seep between your shingles, damaging them and damaging your ceiling inside. Once the damage has been done, it's tough to repair, so checking your roof for leaks and other signs of damage is an integral part of your fall home maintenance checklist.

Weather Strip Your Doors And Windows

There are many reasons why weather stripping should be included on your fall home maintenance checklist. The first is because it's one of the easiest things on the list. It mainly consists of you using weather strips to seal gaps in your door and window frames, which often takes less than an hour and can be done yourself. The second reason for weather striping is that doing so has many benefits.

Firstly, it protects you from the winter winds that will soon be blowing and will stop cold air from entering your home. It also prevents the constant noise caused by wind blowing through the small holes in your door frames and will keep your home warm since the wind will also be held outside, allowing you to avoid heat loss.

Not all benefits are saved until the winter, though. One immediate advantage you'll get from including this in your fall home maintenance checklist is that weather stripping prevents pests such as bugs and rodents from entering your home. Your fall and winter are significantly improved by simply subtracting things like mice, ants, flies, bed bugs and other annoying pests that make themselves at home, sneak around to eat your food, leave prints everywhere, and leave their droppings everywhere.

Ensure Your Equipment Is Working

If you've been through even one winter, you know how crucial certain equipment can be, giving you peace of mind that you're prepared for significant snowfalls. Devices such as a snow blowers are almost indispensable to winter. However, similar to a plunger, it's best to have one that works before you need one. Make sure you test it in the fall to ensure it works and you're not stuck shovelling snow over a meter high. 

Similar tests should also be done with emergency equipment like a generator, as the power is likely to go out in the winter, and being stuck without it even for a few hours can be a real nuisance, and having a temporary solution will certainly help. That's why including equipment tests is an important part of your fall home maintenance checklist.

Enjoy The Fall Weather

For all the work that fulfilling your fall home maintenance checklist can entail, you should remember to enjoy what the season brings. The scenery is beautiful in its own way, the temperature is just right, and it's often your last chance to play most outdoor sports and games before the colder weather. 

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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