6 Tips to Tackling Seasonal Home Maintenance This FallAugust 18, 2017
When the temperatures start to drop, resist the urge to hibernate
Maintaining your home is a never-ending task, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed trying to keep on top of everything. In fact, on average most will “spend between one to four percent of a home’s value annually on maintenance and repairs, which tend to increase as the house ages.” And that percentage can go up if said maintenance goes ignored.
So as the weather—very slowly and stubbornly—shifts from summer heat to mild temperatures, there are some home maintenance tasks that cannot be ignored. Check out our fall home maintenance tips on conquering home repair and upkeep year round!
Check your home for mold
Summer is hot and—in some areas—humid. This creates a prime environment for mold and mildew to grow. Before the fall sets in, homeowners should check for mold in their homes. Mold can grow anywhere heat and humidity flourish—in particular, dark spaces with poor ventilation and leaky pipes.
But pay special attention to your bathroom. Scrub your shower door, tile and tub with soap scum cleaner. Use a bleach-based solution to eliminate mold and mildew when you find it. And repair and reseal any cracked grout in your tub and shower.
Humidity plus constant sun exposure means bacteria is no doubt abound in certain areas in and outside of our homes after a long, hot summer. In particular, you will need to disinfect your sink and garbage disposal, as well as your garbage cans—indoor and out.
Your sink has had a rough summer baking in the heat from your kitchen window—the only downside of a bright kitchen. Pour garbage disposal cleaner down your drain to fight clogs and buildup, as well as disinfect your drain. Scrub your sink with bleach or calcium, lime and rust cleaner to eliminate food stains.
A little helpful caveat: check with a professional or local hardware store to make sure you are using the right product for the job.
Garbage cans are commonly-acknowledged to be breeding groups for bacteria and other unspeakable horrors. To combat the growth of such things, wipe your cans and the area around them inside your home with antibacterial wipes. Then spray them with disinfectant spray. For indoor cans, put a new garbage bag in immediately after spraying to capture the disinfectant in the cans; for outdoor, close the lid right away.
Clean gutters and downspouts
You never know when the next flash flood or downpour will happen, and no homeowner wants to be caught in that situation with clogged gutters. If rain cannot flow down, it pools on your roof, often causing leaks and costly damage to shingles. Cleaning the gutters is one of those year round tasks, but it is especially important before and directly after leaves begin to fall.
For added prevention, trim any trees that might be hanging low near your house.
Clean and close down your outdoor space
While most can get away with a prolonged outdoor living season, eventually we need to prepare our outdoor space for less temperate weather. Dust your outdoor furniture and surfaces, examining each for signs of damage.
In the case of rust, do not fret, but be ready for a little more elbow grease. Check with a professional at a hardware store or elsewhere prior to attempting this process, as metals and tools needed may vary:
- Start by collecting all the necessary tools and supplies: scraping tools (emory board, steel wool, drill with a wire brush), paint brush, metal paint and primer
- Set up a safe space outside, away from other furniture or important surfaces
- Remove the rust with your scraping tool of choice
- Coat the furniture in primer. Wait at least an hour to dry
- Apply the paint. Again, wait another hour
- Repaint as needed
When your outdoor space is clean and/or refurbished, preserve your work by covering furniture with a sturdy tarp or, in the case of an enclosed outdoor space, sheets. This will protect your work from dust and damage during the winter months.
Prepare your home for temperate weather
Whether or not you tend to use your heating system during the winter, it is wise to make sure it is operational. HVAC experts report almost 75 percent of heater calls during the winter are the result of poor maintenance. So change your heater’s filter and stock up on replacements. Clear vents in your home of dust, pet hair and dander build up.
Check the seals on your doors and windows for cracks. You might be tempted to turn the heat on this winter simply because your home is poorly insulated and allowing cold air to enter! Repair cracks in your insulation with caulking or weather stripping from a home maintenance store. Get more details on weatherproofing doors and windows on DIY Network.
When it comes to home maintenance, planning makes perfect
Want to keep this awesome momentum going throughout the year? With a little proactive planning you can simplify the process of home maintenance year round. Start by making a list of all the tasks you perform related to home maintenance and repair throughout the year. Make separate seasonal home maintenance lists to tackle before the weather changes.
Next, create a tracking system that keeps you about and your family honest by having actual items to check your list. Maybe displaying your list in a family area like the kitchen is enough to motivate you. Maybe you want to create a schedule of tasks to complete each week or month. Or maybe you work best when your smartphone, watch, computer or tablet sends you a reminder of chores to complete. Whatever it is, make sure you have a solid accountability system.
Finally, home repairs and maintenance can cost money. Set aside a fund for home improvement and contribute to it regularly. You can find an investment account to earn interest or simply earmark a certain amount of savings for this purpose. Whatever you decide, do not play fast and loose with these funds! Home repair needs come up quickly and with little warning.
Share this blog with everyone who knows fall is coming. Eventually.