Ultimate Home Maintenance Checklist for Fall


Before you carve a pumpkin for your doorstep or drink that first pumpkin latte, get your home ready for fall. Home maintenance in autumn is really about preparing for winter—you don’t want surprises like a leaking roof or failed furnace. Use this checklist:

Outdoors: Clean Up and Winterize

  • Rake leaves, especially after the trees have dropped the last ones. Leaves left on the ground all winter get compacted and stay damp, creating mold that lingers for months.
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  • Clean and repair gutters. Blocked gutters can leak water into the house. Water frozen in clogged gutters creates “ice dams” that can damage the gutters and house.
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  • Trim overhanging tree branches. You don’t want them to hit the house if they break under the weight of ice or snow.
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  • Drain and winterize outdoor spigots. You can buy foam covers to cap them and protect them from freezing.
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  • Check the roof for damage. You don’t want to be surprised by leaks from above.
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  • Prepare the lawn mower for winter storage. Drain fuel from a gas mower to avoid corrosion resulting from gas reacting with condensation. For an electric mower, remove the battery and keep it in the house. Cold temperatures shorten batteries’ life spans.
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  • Store or cover outdoor furniture.
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  • Check your foundation. Are there slopes in the yard that could end up funneling water toward the foundation? Level them before bad weather arrives.
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  • If you’ve been eyeing an exterior paint job, don’t wait. At temperatures below 55 degrees, many paints won’t cure properly. If you must paint and it’s below 55, shop for “low temperature” paints formulated especially for cold-weather painting.
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    Indoors: Inspect from Attic to Basement

  • Get your heating system inspected. Change filters as needed. If you haven’t had the ducts cleaned in years (or ever), consider it now.
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  • Schedule a professional chimney inspection and cleaning.
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  • Replace window screens with storm windows. Storm windows keep you warmer and save money too. If you don’t have storm windows, try a window insulation kit, available at do-it-yourself stores.
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  • Check the attic for holes. You’d be surprised how easily rodents and birds can slip into your attic to nest, using even the smallest opening.
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  • Swap summer curtains for insulated drapes to conserve energy.
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  • Change the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors. Don’t have these essential alarms? Get them now!

  • Looking for more tips? Check out our last blog on 9 Cleaning Hacks from Your Pantry.