Trish Bongard Godfrey

The Essential Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

30 September 2015
Trish Bongard Godfrey

Sweater weather is here and summer is ending (way too soon!). It’s time to get ready for the new season.

Fall is an ideal time to think about home maintenance. Of course, there are a number of annual chores needed to prepare your home for winter – but your fall maintenance spree is the perfect excuse to tackle a few non-seasonal projects, too, like servicing appliances and double-checking safety systems.

Here are a few suggestions to prepare your house so you stay warm, dry, clean and safe this fall.


- Have your heating system inspected and serviced, especially if you haven’t done so in a while.

- Clean any filters in your heating system to improve its efficiency and potentially reduce costs.

- Make sure your exterior vents close properly to prevent heat loss.

- For hot water heating systems, bleed the radiators and lubricate the circulating pump to increase efficiency.

- Test and turn on humidifiers for the winter.

- Vacuum electric baseboard heaters. Dust can prevent the heaters from operating properly – and it’s a fire risk.


- Clean the gutters.

- Test your sump pump to ensure it will work properly in a flood.

- Check that the exterior grade slopes away from your house, to drain water away from the foundation.

- Shut off outdoor hose bibs to protect your pipes from freezing damage.

- Check and repair the caulking around exterior doors and windows to prevent leaks.


- Clean and service your washer/dryer, and double-check that they’re draining/venting properly.

- Clean the filters in your central vacuum or any other air filtration systems in your home.

- Clean the range hood.


- Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries.

- Test the ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) in your house – they wear out over time and may need to be replaced.

- Replace any locks that are damaged or malfunctioning.

- Clean your chimney and fireplaces to reduce the risk of fire. Have gas-burning fireplaces serviced as needed.

- Test the automatic reverse mechanism on the garage doors.

- Ensure your fire extinguishers are functional and in place.

- Review your fire/emergency escape plan with the whole family.

- Stock up for possible power outages due to fall or winter storms.

- Attend to any unfinished safety upgrades you’ve planned for your home.

If it seems early to be thinking about winter, just remember: Preparing for the wear and tear of winter – and spring – is much easier now while the weather’s still dry and pleasant. But if you’re just not ready to face the prospect of summer ending…think of this as really early spring cleaning!