Fall has arrived in Mercer County, N.J. There is a mild chill in the air and the rich colors of fall dot the landscape. We can't think of a better time to get outside and prepare your property for the colder weather ahead.
While fall home maintenance may feel like an endless chore, it’s well worth the time and financial investment to complete a checklist every season. In addition to slowing depreciation and keeping the physical structure and operation of the property in good shape, studies show that regular maintenance actually increases the value of a home by about 1% each year.
For tenants, this is also an ideal time to review the terms of your lease and check in with your landlord to see what maintenance tasks are covered in the agreement versus what you may be responsible for.
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist:
Assess your HVAC system
Make sure your heating and ventilation system is in working order and fix whatever issues might be present as soon as possible, including getting the system serviced if needed. This is crucial not only for keeping temperatures comfortable inside during the fall and winter, but also for avoiding more expensive repairs later on. Tasks can include cleaning and/or replacing air filters, removing buildup on fans, cleaning dehumidifiers and humidifiers, and testing your furnace, if you have one.
Sweep the chimney and/or fireplace
If your property has a working chimney or a wood-burning fireplace, now is the time to clean it so you can avoid a fire hazard and enjoy its warmth in the months to come. Be sure to rid your fireplace of any soot, ashes or old logs. Whether you decide to clean the chimney from the roof of the house on your own or pay a professional chimney sweep to do a thorough clean and inspection is up to you. And on a related note, don’t forget to test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors!
Seal windows and doors
Check the edges of all windows and doors for gaps and cracks; even if it seems like a minor issue, air leaking through can make the house feel drafty and drive up heating costs. Cracks can easily be sealed up with caulk or weatherstripping inserts. If your windows are older, single-pane, or lacking in quality, consider looking into more energy-efficient models for an upgrade to keep the property warmer over time.
Clean out gutters
The last thing you want is a gutter system filled with leaves and other debris that may block rain and snow from draining properly in the winter. As long as you’re comfortable using a ladder, this is an easy DIY task. You can make it a regular task or wait to do it until the end of fall, but don’t skip a thorough scoop of all gutters on your property, hosing them off when done to ensure they are cleared out.
Organize outdoor areas
Raking leaves is the quintessential fall chore, plus it’s beneficial for the health of your lawn over the winter and when the growing season begins. This is also a good time to clean up landscaping on your property, from trimming shrubs and trees to removing roots or parts of plants that might impact siding. Don’t forget to detach and store your hose. Once it gets a bit too cold to entertain guests outdoors, put away patio furniture and securely cover any essential furniture that cannot be moved.
Your future self will thank you for completing these home maintenance tasks now! For added peace of mind, round out your fall to-do list with a property evaluation. Contact Barsky to learn more about our top-of-the-line property evaluation services, which include recommendations for repairs and improvements to increase return on investment, and other offerings for property owners.