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Everyone talks about “spring cleaning” as if it’s a big event because we’re always giddy to exchange dark winter nights with sunny summer days. Spring cleaning just seems to help us hurry it along.
By the time fall approaches, though, we’re so distracted by the busyness of school and panicked about making holiday plans that we can forget about all the important seasonal home maintenance that needs to be done! Fall may not be as charming as spring, but it can be an important season for getting prepared. Before we can enjoy the exciting holidays coming up, let’s get down to business and make sure our homes are going to keep us safe and cozy all winter long.
Windows & Exterior Doors
Dust or wash your windows, sills, tracks, and exterior doors. If weather stripping is crumbling, coming loose, or missing, it’s very easy and inexpensive to replace so you can keep outside dirt and air from coming in and your heating bill from burning up your budget. Besides, no one likes to feel a breeze in the living room!
Also, if your home has basement windows, this is a great time to clean your window wells of dirt and debris. You may have to revisit this project throughout the fall so you can be sure leaves aren’t collected in the well. (Leaves make excellent traps for rain and melting snow that you don’t want pooling outside the window.)
Fireplaces & Chimneys
It is extremely important for the safety of your home and family that you have your wood or coal fireplace and chimney professionally inspected and or swept once or twice a year. Early fall, before it’s cold enough for the first fire, is the perfect time to do your due diligence on scheduling an inspection or asking your property manager if your home needs one.
Heating Appliances
If your home is heated by a furnace, your entire HVAC system should be professionally inspected and maintained twice a year, or before outside temps become extreme. Your air filter should be replaced during this appointment as well. Ask about seasonal savings offers when you schedule your inspection or check with your property manager about when to expect any pre-scheduled appointments.
If your home is heated by a hot water radiator, you will need to “bleed” them of trapped air. If you don’t know how to go about this, it’s not complicated, but it’s good to get a lesson from your landlord or The Family Handyman.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
We take for granted that our safety alarms are ready to act should the need arise, especially when our property manager is responsible for their care. But, if you’re not sure when was the last time someone came by to inspect them or replace the batteries, make a call and ask. You can also run battery tests yourself. If you press and hold the “test” button and hear no alarm, or hear a weak alarm, it’s time to replace the batteries or the unit.
You don’t have to be a professional handyperson to manage a lot of these seasonal home maintenance tasks. Just make sure you and your landlord on the same page before you take on any of the work yourself. And, even if your home is maintained right on schedule, you never know when you might need to have your own tool kit on hand… just in case.