fall leaves

Your fall home maintenance checklist: 18 things to do every year

LIVE smarter | 7 MIN READ | 2021-10-01

As the warm summer days of bare feet and single layer clothing draw to a close, it’s hard not to feel a certain amount of glee about the burst of colour upon us and the chance to cozy up indoors again. In preparation for the cooler days ahead, there are a few things you can do to get your home prepped for sweater weather – from sealing windows to packing away your summer clothes. Take a look at these great tips.

Interior home maintenance

Fall interior decor

Since you’ll be spending a lot more time indoors over the next few months, it makes sense to start your fall readiness here as soon as the temperature starts to drop. Doing so now will save you money down the road in heating bills and repair costs. Check out this list of to-do’s:

1. Check for drafts. According to House Beautiful, heat loss through windows is responsible for 25-30% of heating energy use. A simple way to check if you have a draft issue? Close a door or window on a strip of paper. If the paper slides easily, you need to update your weatherstripping. Caulking and/or weather stripping around windows and doors will seal them and prevent cold air from coming in, and heavier, insulated curtains for the winter months may also help keep this at bay. 

2. Change your furnace filter. For homeowners, this is a good time to change your filter and stock up on extras so you can change them every few months to keep air fresh. You might also consider having an HVAC professional take a look at your furnace. They’ll test for leaks, check efficiency and even change the filter if you’re not sure how. 

3. Winterize air conditioning. If you have central air, you’ll want to cover the unit to protect it from fall debris and the upcoming snow. Window units should be removed completely or covered to prevent air leaks. 

4. Consider a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat will allow you to set your thermostat to lower the temperature automatically at night and when you’re not home – ultimately saving you money.

5. Change batteries and test detectors. This is also the time to replace batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices and test each one to make sure they’re working. With furnaces and fireplaces running around the clock, this is a must-do.

6. Clean humidifiersUsing a humidifier is a great way to add moisture back into your home during the cooler months, but be sure to give it some TLC every now and then to avoid any nasty build-up. Keep your humidifier bacteria-free by replacing old filters and cleaning the inside of the compartment with water and vinegar.

7. Rotate your wardrobe. This is a good time to go through your fall and winter clothes and donate pieces you no longer wear (or are no longer “your style”). You may also want to dry clean sweaters that have been in storage.

8. Clean out your pantry. Look for any expired items and stock up on essentials you’ll need to make your fall recipes. Think stews, soups and casseroles. Oh my! For more kitchen cleaning tips, check out this post.

9. Swap bedding. Light comforters can now be replaced with cozier duvets and flannel sheets. Knit blankets can also find a spot on your couch or at the end of beds. 

If you’re feeling crafty and love all things Autumn, this post by Zumper will totally be your jam. They have lots of DIY hacks to help you decorate for the season and turn your home into a pumpkin-spiced haven. 

Exterior home maintenance

Family fall walk

Whether you live in a house or an apartment, the outside of your home will need a little TLC, too. Here are a few things you can do to get ready for the inevitable white stuff:

1. Put away patio and deck furniture. It’s best if you can store seasonal furniture inside or in a shed, but if you’re limited for space, bring cushions inside and protect furniture with covers like these ones from Canadian Tire.  

2. Rake and remove leaves. Make a day of it and rake up all the leaves in your yard (after you’ve jumped in them a few times, of course!) and them into yard waste bags for pick up. Check with your local city or town for pick up schedules. 

3. Do a roof check. Life Hack recommends starting with a visual inspection of your roof from the ground. Grab some binoculars and look for missing, loose or damaged shingles. If you need to get a closer look, make sure to do so safely or hire a professional.

4. Trim landscaping. This is the time to cut back trees, bushes and flowers as recommended by your climate zone. You may also want to cover delicate shrubs with burlap to prevent winter burn. 

5. Plant spring bulbs. It may seem strange to plant bulbs just as the ground is about to go into a deep freeze, but this is the ideal time. The tulips and daffodils that rear their pretty heads in spring will be worth the extra effort. 

6. Fertilize your lawn. Applying a natural fall fertilizer will help prevent winter damage. Your local garden centre will be able to tell you which one to apply. For more information on when to apply fertilizer, check out this post by Backyard Boss

7. Put bikes and sports equipment away. If you have a shed or storage unit, make space for your outdoor activity equipment, like bikes, scooters and nets. Check out these garage bike storage ideas from HGTV.

8. Stock up on firewood. If you’re lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace (or any fireplace at all), you’ll want to get a season’s worth now and keep it covered so it stays dry. You may also want to have your chimney swept.

9. Remove exterior screens. Since windows won’t likely be opened during the winter, remove screens and wash them before storing to avoid tears from snow and ice.

Getting your home ready for chilly weather now will save money in the long run on expensive repairs and wasted energy costs. 

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Fall interior home checklist

Fall exterior home checklist

Now you’re all set for the cooler months ahead – and before you know it we’ll be hitting the slopes, grabbing our toboggans and making the most of the crisp, white snow!