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A "Must Do" Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Autumn Leaves in Gutter on RoofThe best way to maintain the value of your home, and avoid costly repairs, is to take care of your home with regular maintenance. Your home maintenance schedule will include a variety of tasks throughout the year: yard work, cleaning, painting, and scheduling repairs for small problems before they become bigger problems (and more costly to correct). Here is a “must do” fall home maintenance checklist to help get you ready for the season and protect the value of your home. 

HVAC: Your heating and air conditioning systems will work best, and most cost-efficiently, with regular tune-ups. A tune up for the heating season, starting in the fall, and for the cooling season, starting in the spring, should be scheduled with your service provider. 

Homeowners should know how to change the filters on their system, as most require a new filter every 90 days. Refer to your HVAC manual, or speak with your service representative, to determine the filter replacement time frame for your system (some filters might need to be changed every 30 days, such as in homes that are subject to extreme saltwater conditions). 

Chimney Sweeping: When you use your chimney creosote accumulates on the inner walls of the chimney. Over time, this can lead to house fires. You should schedule a chimney inspection once a year. The inspection should include the chimney crown (which protects your fireplace from rain, debris, and critters). The inspector will determine if it needs to be swept. Chimney cleaning price range from $129-$377. 

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Test your detectors and replace batteries as needed (including the backup batteries on the hard-wired systems required in newly built New Hampshire homes). Batteries should be replaced at least once a year. Most detectors will emit a chirping noise when batteries are getting low. Some detectors will require resetting to clear the chirping noise after installing new batteries. If your units continue chirping, refer to your manual. Smoke detectors are generally designed to last 10 years and may also chirp when it is time to replace the unit. 

Fire Extinguishers: Check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers and replace them as necessary. The NFPA has a comprehensive list of safety tips, fire extinguisher locations, and placement listed on its site. The NFPA recognizes portable fire extinguishers as one important element in a fire response plan. They can be helpful to contain a small fire before the fire department arrives, but “the primary element is safe escape”. Households should have properly placed fire extinguishers, working smoke alarms, and a fire escape plan. 

The Four Ps: Winter is fast approaching. In New England, we remember the four p’s in cold weather: People, Pets, Plants, and Pipes. It is good practice to start protecting your pipes in the fall before the extremely cold weather of winter arrives. Turn off exterior faucets. Drain your garden hoses and store them properly. 

Dryer Vents: Clean your dryer vents on a regular basis throughout the year. The cool dry weather of fall can ignite dryer lint. It’s time to clean those dryer vents in the fall!

Weatherstripping: Now is the time to check your weatherstripping and replace it as necessary. Functioning weatherstripping around your windows and doors will keep the cold at bay and save you money on energy bills. It can cost as little as $5-$10 per window and $6-$10 per door when you perform the installation. The national average cost to hire a contractor to install weather stripping around all doors and windows of a 2,000 sq. ft. home is $350. Weatherstripping your garage door is also a good idea. The cost is around $60-$85 when you do the work yourself. It will keep your garage sealed off from the elements and ward off unwelcome critters looking for a winter home. 

Gutters & Roof: Clean your gutters, or hire somebody to clean them, after the leaves have fallen from the trees. Clogged gutters and downspouts can result in damage to roofs and home siding during rainstorms. 

While cleaning your gutters, inspect your roof and make note of any problems. The three obvious signs your roof needs repaired are missing shingles, moss-covered patches or mold on the roof, or interior leaks. It is best to schedule a yearly roof inspection from a professional. 

Yard Work (raking leaves): It’s time to get up close and personal with leaf peeping season, in the comfort of your yard. It’s time to rake! Leaves left on the ground can block light and moisture from your grass leading to its demise. Remember to warm up before raking, wear gloves, and follow the local ordinances regarding yard-waste requirements. Take regular breaks (with water and snacks) to keep yourself in tip-top condition as you work to keep your lawn in tip-top condition. 

Yard Work (trimming, pruning & mowing): Inspect your trees and shrubs. Trim and prune as necessary. Dead branches can be dangerous in a storm, as they are easily snapped off by the wind and can harm people or damage items in their path. 

Mow your lawn after you have raked the leaves. Continue mowing until the first hard frost. This will protect your lawn from snow mold. The ideal grass height for winter is 2-2.5 inches for New Hampshire lawns, as outlined by Alliance Landscaping. The height will protect from snow mold but is short enough to withstand cold weather. Fall is also a good time to overseed your lawn, fill in bare spots, and keep weeds at bay. 

Pelletier Realty Group works to make all of your New Hampshire real estate transactions pleasant, professional and hospitable. We invite you to explore homes for sale in the Southern New Hampshire communities we represent. We look forward to helping you find the perfect home. Contact us today!

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