Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

For California Homeowners

Autumn is just around the bend, so it’s time for your house to get in ship-shape for the cool months ahead. While the fall season can be busy, with homeowners taking stock and preparing for inclement weather, it is also the very best time to make use of the temperate California weather. Start by repairing any damage you can. Check these 18 items off your list for the fall season—and relax knowing that you are taking action to protect one of your biggest investments.

A close up of a rain gutter filled with fall leaves


Make a full examination of your property, seeking clues that indicate there is damage to the roof, siding, or foundation. Note and schedule any repairs that need fixing (example: foundation cracks or doors and windows that are not adequately caulked or sealed).

1. Roofs

Make a thorough inspection of your roof, looking for missing or loose shingles, standing water or deteriorated sealants. These could be signs that your roof is damaged or is becoming vulnerable. Before it starts raining, be sure a properly licensed, certified professional checks the state of your roof. Preventing roof leaks can save you from costly damage (to insulation, wood, and drywall and even your electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems).

2. Siding

Inspect the exterior walls of your house to look for any peeling or blistering paint, which is a sign that the existing paint film is failing. Left uncorrected, it can lead to costly repairs.

3. Gutters & Downspouts

After leaves have fallen, clean out your downspouts and gutters. If you are not comfortable working solo on a ladder, be sure to hire a professional. When gutters clog during a rainstorm, water can pool and damage your roof or siding.

4. Pools

Closely assess your pool cover and replace it if you discover any damage.

5. Driveways & Walkways

For winter safety, inspect your driveway, walkways, railings, and stairs to look for cracks. Navigation around your home can be safer if you check that stairs are in good condition, railings are sturdy, and the driveway is ready for rain and the cooler months ahead. And, in the off chance we get snow, your shovel and back will thank you later.

6. Garages

Weather-strip your garage door. Be sure the seal between the garage door and ground is tight, preventing drafts and keeping out small animals.

Also, clean and store your summer garden tools in an organized garage. It is best to complete this in autumn so as to avoid the summer heat, winter chill, and spring rain.


7. Yard Equipment

Your yard equipment should be prepared for storage, which includes draining fuel from lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, and all other gas-operated equipment.

8. Garden Hoses

Garden hoses should be drained and stored inside. Outdoor water valves should be shut off in preparation for the cold weather. If exterior pipes and faucets are left with any water inside, they can break when water freezes and expands.

9. Lawns

Autumn is also a good time to reseed patchy areas in your lawn. To ensure healthy grass in the spring, fertilize your lawn with a mix that is high in phosphorous.

10. Trees

Monitor your trees for signs of disease or decay throughout the fall.

11. Leaves

Plant spring-flowering bulbs in autumn and clear the leaves from your lawn to encourage spring growth.

12. Porches & Decks

Similar to stairs and hand railings in the front of the home, porch and deck supports should also be checked for safety.

While cleaning porch and deck furniture, check for any repairs that might be needed. Outdoor furniture and barbecues should be protected and stored.

Soil left in clay pots and planters will freeze and cause cracks if left outside, so be sure all dirt is emptied and the containers properly stored.


13. Windows & Doors

By moving your hand around your window and door frames, you can easily detect air leaks. Once located, you can apply caulk and weather stripping to these spots to cut down drafts. Moreover, it’ll cut down on unwanted energy costs.

Don’t neglect the basement: check windows for loose frames, cracked panes, and other sources of drafts.

14. Heating Systems

Has your heating system been checked and serviced lately by a licensed, certified heating contractor? Properly maintained heating systems will improve fuel efficiency, last longer, and have fewer problems.

15. Fireplaces

Keep your fireplace in good, working condition. Make an examination of your fireplace insert’s door gasket to confirm a nice, tight seal. If there is a glass door, you should also clean and inspect it for cracks. Always have your chimney cleaned by a professional, licensed chimney sweep. When wood tar, organic vapors, and moisture buildup combine to form creosote, it can clog and ignite, putting you at risk of a chimney fire.

16. Ceiling Fans

You should seasonally change the angle of your ceiling fan’s blades or the direction of its spin, depending on the design. In summer, it should create a downward draft for a wind chill effect; in winter, warm air near the ceiling should be redistributed with an upward draft.

17. Smoke & Carbon Dioxide Detectors

Your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors’ batteries should be tested and changed. To ensure you and your household are always protected, you should make a habit of keeping extra batteries on hand.

18. Air Conditioners & Humidifiers

Practice preventative care for the internal parts of air conditioners by vacuuming them. Window units should be removed and outside box units should be wrapped in a plastic air conditioner cover or approved tarp to prevent vital parts from rusting.

Humidifiers need to be regularly cleaned during the heating season, both for your health and that of the device. In a dirty water tank, spores and bacteria can develop and result in a mist of unclean moisture that could fill your home and your lungs.

Being a homeowner is a wonderful opportunity in a person’s life. With it comes a lot of responsibility. Avoid costly damage and serious issues down the road by following these important home maintenance tips.

If during your inspection you become inspired to take the first step toward a home remodel, we would love to help you begin the process of budgeting, designing, and building your ideal living space. Contact Acton ADU today for a complimentary design consultation.

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