It’s Fall, ya’ll, and you know what that means. It’s time to take your home from summertime-hangout to pumpkin-spice wonderland. To do that properly, we have some home maintenance tips focusing on the inside of your home with difficulty levels ranging from 1 (extremely easy) to 10, which means you may have to make a hefty time, financial and labor-intensive investment (or code for: hire a professional). Whether you are a new homeowner, or you have lived in your current home for some time, this list will surely come in handy. Ready? Let’s go!
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans - Difficulty Level - 1
Few ceiling fans don’t have a reverse, so double check before. Make sure the blades are at a complete stop before attempting to switch your fan into reverse. You can locate the switch or pull the string on the body of the fan motor. Done. This quick change will produce an updraft and push down the warm air from the ceiling (because hot air rises). If you have high ceilings, this can be especially helpful in rooms and might even allow you to turn your thermostat down for more significant energy savings.
Door Lock Maintenance - Difficulty Level - 1
If you live in an area used to freezing temperatures and/or just want to prevent locks from sticking, take a quick minute to spray exterior door locks with powdered-graphite lubricant (we find that it is less smelly than other lubricants). This will help keep them from sticking and freezing, especially in extreme cold. Extra credit for giving your car door locks a quick spray too.
Rethink Your Entryway - Difficulty Level - 5
There’s a wonderful feeling when you come in from the chilly weather into your warm and inviting home. But with the cool temps comes weather. That means heavier coats, more possibility for muddy floors and risk of slips and falls. Take a quick minute to rearrange and make your entryway more Autumn-worthy by making sure there is a place for a heavy rug and boot scraper outside and slip-proof mats inside to wipe shoes, a place to sit and take off any winter footwear and a place to store them. Then make sure your coat rack is up to the challenge of extra-heavy coats and hats being hung on it and that your wet umbrellas have a proper place they won’t drip onto the floor. Lastly, protect entryway flooring by laying down a rug that can take a bit of seasonal abuse.
Clean Up Dryer Vents - Difficulty Level - 2
It’s a scary statistic, but clogged dryer vents are among the most common causes of home fires. Our clothes dryers are some of the hardest working machines in the house, so it’s only fair to give them a little TLC. With a dryer vent brush (usually available at your local hardware store), sweep both sides of the dryer screen surface and inside the tube. This will clear up any lint build-up and often will help drastically reduce your energy bill and improve your unit’s lifetime value.
Deep Clean Carpets - Difficulty Level - 5
Carpets insulate and keep rooms warm and cozy, but the signs of mold can creep into your home completely unnoticed, and as the more damp Fall and winter months, it can be normal to experience increases. Use (or rent) a carpet extraction cleaner to do a thorough deep cleaning of your floors to help remove any dirt and debris as well as suck up any excess moisture before the really wet season starts.
Change out HVAC Filter - Difficulty Level - 2
A dirty HVAC filter is an easy fix to reduce wear and on your unit and prevent it from overworking and driving the bill up. The filter will turn a light brown color and, if not changed regularly, can also lead to health concerns. An easy fix is to swap these filters out with new ones every season change to proactively maintain your heating and cooling system. This ensures the air in your home is clean, especially when it’s more comfortable to have all the windows and doors closed.
Check Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Detectors - Difficulty Level - 2
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have a fire extinguisher and that it is in a place that everyone is aware of. Next, you will want to test your smoke alarm or possibly upgrade it. We are a fan of smart smoke detectors. These little devices have a long life, can send alerts to you wherever you happen to be. Some will even alert the nearest fire department if it senses an emergency. Finding the best one for your needs is just a quick google away.
Clean and Ready the Fireplace - Difficulty Level - 2 to a 10
After sitting dormant through the spring and summer months, checking the fireplace before lighting your first fire can prevent potential hazards like smoke from entering your home. You can definitely handle cleaning the fireplace yourself with a dust broom, dustpan, and a bucket, but if you think your chimney needs servicing, it takes this project difficulty from a 2 to a 10 quickly. You can do it yourself, but a professional not only has an expert eye but also the heavy-duty prep, cleaning and safety equipment needed to do the job properly.
Seal Any Drafts, and Don’t Forget to Clean the Weep Holes - Difficulty Level - 3
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Weep holes are a row of tiny holes at the bottom of your window frame on the outside. Their purpose is to provide drainage for water that may leak inside the window’s channel. Use an unbent paper clip to clear debris out of the weep holes whenever you are doing seasonal maintenance, spring and Fall. Have you been noticing breezes where there shouldn’t be any? You may need additional weatherstripping or caulking to keep out the cold winter air. Doing these projects yourself is simple and relatively mess-free.
Dust Your Refrigerator Condenser Coils - Difficulty Level - 2
Most of the difficulty of this seasonal chore is the moving of the refrigerator. After that, it’s an easy little dusting job. Dirty condenser coils can shorten the life of one of your most expensive appliances, but with an easy fix that only takes you pulling your refrigerator away from the wall and wiping the coils down them with a dry dust cloth and giving the whole area a quick sweep, you will be done in a flash.
Checking Your Sump Pump - Difficulty Level - 1
This tip is meant explicitly for our basement owners. Talk about out of sight, out of mind, but this is definitely a device you don’t want to fail in the fall or winter months. Luckily, even though it is not a chore more people talk about, it’s an easy one. First, make sure your outlet to your sump pump provides power to the pump, then you will just need to double-check that the pump itself is working correctly. You can do this by locating your pump’s float, gently pull it up for a max of 3 seconds, just to where you can hear the pump kick on by beginning to hum. That’s it.
Flush Hot Water Heater - Difficulty Level - 9
Hot water is a luxury none of us want to go without, especially during the cooler months. That’s why taking care of this hard-working appliance is essential and easy once you have done it a few times (but can also be delegated to a professional because it is a detailed process). Take your time to research how to handle this on your unit because each has its own best practices, or as mentioned before, an expert is always a quick call away to help with routine maintenance.
Pipe Prep - Difficulty Level - 4
Pipes located in areas without proper insulation, like basements or attics, could probably use some extra insulation to keep from freezing. It’s better to do this chore way before the freezing comes; weather like that tends to keep a homeowner busy enough. Fitting with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves can help decrease the chances of your pipes freezing. Extra insulation can be an easy solution for exposed pipes. Adding insulation to walls and ceilings can also work to keep the pipes warm. Insulation keeps a pipe close to the water temperature inside the pipe. Quick note, insulation won’t stop the pipe from freezing in freezing temperatures for a prolonged time.
Make a Kit or Check Your Old One - Difficulty Level - 6
After 2020, it is vital for everyone across the country to include emergency readiness kits in their seasonal maintenance checklists. We have a downloadable Emergency Weather Prep Kit Checklist your can download HERE. Take the time to assemble a new one or double-check the one you have stored away to ensure it has everything you and your ever-changing household would need.
Bonus points-stock up on the following:
- Cozy bedding
- Extra throw blankets for shared spaces
- Warm socks for the whole family
Each of the projects we’ve mentioned are quite cost-effective and won’t take up too much of your valuable weekend or upcoming holiday time. Even if a project takes longer than expected, at least you’ll be protecting your home from future losses. You can also implement a budgeting system to save even more money for your future projects or for more presents this coming holiday season!
Hippo doesn’t just provide insurance policies, we work to help you care for your home so you can enjoy every moment as a homeowner. Not yet a member of the Hippo family? Get a quote in 60 seconds.