Autumn has officially arrived, and it’s time to prepare our homes for cooler temperatures!
Use this October Home Maintenance & Safety Checklist to get your home ready for Fall and Winter. We also have a printable checklist for you to download and use to keep a record of what was done when!
We have included both maintenance and safety tasks to help you prepare your home for cold weather!
Change Your Air Filter
Replace your furnace air filter. October is a great time to clean the filters for your furnace or a/c unit, or any other duct work throughout your home. Many HVAC companies offer this service for a small fee.
Changing the filters is easy, and most manufacturers recommend changing it every 1-3 months (more often if you have pets). We recommend ordering in a box and writing the months on them, so you can keep track of when they need changing, and if someone in your household has already done so.
Clear Your Rain Gutters and Down Spouts
With leaves falling off of trees and the wind blowing more often, your gutters can get filled up with a lot of debris. Keeping your gutters cleaned out helps protect your home from having water damage from blockages. Gutter blockages can cause damage to your landscaping, and to your home itself!.
Since this requires climbing on a ladder – especially if your home has multiple stories – consider calling a professional if you are not comfortable climbing up that high.
Have A Safety Kit and Check Fire Extinguishers
Did you know that October is Fire Safety Month? Now is the perfect time to sit down with your family to put together a fire safety & evacuation plan!
Consider adding a fire safety kit to your home – with a ladder if you have high windows. There are a variety of kits available. Research them to see which ones fit your needs best. Fire blankets are also becoming more affordable and accessible.
Take some time this month to check that any fire extinguishers in your home work. If you don’t have one, now is the time to get one. Here is a great article from FEMA on Choosing & Using Fire Extinguishers. Google some videos on how to use and maintain fire extinguishers, of contact the Grand Junction Fire Department (or your local fire dept.) to ask about any community events or training they may be offering.
Clean Out Dryer Lint
Dryer fires happen often. The best habit is to clean out the lint catcher after every single load. It is also recommended that you clean out the dryer itself, as well as the dryer vent at least once per year, as some lint will get past the mesh and collect inside both your dryer and venting system.
Failure to remove dryer lint from the dryer is the leading cause of dryer fires, so it’s a good idea to stay on top of it. Here is a great article explaining the hows & whys of cleaning out your dryer lint.
Clean Your Fireplace
It hasn’t been used for a few months, and birds love to build nests in their semi-protected areas. Now is a great time to make sure that both the fire box & chimney are clean and clear of any debris, so when the really cold weather hits, you can start a fire to warm your home!
This is a bit larger of a job, so you may consider hiring a professional chimney sweep to take care of it.
Winterize Your Sprinkler System and Put Away All Hoses
Here in the Grand Valley, most neighborhoods wait for the canal system to drain out, which usually happens around the end of the month. Check with your HOA to see when they are planing to shut the system down.
Once the main pumps have been shut down for the season, make sure your sprinkler system gets completely blown out to prevent the underground lines from freezing and cracking. This may be another job for a professional.
Now is also a good time to make sure that you disconnect all hoses from your house and put them away. If you have ever had a hose bib freeze, you know that having pipes split inside your walls can be a very big and messy job! (trust me – I’ve been there!)
Seal Outdoor Surfaces
Take some time to check around your home’s exterior to make sure that any small cracks and gaps have been sealed or filled. They can cause problems from water getting in, and can have a big impact on your heating bills!
Check the caulking around windows and doors, make sure your foundation is sealed, and check to see if it’s time to reseal any wood decking or railing. Your gutters are part of this too! Make sure all downspouts are connected properly and are routing water away from your foundation.
Here is a great article on sealing and waterproofing your home.
Clean and Protect Outdoor Furniture
While we may have a mild fall for a few weeks yet, it is time to start thinking of your outdoor furniture. Once you are finished with it, wash it up and either put it away, cover it, or otherwise protect it from the elements.
Here is a great article that goes over the steps to properly prepare your outdoor furnishings for Winter.
Prepare Your Lawn For Winter
Many people think that cooler weather means they are done taking care of their lawn, but now is the time to take special care so that come Spring, you will have a lush, healthy lawn!
Continue to mow your grass as needed. Cut it a little bit shorter so that the warmth of the limited sunlight can reach the crown. Aerating the soil will also help oxygen, water and fertilizer to get down to the roots where it is needed. Fertilizing now is better for your lawn as well. Since the grass is growing more slowly, the nutrients have more time to really get into the root system.
Filling in any bare spots is useful now too. The baby grass can take root now, and in the Spring they will come back thick & lush! On the other hand, those weeds? They are also growing more slowly, so applying an herbicide now will get deep into their roots, meaning they won’t be coming back in the Spring.
If you have a mower with a mulching blade, now is the time to use it! All of those falling leaves are filled with nutrients that are fantastic for your lawn – they just need to be broken up so that they don’t mold or suffocate your grass. The City of Grand Junction will be collecting raked & piled leaves over the next few weeks, so if you would rather rake them off, find out when they will be collecting leaves & pile them at the road.
Feel free to add to this home maintenance checklist as needed – your home is unique, and has it’s own set of needs. We have added some blank spaces on the checklist for you to add other maintenance & safety tasks that we have not included here.
This checklist is great to print off, complete, and store in a file or binder for your home. When you are ready to sell your home, you can provide documentation showing the future buyer how well you kept your home maintenance up to date!