Plan Your Home’s Fall Maintenance

Homeowners + Sellers

Maintenance in the fall is essential since it’s sandwiched between the hot days of summer and winter’s harsh freezing weather.  It can be a productive time for you to complete certain tasks that are better suited for its cooler days.

Plus, these projects in the early and late fall can prepare your home and yard for the harsh days of winter ahead.  Many homeowners are hit with expensive damage that could have been prevented in the first place. Don’t let that happen to you!

Now is a good time to look at your calendar and schedule some must-do projects over the next month or two.  Some things to keep in mind:

  • Even if you live in a condo unit, there are still some yearly tasks that you should check off your list, such as HVAC maintenance. Your condo association should handle common areas, but each association can vary on unit owners’ responsibilities. Double check on this and keep the tips below in mind.
  • Some projects can be DIY jobs, but others may require a professional. For some tasks, it’s better to sign up for a yearly service contract (i.e., HVAC, chimney, pest control).  If you’d like, I can provide you with a list of reputable contractors!

Your Home’s Fall Maintenance Checklist

Get Organized Today

Don’t feel overwhelmed with our list of fall tasks below. It is longer than other seasons and many might not pertain to your particular home. But if you stay organized, it won’t be too hard to handle.

Before the paperless movement, I used to keep a binder of maintenance records and systems manuals, then write in my planner when things needed to be scheduled. Eventually, I converted to a digital format – keeping everything in folders on my computer and backed up to the cloud. (You don’t even need a scanner anymore – I use an app called TinyScanner on my phone and it uses your camera to create a .pdf of any document.)  

Today, I recommend simplifying it even more and downloading a home maintenance app for your phone or other device so you can schedule and record your repairs and upkeep. That way, you’ll know exactly what you have to do each month and how to budget for it. On certain apps you can even set up alerts to remind you – or just create these in your reminders on your phone.

Having a system in place means you’ll be able to store information on repair dates and costs, contact info for contractors, any receipts from purchases, warranties, model numbers and manufacturer materials. 

Fall Maintenance Checklist

You can customize the list below for your own home and put it in your app/reminder list for fall maintenance. You can also download the PDF below.

Doors, Windows & Attic

Fall is a good time to do these tasks so that you can save on winter heating bills:

  • Add or replace weather-stripping around doors and windows to keep out drafts.
  • Caulk around windows where cold airs gets in.
  • Get a good storm door for your entrance.
  • Consider getting plastic shields to protect basement window wells.
  • Insulate your attic and look at the benefits of cellulose insulation over fiberglass.
  • Give your windows one more thorough cleaning (it’s still warm enough to do this and have nice clean windows before winter hits).


Important safety musts before building fires when the cooler air hits:

  • Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney.
  • Check to make sure the damper works properly. Close the damper when not in use, but don’t forget to open it before lighting a fire.
  • Examine for loose bricks and mortar and get it repointed. The earlier you catch this, the better. You want to avoid water damage and rebuilding a new chimney.
  • Make sure your chimney is lined, even if you don’t have a fireplace. Many gas hot water heaters and heating systems are vented through a chimney.
  • Cap or screen the top to keep out rodents and birds seeking refuge.
  • Buy firewood but store it away from the exterior of your home (it can attract rodents!).
  • Consider installing a gas fireplace if you have a gas line nearby. Today’s natural-looking logs and ease of use make them ideal for many homeowners.

Furnace, Ducts, AC Unit & Etc.

Get your heating system and other units in top shape now before you start cranking up the heat. Condo owners may be responsible for their own units:

  • Hire a HVAC professional to inspect and clean your furnace. Also check your whole-house central humidifier unit to make sure you’ll have the right amount of moisture in the air (can help prevent winter colds).
  • Stock up on furnace filters and change or clean them monthly depending on which type you use. Dirty filters make it more difficult for your HVAC system to work efficiently and will also limit the amount of dust, lint, airborne molds that go through your system.
  • Drain air conditioning pipes and turn off its shut-off valve if you have one. Your HVAC professional may do this for you.
  • Hire a professional to inspect air ducts for leaks in their joints; and have them cleaned if necessary.
  • Ducts in cold spaces such as attics, basements, or crawl spaces should be insulated.
  • Remove and store window AC units if you have them.
  • Clean dryer vent by vacuuming the tube that leads to the vent and then vacuum from the outside dryer vent. This should be done every six months so include on both your fall and spring maintenance schedules.
  • Clean and disinfect your portable humidifier if you have one in order to prevent mold and bacteria growth in the standing water.


Keep your home toasty warm:

  • Buy a programmable thermostat (so many less expensive ones to choose from now!) that allows you to set temperatures lower when you’re not at home or sleeping. You’ll save money!
  • To prevent pipes from bursting, never set your thermostat below 55 degrees.

Home Exterior

Prevent small issues from becoming huge issues:

  • Gutters:
  1. Clean out gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris. Depending on where you live and how many trees are around, you may have to clean your gutters several times in the fall.
  2. Blocked gutters can cause water damage to your home at any time. But in the winter, blocked gutters will trap water that can freeze, causing gutters to detach from your home.
  3.  Make sure your gutters are directed so that they drain as far away from the house as possible and on a downslope. Check on this regularly during rainstorms to prevent major water damage.
  • Inspect roof for any damage to shingles and double check seals around vents and chimney to prevent any leaks.
  • If you have shrubs or plants growing near your furnace exhaust vents, cut them down so you have at least 3 feet of clearance around the vent. When the snow starts to fall, it could accumulate around the exhaust and prevent your furnace from running if it is blocked with snow or ice.
  • Seal foundation cracks to prevent mice from sneaking in.
  • Drain outdoor faucets and winterize in-ground watering systems so you don’t get burst pipes inside your walls. Your plumber can show you how.
  • Inspect your driveway for cracks. Seal it now to prevent winter damage.


Prep your yard to enjoy if fully now but also prepare it for winter weather:

  • Rake leaves regularly in yard so you aren’t overwhelmed with one big job at the end of the season. Check your community’s leaf pick-up services, requirements, and schedule.
  • Many homes in WNY have drains in their yards; make sure those are cleared of any debris. 
  • Remove and weed any dead plants, especially those summer and early fall annuals.
  • Prune shrubs before they go dormant. Cut back perennials; divide and transplant as needed.
  • Aerate, fertilize, and seed your lawn in early fall.
  • Plant bulbs now for springtime flowers. Look online for some ideas for your garden. (Pinterest for the win here!) Perennial flowers are less costly and time consuming in the long run, making your yard look nice with less work each year.
  • Trim tree branches that hang too close to your home or electrical wires. You don’t want any surprises during a storm so hire a professional company to care for your trees and trim where necessary.

As you get closer to colder weather:

  • Drain garden hoses and store them inside.
  • Clean and then cover outdoor furniture (or store it inside). Do the same for an outdoor grill.
  • Winterize sensitive plants such as roses, and stake any shrubs or young trees.
  • Start your snowblower, fuel it up (with fresh fuel – not from cans that have been sitting in your garage…it’s a costly mistake, trust me!) Make sure it’s running well. If not, now’s the time to take it in for a tune-up.

Power Failures & Severe Weather

Always be prepared for any weather disaster:

  • Buy and store flashlights, batteries, candles, and matches in easy-to-reach locations. Battery operated candles are great – so you don’t have to worry about a fire hazard around small children – or if you’re clumsy and forgetful like me!
  • Keep extra water bottles, nonperishable food (for pets too!), blankets and necessary medications on hand. Don’t forget the liquor cabinet.
  • Buy that snow shovel before it snows! Don’t forget bags of ice-melt (pet-friendly ones) and sand. Might as well get the snow brush out and toss it in your car, too. I also keep a bag of extra hats, gloves and socks for me and the kids, an old pair of boots, a couple bottles of water and granola bars in my car during the winter months. If you’ve ever been caught in winter storm on the road or gotten stranded in the snow…you know how this bag of goodies could literally save your life!
  • Find the phone numbers for your utility companies and put in your phone’s contact list and any alert apps/text services that your community provides.

Print out this checklist so you can check things off as you go or make notes to remind yourself to do some of these items next year instead.  Just don’t let them go too long!

Email me if you have any questions and if you need any suggestions for contractors that could help get your list of to-dos done.

Hi, there!

Hi! I'm Merritt Kreutzer, digital marketing nerd and obsessed with all things tech!

 I'm here to modernize the real estate experience for busy professionals in Western New York. 



text | call  716.391.3633

473 Aurora Street
Lancaster, NY 14086




All Articles


Hi, there!

Hi! I'm Merritt Kreutzer.
I'm a bit of a digital marketing nerd and embrace the use of technology to manage a busy life.
 I'm here to modernize the real estate experience for home buyers and sellers in Western New York. 




All Articles

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