Homeowner Orientation: Your Fall Maintenance Guide

In this comprehensive fall maintenance guide, we’re providing a detailed list of items to inspect in and around your home as the season changes. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your home remains in optimal condition, running smoothly and efficiently while maintaining your family’s safety and comfort.

Home Interior

Take the time to clean your thermostat’s heat sensor, as well as the contact points associated with it.

Ensure that everything is working accurately by checking the thermostat’s temperature readings for precision.

Clean or replace your furnace filter, humidifier, and heat recovery ventilator (HRV).

Furnace filter: A clogged furnace filter will impact airflow throughout the house; be sure to replace it every three months.

Humidifier: Ensure the equipment is off before servicing (consult user manual). Remove the white cover plate on the front of the unit, then detach the filter. Gently clean so as not to remove the protective coating that helps retain moisture, then reinstall.

HRV: Ensure the equipment is off before servicing (consult user manual). Gently clean and dry the HRV filter before reinstalling. A light vacuuming of the HRV unit may be required, as some dust and debris from the exterior can make its way in.

Check and reset the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

GFCI outlets help protect you from electrical shock, as they are specially designed to cut power from the outlet when an imbalance or power surge flows through them. To test the GFCI, locate the two rectangular buttons between the cord slots. Press the test button with your finger; you will hear a snap that trips the outlet and cuts off the power to the two plug connections. Once you’ve confirmed that the safety function is working properly, press the reset button to restore power to the outlet.

Test smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers.

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working correctly. Cachet homes feature dual function smoke alarms (hard-wired with battery backup) that should be replaced only when the unit’s lifespan has been exhausted, approximately every 10 years. Check your fire extinguishers to ensure there are no leaks and that the pin is in place.

Check and clean your clothing dryer vent for lint and/or damage.

Clogged ducts can affect your dryer’s performance and shorten its lifespan; in severe cases, build-up can potentially cause a house fire. To clean your dryer vent of lint, unplug the appliance and vacuum the lint trap using a cleaner equipped with a bristle brush attachment. If the duct is damaged (punctured or kinked), replace it immediately. If you’re uncomfortable with cleaning the dryer vent, consult a professional for maintenance.

Check your water heater for leaks.

For gas heaters, if rust is present without signs of a leak, condensation may be forming inside the tank. Call Enercare for any servicing matters.

Inspect basement or crawl spaces for moisture. 

The use of a humidifier will greatly help reduce moisture levels in the home. Cold cellar vents should not be obstructed or blocked to allow air flow (it is not recommended to use a cold cellar to store organic goods, as this can promote mold growth).

Test your sump pump.

A sump pump is the best defense against flooding. Ensure your sump pump is working effectively to avoid water damage that could affect your home’s foundation. To check for discharge or clean it, locate the pit inside the house. Open the pit and use a shop vacuum (or a machine that can tolerate water) to remove any build-up of stone or sediment, which can clog the pump over time. Once the pit is cleaned, pour a bucket of water in to ensure that the pump is operational, then seal and close the lid. If you’re uncomfortable with cleaning the sump pump pit, consult a professional plumbing service for maintenance.

Inspect boilers and radiators.

For homes utilizing steam heat with boilers and radiators, it’s essential to ensure their proper functioning. Schedule an annual checkup with a plumber to inspect the boiler, and drain any accumulated sediment. Refill the tank before turning it on. Additionally, have a plumber or heating specialist examine the radiators to ensure the valves are in good working condition and haven’t worn out.

Work on interior design projects.

Looking to renovate the bathroom or paint the living room? Fall is the ideal time to kick-start these projects. With moderate temperatures and outdoor work wrapping up for many contractors, it’s the perfect timing to make improvements inside.

Home Exterior

Check exterior finishes for signs of deterioration (peeling paint, loose siding, cracks).

Recoating or re-staining peeling paint, repairing loose siding, and re-caulking cracks will help prevent the damaging effects of sleet, snow, and ice during the winter months.

Check garage and garage door tracks for deterioration and lubricate bearings.

With the garage door closed, check your garage door panels from the inside, ensuring there are no loose pieces, cracks, separations, or damage. If necessary, lubricate bearings.

Clean and inspect the chimney.

Before winter arrives, it’s crucial to inspect your chimney for any signs of damage or debris. Taking this step will help ensure the longevity of the flue and reduce the risk of fire when using the fireplace.

For efficient air-conditioning, have your central air system inspected when servicing your furnace.

For window units, seal any gaps and cover both the inside and outside for insulation and protection. If you prefer to reclaim your window or have draft concerns, remove and store the unit upright.

Check the roof for loose or cracked shingles.

Examine your roof’s shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during the summer. Shingles that are cracked, buckled, or loose are missing granules and need to be replaced.

Inspect the roof’s surface, flashing, and soffits.

Check for signs of damage, risks of leaks, and poor ventilation. Repair or replace any damaged areas.

Check and clean eavestroughs and downspouts.

Remove debris and use a hose to flush out eavestroughs. Check for proper drainage and repair any weak areas.

Point gutter spots away from the direction of your house.

Point gutter spouts at least three feet away from the base of your home to ensure that water, snow, and ice won’t pool around your foundation during the cold winter months.

Check sealing around windows and doors for air and water leaks.

To help increase your home’s energy efficiency, recaulk seals on doors and windows. 

Check and service any exterior electrical.

After a summer of heavy use, many landscape features and systems – including outdoor light fixtures, and exterior pot lights — may need servicing. Contact a licensed electrician to check your exterior electrical and eliminate any potential problems come the spring.


Clear out and store away any patio furniture, accessories, BBQ equipment, and children’s toys.

Before storing or covering the furniture, ensure that it’s thoroughly cleaned and apply protective sealants to prevent any damage during winter storage.

Plant perennials, trees, shrubs, and seed a new lawn.

The fall season’s cool air and warm soil is perfect for planting grass seeds, perennials, trees, and shrubs, and allows time for new roots to develop before the winter sets in. Be sure to give new plants plenty of water before they go dormant. Planting grass seeds in the fall will result in a thicker, greener lawn, and depending on the variety of plant seeds, you may get a first bloom by spring.

Rake or mow any fallen leaves.

Fallen leaves can hinder grass growth and even lead to mold and disease. While it’s necessary to remove most leaves from grassy areas, you can leave a light layer under trees and shrubs to serve as natural mulch. Mowing leaves on a weekly basis instead of raking can break them down and provide nutrients to the soil.

Drain exterior water lines; shut off exterior water supply.

Ensure that your system is properly winterized before the first frost to prevent damage to your exterior water supply during the winter months. Start by shutting down and winterizing your sprinkler system to prevent any freeze damage. Protect your outdoor faucets and pipes by turning off the outdoor faucets and draining hoses completely.

Install an outdoor faucet cover to provide extra insulation and protection from freezing temperatures. Roll up your hoses and store them in a safe location for the winter months.

Inspect your driveway or pavement for cracks.

Prior to winter, it’s important to reseal the cracks as water can freeze and expand, leading to further damage.

Plan ahead and gather all of the winter equipment you’ll need before the first snowfall hits.

Stock up on sidewalk salt, reliable shovels, and any other necessary gear to make the transition into winter more manageable.To ensure you never miss home maintenance tips and tricks from us, follow us at @cachetcommunities on Instagram

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