Your Essential Fall Home Maintenance Guide

In much of California, Nevada and Arizona, we're blessed with warm temperatures year-round. But regardless of where you live, when fall is in the air, it’s time to think about those home maintenance projects you couldn’t do when the thermometer was peaking. Making a project checklist is essential for maintaining the value of your home and we’ve compiled some checklist items for you. 

Outside Projects 
Start your fall home maintenance checklist by inspecting your home's exterior. Oppressive summer heat can lead to the damage of some construction materials over time and for those who live in areas where the temperature dips below freezing in winter, ice may damage your home.
 
  • Consider installing storm windows and doors. Remove screens and hose them down. Dry thoroughly before storing. Weather-strip the garage door.
  • Touch up or re-paint peeling or blistering paint on outside walls since this coating keeps siding from deteriorating.
  • Check the driveway for cracks. Use a driveway filler and commercial sealer or hire a professional to do the job.
  • Although a rare occurrence, loose or missing shingles can lead to damage to electrical components, drywall, wood, and insulation. Hire a licensed, certified professional to inspect the roof occasionally.
  • Flush fallen leaves and all other debris out of gutters and downspouts to limit water back up. Replace broken gutters and consider installing leaf-guard systems.
 
Landscaping
Updating your property’s landscaping is easier to do in the fall, especially if you want to grow native plants in Arizona or Nevada.  
 
  • White desert plumbago is a perennial that produces bright white blooms against dark green leaves that turn red in fall and winter.
  • Desert fairy duster has striking red flowers that are in bloom for most of the year. Its spike-like stamens contrast against dark green leaflets and hummingbirds love them!
  • The white flowers of tufted evening primrose open at dusk and gleam throughout the night before folding in the morning. Nectar tubes at the plant base entice bees and birds.
 
The Lawn
Lawn care in Nevada and the drier areas of California and Arizona starts in the fall for healthy grass the following spring.
 
  • Insert a screwdriver into the turf in high traffic areas to check for soil compaction. If the screwdriver doesn’t go in fairly easily, consider aerating those areas.
  • Pull a small wedge out of the grass… if it has more than a half-inch of thatch (dead grass and excessive root growth) between the ground and the grass blades, it’s time to aerate the lawn.
  • In states where cool-season grasses are grown, fertilizing in the fall will help grass roots grow strong when it’s time to grow again next spring, resulting in a greener lawn, sooner. Natural fertilizers are best—compost, plant, or bone matter—but you can also use synthetic products. Fertilize after the last mowing of the year.
  • To create a natural insulator for your grass against the cold, sharpen your mower blade, set it to 3 inches, and only cut a third of the grass blade. Leave the grass clippings on the lawn and water.
 
Inside Projects
The inside of your home needs attention too before the colder weather sets in. We’ve got a check list for that too!
 
  • Before you crank up the furnace and fireplace, make sure all your safety devices are working. Test your CO2 and smoke detectors and change the batteries.
  • Have your furnace inspected and change the filter.
  • Have a professional clean your fireplace occasionally to rid it of creosote build-up, which can cause chimney fires.
  • Check for pests. As the temperature drops, mice and other pests will be looking for insulation and other warm places to hide. Check under cupboards and in the attic.

 

Becky Moore calls herself a dedicated DSIY — a “Do-Some-of-It-Yourselfer” — who writes about home and landscaping issues. She and her equally handy husband have moved into and refurbished a new (to them) house every two years for the past decade.

 

 

gutter with leaves in it