Fall maintenance is particularly important in that it is preparing your home for winter, whose harsh conditions can bring all sorts of problems for your house. First and foremost, you want to make sure your furnace or heating system is in tip-top shape. You should have a gas system serviced every two years and an oil system yearly; make sure ducts are in good working order. Check the exhaust fans in the bathroom and range hood. Make sure your sump pump is working properly.
There are several things you want to check on during the winter that will keep things running smoothly during this time and help you prepare for spring. Filters for ventilation systems should be checked every couple of months—clean filters help the systems work more efficiently, which also translates to lower energy bills. You should also drain the water from the clean-out valve of your hot water heater to keep it functioning efficiently and to prevent sediment from accumulating—consult the tank owner manual for instructions on how to do this. Vacuum the bathroom fan grill, smoke detectors and the radiator grills on the back of the fridge and freezer. Be on the lookout for high moisture levels in the home—this can lead to mold growth and other serious and expensive problems. Test plumbing shut-off valves.
As the nicer weather approaches, you want to do a variety of things around the house, namely, checking if the winter did any damage to certain parts of the home and getting things ready for next year. Fireplaces, wood stoves and chimneys should be cleaned, and if necessary, serviced. Check foundation walls for moisture and repair as necessary. Make sure the sump pump is in working order before the spring thaw starts.
Check basement humidity and keep relative humidity below 60 percent—buy a dehumidifier if necessary. Check air conditioning filters and clean, or replace, if necessary. Look at basement pipes to see if there is any dripping or condensation. See if the basement floor drain has water in the trap—if it does not, refill. Check the roof for signs of loose shingles, and check the chimney and roof joints for signs of leaking or cracking. If you have an automatic garage door opener, oil up the motor, chain and other moving parts. Remove plants and roots that are near the siding or brick.