Ah, autumn is here – leaves turning, temperatures dropping, and the coziness setting in. But as we gear up for pumpkin spice everything, it’s also the perfect time to get our homes fall-ready!
Beyond the usual cleaning and organizing, let’s not forget to protect ourselves from accidents and insurance hassles.
So, enjoy the season with a safe and secure home – for you and your loved ones. Let’s dive into our 17-point fall home cleaning checklist!!
1. — Clean Out That Chimney
Get ready for the cozy season ahead! If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, make sure to get your chimney checked and cleaned before the colder months roll in. Creosote buildup can be risky and might lead to chimney fires, while obstructions can cause smoke and carbon monoxide to sneak into your home.
2. — Clear Out Your Dryer Vents
Lint buildup in dryer vents is a major cause of house fires, so it’s important to regularly clean the lint trap. You can also improve ventilation by cleaning the exhaust ducts, and don’t forget to inspect the vent hose and vent pipe; if damaged, replace them for safer airflow.
3. — Check Electrical Wiring
Look for frayed wires, loose connections, and other electrical hazards. Replace damaged cords and schedule an inspection by a qualified electrician if needed. Faulty wiring can lead to electrical fires and damage your home and belongings.
4. — Store Flammable Materials Properly
Reduce the risk of fire by storing flammable materials like propane tanks and paint away from potential ignition sources. A shed or detached garage is best — if you have one.
5. — Seal Gaps in Windows and Doors
Look around your windows, doors and foundation for openings where warm air can escape and cold air, pests, or water could get in. Seal them tight using weatherstripping or caulk will boost your energy efficiency all year long.
6. — Give Gutters and Downspouts Some TLC
If falling sticks and leaves pile up and clog your gutters, water can seep into your home’s foundation or cause roof damage. After a good cleaning, check for loose pieces that need fixing. A damaged gutter can spill over onto walkways and driveways and cause someone to slip if it ices over.
7. — Take Care of Your Heating Systems
Get a pro to inspect and service your HVAC system, furnaces or boilers to improve energy efficiency, prevent equipment failure, and guard against fire hazards. To improve indoor air quality, replace air filters and arrange for regular cleaning of the air ducts!
8. — Declutter and Organize
There’s a place for everything. But if not, remove whatever’s unnecessary — especially things that block hallways or pose a tripping hazard. Keeping your living spaces clutter-free reduces the risk of accidents and makes it easier to move about in an emergency.
9. — Create a Home Inventory
After decluttering, make a new list of your belongings: take photos, gather receipts, and provide descriptions of valuables. This will be super helpful in case of theft, fire, or flooding and make insurance claims a lot easier. Also, ask your insurer to give your homeowner’s policy a good review before the new year to make sure it still fills your needs.
10. — Secure/ Store Outdoor Furniture and Equipment
Anchor or properly store patio furniture, grills, lawnmowers, gardening tools, and trash cans so they won’t get ruined during winter storms. Not only will this help them last longer, it reduces the chance of theft. While storing stuff, pull out holiday decorations, snow shovels, and ice melt so they’re ready when you need them.
11. — Make Outside Spaces Safe
Check handrails and railings on stairs, balconies, and decks to ensure they’re sturdy and securely fastened. Outdoor areas can be dangerous with wet leaves and frost, so keep them clear to prevent slips and falls. And make sure outdoor lighting is working, because it’s going to get darker earlier!
12. — Trim Trees and Clear Yard
Prepare your property for fall storms and high winds by pruning overhanging branches near your home and removing dead branches, leaves, and debris to prevent potential fire hazards and property damage.
13. — Inspect and Insulate Plumbing
Look under sinks, around toilets, and in the basement or crawl spaces to check for leaks. Turn off the outside water and disconnect and store garden hoses. With colder weather approaching, you’ll want to safeguard against water damage, so insulate exposed pipes to prevent them from bursting when the temps drop.
14. — Consider Your Roof
Check for any missing or damaged shingles, signs of wear, and issues like loose or damaged flashing. Inside you can check for signs of leakage, like stained drywall or bubbling paint. You’ll want to address any problems before it’s too cold and the days get shorter!
15. — Beef Up Your Home Security
Install and/or test your security systems, motion sensor lights, and door/window locks. Not only can these deter thieves, but having proper security measures might lead to lower insurance premiums.
16. — Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Test and replace the batteries in these devices to guarantee they work appropriately, as fires and carbon monoxide leaks are more common during fall and winter. If units have expired (you can usually determine this via a Google search), replace them with newer models. Better safe than sorry!
17. — Don’t Forget About Your Sump Pump
Lastly, give your sump pump (if you have one) a good check to clear any debris or clogs from the pump. Regular maintenance like this can be gross, but it’s an easy way to prevent basement flooding and keep your home dry and protected, especially during heavy rains and future snow melts.
So there you have it – a comprehensive fall home cleaning checklist to help you make your home safer, cozier, and ready to face whatever the season has in store.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to reach out and let us help you review your property, auto, business, life, or Medicare insurance to ensure you’re fully covered. Remember, prevention is the key to avoiding costly damages and inconveniences in the future.