Fall Home Maintenance Tips
By David Selman, Certified Master Inspector, TREC#10299
- Examine the roof for signs of damage to roof coverings, flashings and chimneys and have any defects professionally repaired.
- If your home has a fireplace, have the fireplace professionally checked and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep.
- Look in the attic (if accessible) to ensure that roof vents are not obstructed.
- Inspect the attic insulation. In Texas, 12 inches of insulation is recommended. Add insulation as needed.
- If your home has a crawl space, crawl space vents should remain open year-round. Closed crawl space vents hold in moisture creating conducive conditions for wood rot and wood destroying insects.
- Check the crawl space for signs of leakage, condensation, moisture or vermin activity. Consult a professional for repairs.
- Water supply lines in attics and crawl spaces should be insulated.
- Trim back tree branches and shrubs to ensure that they are not in contact with the house.
- Inspect the exterior walls and foundation for indications of damage, cracking or movement. Repair as needed to prevent moisture intrusion or consult a professional.
- Watch for bird nests or other vermin or insect activity.
- If your home electric service is overhead, check for tree limbs in contact with the service conductors. They should be secure and clear of trees or other obstructions. Hire a professional to trim tree limbs away from overhead electric lines.
- If your home electric service is underground, check the service entrance conduit for any separations or damaged. Repair as needed or call an electrician.
- Ensure that the grade of the land around the house encourages water to flow away from the foundation. The top 4”-6” of the foundation wall should be visible.
- Repair or replace any rain gutter splashguards or gutter extensions as needed.
- Clean out the rain gutters and downspouts.
- Add mulch around flowerbeds and trees but be sure to leave the at least 4” of the foundation visible.
- Inspect all driveways, walkways, decks, porches, and landscape components for signs of deterioration, movement or tripping safety hazards.
- Clean windows and test their operation.
- Improve caulking and weather-stripping as necessary.
- Repair any wood rot or deterioration at window frames. Paint and repair windowsills and frames as necessary.
- Test all ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) devices for operation.
- Shut off isolating valves for exterior hose bibs in the fall when below freezing temperatures are anticipated.
- Test the Temperature and Pressure Relief (TPR) Valve on water heaters. After testing, these valves often leak and should be replaced.
- Inspect for signs of wood destroying insect activity.
- Eliminate any wood/soil contact around the perimeter of the home to prevent moisture intrusion and wood destroying insect activity.
- Test the overhead garage door opener, to ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is responding properly.
- Clean and lubricate overhead door hinges, rollers and tracks on overhead doors using a lubricant made for overhead doors.
- Replace the batteries in overhead door remote controls.
- Replace or clean exhaust hood filters.
- Clean, inspect and service all appliances as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Replace air conditioning filters regularly.
- Consider having a professional service and repair heating equipment prior to cold weather.
- Check the smoke and fire alarms and replace the batteries. There should be a smoke and fire alarm in each bedroom and the adjacent hallways.
- Check the carbon monoxide detectors for operation and replace the batteries.
- Make sure there are fire extinguishers handy.
- Make a plan or review your plans for emergencies such as fires.
Although we’ve heard it many times, nothing could be truer than the old cliché “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Preventative home maintenance is the best way to keep your home in great shape. It also reduces the risk of unexpected repairs and improves the odds of selling your house at fair market value, when the time comes.
Selman Home Inspections can help evaluate component defects and repair needs anytime with a complete home inspection.