By using HomeKeep, you’ve already taken an important step toward proper home care. But if you’re looking for some “extra credit” this fall and want to tackle some of those “not-critical-but-still-important” items on your home maintenance checklist, we have a few more ideas. When it comes to home maintenance, it never hurts to be an overachiever.

Maintain and Strengthen Your Lawn

Any annual home maintenance checklist should include yard care throughout the year. While we typically think of planting and other lawn and garden care maintenance as spring tasks, the best time to aerate, seed, and fertilize your lawn is actually in the fall. The extreme temperatures during the summer can be tough on your lawn, but the cooler temps the fall provides are perfect for strengthening your grass and helping it solidify its roots before the winter. By strengthening your grass’s roots in the fall, you’ll help your lawn bounce back more quickly in the spring and be more lush and green right from the start.

Seal Your Outdoor Wood Surfaces

If you have any treated outdoor wood, like a wood porch or deck, stairs, railings, or other outdoor structures, make sure you seal the wood before winter. Sealing your outdoor wood surfaces can protect them from weather damage due to the snow and ice. Any home maintenance checklist for new homebuyers should include this autumnal task to make sure your outdoor spaces stay as nice as your indoor ones. You can hire a professional, or you can purchase a quality sealant and complete the process yourself. To seal your wood surfaces:

  1. Inspect and repair any existing damage that you don’t want to seal in.
  2. Thoroughly clean the surface, making sure to clear any debris that will get between the sealant and the wood.
  3. Apply a thin, even coat of sealant using a roller or hand brush. Work your way across the surface so that you don’t step on or contact areas you’ve already coated, as this might wipe off sealant before it can be absorbed.
  4. Let the surface thoroughly dry before making contact with it again or putting anything on it, like furniture or rugs.

For best results, choose a day with low humidity and no precipitation to ensure the sealant is able to dry properly. 

Stock up Early on Ice Melt Supplies

You may think October is too early, but the sooner you stock up on ice melt and other anti-slip supplies, the better. If you wait until the first snows are announced, stores might run out due to the sudden demand, and you’ll be left in the cold. As soon as you see supplies in stores, start stocking up to beat the rush. If the first frost does take you by surprise, and there’s no ice melt to be found, you can use cat litter to aid traction in a pinch, but it’s best to get the real deal to prevent hazardous home conditions.

Clean Out Your Kitchen and Pantry

If you’re organizing your home maintenance checklist by season, late fall is a great time to go through your kitchen and pantry, do some cleaning, and get rid of any expired food or beverages. A kitchen can be a warm and comforting place through the winter months, so the fall is a good time of year to do a deep clean of your food prep and storage spaces. Give your fridge and pantry a good wipe down to get rid of crumbs or spills that might attract pests trying to escape the winter chill and live off your leftovers. Run cleaning cycles on appliances like your oven and dishwasher to help them run more effectively through the winter as well.

Set aside time to go through all of the items in your fridge and pantry, especially items with a long shelf life, like canned goods, whose expiration dates may pass unnoticed. At the same time, identify any foods that are unexpired but that you and your family are unlikely to eat and consider donating them to a local food pantry. This helps people who can’t afford food for the winter and also clears up space in your own kitchen to stock up on essentials you’ll actually use.

Stabilize or Drain the Gas From Your Lawn Equipment

Something that first-time homebuyers might miss on their home maintenance checklist is draining or stabilizing the gas in outdoor maintenance equipment like lawn mowers. If you’ve never owned gas-powered equipment before, you might not realize that the gasoline in those tools can go bad over the winter when you’re not using them. When it comes time to bring them back out in the spring, the expired gasoline can prevent your equipment from working properly or may dilute any new gas you put in it and make it less effective.

If you’re able to drain the gas tank on your equipment, you’ll need to dispose of it at a local gas recycling center, or you may be able to add it to other gas-powered machinery you’ll use sooner, like a snowblower or your car. Make sure that the gasoline in your equipment is the same type used in whatever you’re transferring it to. If not, you may be better off stabilizing it for the winter using stabilizing chemicals that you can pour into the tank with the remaining gas.

HomeKeep Keeps Your Home in Top Shape

HomeKeep customers have already taken the most important step toward long-term home maintenance mastery. While the seasonal tasks above aren’t part of the 10 critical home maintenance services covered by HomeKeep, they’re still a good idea to keep your home in tiptop shape and prevent costly repairs down the road. If you live in the Madison, WI, area but haven’t tried HomeKeep yet, sign up to learn more about how we can help you maintain your home throughout the year.