We’re entering the fall season, and that means it’s time to prepare your home for changes. Here are eight essential tasks to take care of your home over the next few months.

Keep gutters clear. This is a deceptively simple but important maintenance task that protects your roof, lawn, attic, foundation and basement. Overflow from clogged gutters can create backup on your roof in freezing weather or pooled water right next to your foundation during non-freezing times. A clean gutter ensures smooth drainage every time.

Prep your lawn. Aerate your lawn to improve root development. Put away all lawn equipment and hoses, as well as drain gasoline. Sow grass seed in bald spots and add fertilizer to help create a healthy lawn in spring.

Inspect your foundation. Cracked foundations can be some of the most expensive repairs your home ever requires. Cracks are easier to repair the sooner they’re addressed, so if you discover structural problems, call a pro as soon as possible.

Get a garage door tuneup. Your garage door needs to be checked out every year or so, and it’s better to get it tuned up now than to wait until things go really wrong. An inspector will adjust springs and cables, lubricate moving parts, tighten hardware and check safety features.

Take care of air loss. Caulk, seal and weatherstrip doors and windows where you find drafts. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to address energy loss. Regardless of where you live, sealing up doors and windows will lower your energy bills and increase comfort.


Check your insulation. Insufficient attic insulation can cause energy loss and contribute to ice dams on your rooftop. The average house should have at least 12 to 14 inches of insulation in the attic. Experts say they often see only 5 or 6 inches. If your insulation is too short, hire a pro to install new insulation correctly.

Inspect the fireplace and chimney. If you use your fireplace, it needs to be inspected every year to avoid fire hazards. A professional chimney cleaner will clear out debris, check for structural damage and remove creosote buildup. Look for a pro who follows standards set by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Have your water heater drained and flushed. Tank-based water heaters should receive this maintenance at least once a year, and experts say fall is a good time. You can do this job yourself, but it often saves time, money and hassle to hire a plumbing pro.