Creating a fall home maintenance checklist kicks off the cold season the right way. Most of the appliances in your home are expected to function well for years without fail, but they do need occasional attention to keep them operating at their best. You can add the simple tasks below to your fall appliance checklist to keep your home appliances operating at peak performance.
Prepare Your HVAC System for the Cold
The first item in your fall home maintenance checklist is your heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. You will need to change your system from cooling mode to heating, and you can usually do this with a simple switch.
Many homeowners neglect to make this change, but it’s important so that your system works efficiently. You can do this by following the instructions on your unit or downloading the user manual. It is often as simple as moving a lever in your ductwork from “winter” to “summer.”
Change the HVAC Air Filter
While you’re working on your HVAC system, it’s a good idea to change the air filter for complete home winterization. This is an easy piece of air conditioning maintenance that any homeowner can complete by following these steps:
- Purchase the correct air filter for your system
- Turn the entire HVAC system off at the master switch
- Remove the panel in front of your filter
- Replace the old filter with the new one
- Replace the panel
- Turn the system back on
Protect Exterior HVAC Components
With all the leaves that fall during this time of year, you will want to clean around your outside HVAC units. Clean the leaves, branches and dirt from around the extractor fan and pump.
You can also cover your exterior fan unit for the winter to come. Doing this before the snow and ice start will make your life much easier than trying to clear out frozen leaves. A cover will also help to protect these parts from corrosion. But remember to remove any covering when you go back to cooling mode in the summer.
Clean & Test Your Water Heater
This next task on our fall home maintenance checklist will help you save money over the cooler months by making your water heater more efficient.
First, clean the area around your water heater tank and piping. This not only makes it more efficient but gives you an opportunity to inspect for any leaks or cracks that can lead to problems later in the season when your system is under more stress.
Next, wrap the pipes in pre-cut, self-adhesive pipe insulation. You can also insulate the tank itself with specially designed coatings. These help your water heater operate more efficiently.
At this time, you should also test the temperature-pressure-release (TPR) valve of your tank. This critical valve releases pressure that can build up in your tank as the hot water and air inside it expands. To test your TPR valve:
- Turn off the power supply to the unit
- Turn off the supply hose to the tank
- Place a bucket under the drainpipe connected to the valve
- Lift the valve tab and then drop it
You should see water flow while the valve is lifted and stop immediately when you release the tab. If water keeps flowing, that’s a sign there’s an issue with the valve and you should replace it.
Check Behind the Refrigerator
All our major kitchen appliances get additional use during the winter as we tend to stay in more and cook larger, heartier meals. Start your kitchen fall home maintenance checklist with the primary appliance: the refrigerator.
Pull your refrigerator away from the wall, vacuum out the coils and clean them to help the heat transfer process. Inspect your fridge for any hose cracks or water leaks, and hire a repair person to fix them if necessary.
This is a good opportunity to get your vacuum into the space behind and underneath the fridge as well, cleaning up any dust, debris, and cobwebs from this area.
Oven & Stove Checkup
The oven is another one of those tricky appliances that can look like it’s functioning just fine until it isn’t, and should be part of your fall maintenance checklist. Cleaning the stovetop and oven with oven cleaner gives you a chance to inspect your unit for any signs of damage or fatigue. Look for loose fittings, squeaky doors, or cracks, and replace those parts if needed.
Clear Lint From the Dryer
The lint trap isn’t the only place that lint rests in a dryer cycle after cycle. The average family of three or four people often runs between eight to 10 loads of laundry each week, which results in a lot of lint going through the system. When lint escapes the filter, it eventually builds up within the dryer itself and inside the exhaust ducting. After too long, it can become a fire hazard as it causes the dryer to overheat.
Use the change of seasons as your reminder to inspect the exhaust hoses and clean them out. Use a dryer cleaner kit to deep-clean your unit. Also remember to pull your dryer away from the wall, disconnect the ductwork, and clean any lint out of that section as well.
Refresh Your Garbage Disposal
Not all modern homes have access to garbage disposal, and even if you do, you likely don’t pay it too much attention. If it doesn’t get a good cleaning a couple of times a year, it can start to stink. You can use a garbage disposal cleaning tablet to quickly refresh your disposal.
There are plenty of small appliances besides the large appliances like your dishwasher, fridge, and oven. Small doesn’t mean you should miss them, however.
Take your toaster and microwave, for example. These quickly collect burnt and sticky residue inside as you put them through their daily strides. Give each of these a good clean to ensure they keep working properly through the fall and winter.
Use This Fall Home Maintenance Checklist to Keep Appliances Running Smoothly
A short and simple fall home maintenance checklist is easy to create and execute. Taking an afternoon to go over this list of cleaning, inspecting, and testing could be the difference between a frustrating winter breakdown and years of fuss-free performance.