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Homeowner Tip: Fall Home Maintenance

It's Time for Fall Home Maintenance

Autumn in Chicago can be the most unpredictable time of year when it comes to the weather, so it is important to be prepared. Annual home maintenance will ensure a safe and cozy winter. Don't let the 80 degree days fool you. Take the time to prepare for the coming winter months. Based on questions we've received from our friends and clients, we have put together a list of quick, inexpensive fall home maintenance tips that we think are important to you and the safety of your home.

Make sure your garden hoses are disconnected. The water valve connected to your garden hose is located at least 12 inches inside of the home, usually by copper pipe. When the first frost comes and your hose is still connected, the water inside the hose and copper pipe inside the home is likely to freeze and burst leaving you with water leakage indoors. Avoid this less than ideal situation by disconnecting your garden hose and allowing the water to drain from the pipe line.


To disconnect your garden hose:

  • Turn off the outside water spigot
  • Remove any kinks left in the garden hose
  • Drain the remaining water from inside the hose
  • Remove any attachments from the head of the garden hose,
  • Disconnect the hose completely from the outside spigot
  • Walk down the length of the hose to ensure all water has drained
  • Wind the hose into a circular shape
  • Store in a warm location to ensure it will not get damaged during the winter months

Caulk, weatherstrip, repair, or replace your windows. Window maintenance is especially important this time of year because as the temperatures drop, you might be cranking up your heat and losing it through poorly installed or insulated windows, literally throwing money out the window.

Inspect your windows and look for gaps or missing caulk around the exterior, take note of rotted wood frames or sills and determine if damage requires replacement or a simple repair. Caulk around windows and door frames to ensure there are no openings. Gaps in the structure can cause moisture buildup creating cracks and mold.

Apply weather stripping in between the sash and window frame to eliminate air leakage. Tension seal and magnetic weatherstripping are efficient and durable solutions for double-hung windows. For sliding windows and casement, apply V-strip adhesive weatherstripping to the clean, dry side of the sash or window jamb.

Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. During the cooler months, change the direction of your ceiling fan so that it rotates clockwise allowing an upward draft to redistribute warm air.


Clean your gutters to avoid basement leaks. Cleaning out your gutters is an important home maintenance task year round, but it is especially important during the autumn season when leaves are falling and causing clogs. Avoiding this task, tedious as it is, can cause serious issues if it is not done before the first frost. Frozen drainage can cause backup and lead to basement floods and leaks. In addition to cleaning your gutters, be sure to check that downspouts are clear and sloping away from the foundation of the home. Clear downspouts by washing them clean with a forceful flow of water from a hose.

Annual battery replacement. Replace the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your house. Experts say batteries should be replaced twice a year and should be replaced entirely every 6-8 years. There should be at least one smoke alarm on each level of the house and one near each bedroom. Place carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the house as well, high on the walls and away from furnaces, gas appliances, or fireplaces to avoid false alarms.

Back up the batteries in your sump pump as well. Check to make sure the sump pump is working correctly and make sure an alarm is set up, often linked to a home security system, in case any problems persist.

Fireplace inspection. Hire a chimney sweep before you plan on using your wood burning fire place for the season. Examine your wood stove or fireplace for a tight seal on the door gasket.


Set up mouse traps. Everyone tries to find a warm place to stay during the winter and mice and chipmunks are no exception. Set up spring traps in the attic, crawl space, or basement to avoid critter infestations.

Change the furnace filter. Changing the filters in your furnace and humidifiers are important before the heating season really takes off. Avoid having to deal with breaks or maintenance issues when it gets cold out and take preventative measures by replacing filters now.

Roof inspection. The roof is your first line of defense when trying to stay warm and safe during the winter months. Before the first frost, inspect your roof for torn, missing, or rotted shingles. It is especially important to take note if any shingles are damaged near the gutters. Be proactive about roof damage and avoid having to deal with a leaky roof in the middle of a snowstorm by inspecting now.

Forest Glen Construction specializes in window and siding replacement. If you discover damaged windows or insulation and heating problems upon your own inspection, do not hesitate to call us for a free consultation. Save money on your heating bill this winter and call us for an estimate on a home exterior makeover.

Information was created with help from Del Mar Fans & Lighting.



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