The 10 Most Forgotten Fall Home Preparation Tasks

A man cleaning up fall leaves with a rake and trash bags.

The fall season is upon us and it’s time to start getting our homes prepared for the cooler weather. Everyone knows all the regular chores that one must do to get everything set and ready to go for the change in climate, but there are a lot of home preparations that are forgotten about until it’s too late. We are here to help you remember those tasks so that you and your family can enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather without having to worry about the treacherous weather to come. Here are 10 tasks you should be sure to accomplish before the last leaf falls.

1. Service Your Snow Blower

Before snow hits the ground, make sure your snow blower is ready to go. If you are unaware how to do this yourself, you can take it to your nearest hardware store where they can ensure that your snow blower is in good, working condition before winter. Upon return from the hardware store, don’t forget to pick up some gasoline on your way home—a functioning snow blower is no good without gasoline to run on. Once the gas tank is full, it's ready for use. Keep it handy in your garage or storage shed for when the first snowflake falls.

2. Purchase Ice Melt

Usually you don’t think to buy ice melt until the ice has already set. But it’s an exceptional idea to get the ice melt before the storm begins. Being prepared with the ice melt will save you a trip to the store in the midst of a blizzard. Keep it near your door and sidewalks along with your shovel. A quick trip now will save you the trouble later.

3. Aerate and Fertilize Lawn

A woman spreading fertilizer over a green lawn.

Experts say that September is the best time to get your lawn aerated and fertilized. Aerating the lawn reduces compaction of the soil, which makes it easier for the fertilizer to get to all the roots, resulting in a more luscious lawn next season. There are many small companies near you that don’t charge an arm and a leg for this service. You don’t have a lot of time, so pick up the phone and make the call now.

4. Drain Gasoline From the Lawn Mower and Leaf Blower

Now that the cooler air has set in, it won’t be necessary to mow the lawn as often as you have been all summer long. After you’ve finished aerating and fertilizing the grass, give it one last trim before winter. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to drain the gasoline from the lawn mower. After collecting all of the leaves, the leaf blower will also need the gasoline drained. Gasoline should never be left in a gas tank for longer than a few months as it will result in changes of the chemical composition of the gas. Save yourself the trouble and the concern by emptying everything now so that it’s not something you have to worry about later.

5. Winterize Sprinklers, Hoses, and Drains

Winterizing your sprinklers, hoses, and drains is often forgotten about, but it's a crucial step to take in preparing for the colder months. Those who choose not to take this step will be facing frozen pipes all winter long. Don’t put yourself through the trouble of frozen pipes—take the necessary steps now. Winterizing, simply put, is emptying out the water from the pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads. Many companies near you are able to come out and winterize for a small fee or it’s fairly simple to do on your own. Many online guides and videos can take you through the step-by-step process.

6. Inspect and Clean the Chimney

A chimney sweep standing on top of a roof holding some tools.

Cold weather brings sipping hot chocolate near cozy fires. But before you reach for that hot cup of joe, be certain that your fireplace is safe to use by having your chimney inspected. Over time, your chimney can become obstructed and not having it cleaned regularly can result in your house catching fire. There are many guides online that can help you do this yourself, but it can be tricky and dangerous. Therefore, we recommend hiring a professional to come inspect and ensure all is in working order.

7. Inspect and Repair the Roof

Within a few weeks, the snow will begin to pile higher and higher on your rooftop. If your roof is not armed and ready, all that water runoff will seep into your house and has the potential to cause a great deal of damage. Water damage to roofs can not only be a headache to repair, but the cost can set you back hundreds of dollars. Save yourself the trouble later by doing something now.

8. Clean the Gutters

Gutter cleanup can get messy after snow has melted. You might be surprised how much debris can collect in your gutters over time. It's especially important to get these taken care of before winter begins. When the snow beings to melt, the runoff needs a conduit so that it doesn’t channel down into your house, causing flooding. Again, save yourself the headache and take care of this now.

9. Prepare the Deck and Cover Furniture

A covered patio chair on a deck with a tree in the background.

The deck can be a major oversight in your fall preparations, but with just a few minutes of work today, you can save yourself days’ worth of cleanup next year. You’ll need to sweep up the leaves and other debris, wash down everything with a hose or power washer, and ensure there are no loose slats. Failure to clean up the debris will result in mold or fungus forming on the wood. Once your deck is clean, be sure to cover all your patio furniture so that it doesn’t get ruined from the snow.

10. Service the HVAC Unit (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning)

No doubt, it’s been a long time since you’ve turned your heater on, so you’ll want to ensure it's operating correctly. Imagine being stuck in your home due to a blizzard and having no heat. This quick little step will guarantee your home is nice and toasty for what may be a long winter. After taking care of that, it’s time to cover up your AC unit for the winter. Not covering your AC unit can result in the water resting on the coils and freezing. A word of caution: covering it too tightly can produce a great deal of humidity and cause your AC to short circuit. Simply providing a tent-like cover for the unit will be the best of both worlds.

We know you have your own list of things to do in preparation for cold weather, but we encourage you to take this list into consideration and add it to your other chores. Remember, doing a small amount of work now will save you from greater hardships in the future.