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The 10 Worst Fall Home Maintenance Mistakes

August 29, 2023


When owning a home, you know that there are maintenance tasks to perform each quarter of the year. There are also mistakes that you can make that could end up costing you unnecessary money! Here are some of the 10 worst fall home maintenance mistakes.

Not Inspecting Your Roof

While the weather is still warm, either inspect your roof on your own, or hire a professional roofing company to determine whether your roof is ready for winter weather. Choose a sunny and dry day so your footing will be secure. Clear out gutters from leaves and debris, and look for damaged or missing shingles or flashing, and check for cracks at your vent base. Make minor repairs and fix leaks as needed.

Not Cleaning Your Chimney

Chimney cleaning companies are busy once the weather turns cool, so if you haven’t scheduled your chimney cleaning early, you may be out of luck. Last-minute rates may also be higher this time of year, so keep this in mind for next year! However, it’s important to clean your chimney at least once a year, especially if it is used regularly.

Not Checking Door & Window Seals

Cold air can leak into your home, and expensively-warmed air can leak out, leading to uncomfortable living conditions and higher utility bills. Take a moment to check the seals around windows and doors to ensure that they are ready for colder weather and are not damaged. Ensure that weep holes are clear of debris or blockages, especially if caulking has been done.

Putting Off Maintenance Issues

Fall can sneak up on you, and it may become too late to perform those outdoor maintenance tasks you’ve been putting off until a later time. Repair or maintain decking, exterior trim, windowsills, downspouts and gutters, and more, and perform outdoor chores prior to winter setting in. Avoid these fall home maintenance mistakes by completing projects that were “patched” during spring and summer months.

Painting in Cold Weather

Many acrylic paints meant for your home’s exterior must be applied when the temperature is above 40 degrees F for at least a 24-hour period in order to cure properly. Painting when weather is cold can greatly reduce the lifespan of your paint job. This also can apply to caulking, sealants and other exterior products. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best outcome.

Not Winterizing Lawn Equipment

Fall home maintenance mistakes can include mowers and tractors as well. Leaving gasoline in lawn equipment engines can cause them to gum up. To avoid issues, spray a fogging oil into the carburetor to expel moisture, and add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank or run the engine until the gas is used up. For non-powered lawn equipment, ensure that they are cleaned before storing. A light layer of oil on metal surfaces may help prevent rust.

Failure to Shut off Exterior Water Sources

Turn off exterior water connections and drain the water from both them and any connected hoses. Coil hoses and store them in a shed or garage over the winter. Winterize your sprinkler system by eliminating water from each section with an air compressor. When water is left in pipes and hoses and freezes, it can expand and burst them.

Not Having a Working Smoke Alarm

When batteries run low on smoke detectors, it can be tempting to simply remove the battery and not replace it in order to silence the sound. If you have a 10-year battery in your smoke detector and it begins to chirp, it is time to replace the entire unit. All smoke detectors have a 10-year lifespan. It may be wise to install or check a carbon monoxide detector as well.


Resist the temptation to tear out fading plants in the fall. This is the time when they are reseeding and nourishing the soil. Perennials will return in the spring, and even annuals may pop up when the weather turns warm.

Contact Golden Rule Home Watch & Concierge

Fall home maintenance mistakes are often made because people just don’t know what to look for. We hope these tips help you to maintain a safe and happy home. When you need someone to watch over your house when you’re away, contact the professionals at Golden Rule Home Watch & Concierge. Services include Home Watch, Car Watch, Key Watch and more.

--excerpted from 10 Fall Home Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid by Dan Stout, Family Handyman, 9-9-21