Is it any surprise that many Tennesseans say AUTUMN is their favorite season?

The end of summer and early fall is the perfect time to take care of projects around the house and make a list of priorities you want accomplished before the holidays. Here are The Wills Company TOP 40 Tips for Fall Home Maintenance & Improvement to get you started!

1. Make an appointment now with a professional for a full heating and air system check up. Don’t wait for the first cold snap!

2. Get your chimney professionally cleaned and checked for leaks and cracks.

3. Order your firewood. Be sure to have it stacked away from the house so as not to bring termites in contact with your walls. Pick up small sticks after a windstorm and stack them neatly near to your firewood pile for kindling.

4. Have crawlspace, attic and basement inspected for water, mold, damaged ductwork, leaking showers and plumbing lines, improperly vented dryers, visible signs of termites or animals.

5. Pressure wash and seal your porch and deck.

6. Cool weather is a great time to paint outside of your house or even just the trim for a fresh, updated look.

7. Schedule an In-Home Energy Assessment with The Wills Company to lower energy bills, lower maintenance costs and provide a healthy more comfortable home.

8. Have a professional gutter assessment and cleaning scheduled. Gutters and downspouts need to be securely fastened, and any signs of rot should be addressed right away.

9. Add a light-filled sunroom to your house; or re-think an existing room with beautiful, new windows so that you can enjoy the beauty of nature even in the depths of winter!

10. Inspect your water heater’s drain pan. Install a battery-operated water alarm to alert you when it’s full.

11. Change all air filters and vacuum all vent covers and returns. Take a photo or make a note of your unit’s filter size on your cell phone so you’ll have it handy.

12. Outdoor light bulbs should be inspected. Clean the lenses of exterior lights and re-position them if they have been knocked out of place over the summer.

13. Remove cobwebs from around your windows and nearby exterior shrubs with a dust rag wrapped around a long-handled broom. Fall is when spiders spin the most webs; so plan to repeat this task.

14. Inspect, repair, re-hang and possibly re-paint all shutters. It can really freshen the look of your house!

15. Get tree limbs that are touching or coming close to your roof professionally removed.

16. After the first bug-killing, cold snap (and gutter clean out!) take down window screens, clean off, wash, repair, label and store in a dry place. Next, schedule a professional window cleaning for outside and inside your windows. You won’t believe how it brightens your entire home!

17. Be sure all windows open and close smoothly and lock securely. If a window jamb is sagging, you may have a foundation issue that needs further inspection.

18. Remodel your basement or attic to be a playroom so that the kids have a place to go this winter inside, vs. under your feet and in your hair!

19. Schedule a review with your security professional to be sure your security system is updated and working properly. Refresh all of your passwords if you have been using the same ones for years.

20. Get an estimate on having your windows replaced. It can pay off in lower utility bills sooner than you think. 

21. Cut back or remove overgrown bushes that are touching exterior walls, blocking light from windows and keeping moisture and insects too close.

22. Weatherstrip your garage door. Make sure the seal between your garage door and the floor is tight to prevent drafts and keep out small animals

23. Create a mudroom/entry space where all those backpacks, shoes, coats and daily detritus can be stored in a neat and deliberate manner, versus strewn about your house!

24. Inspect any handrails on your property, interior and exterior. Do you have handrails in all your tubs and showers? Consider adding them now.

25. Replace your mailbox or address numbers with something new – there are so many spiffy options now. Go with an oversized mailbox so that your magazines are not bent in half anymore.

26. Have your roof checked for missing and loose shingles. Ice, rain, snow and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs.  It is better to proactively deal with repairs than to discover a leaky roof in a rainstorm.

27. If your basement has a sump pump, test it by dumping a large bucket or water into the basin. This should activate the pump. If it does not switch on and pump water, it needs to be professionally serviced.

28. Don’t wait for a clogged drain or power failure to figure out where your house’s inner workings are. Locate shut-off valves, fuse boxes or power sources for your utilities. Then make a House Emergency Floor Plan for electrical, gas and water shut offs. Include where fire extinguishers are placed and smoke alarms are located. Keep this map handy and be sure to provide it to house or babysitters.

29. Test all carbon monoxide detectors. (You have them, right?)

30. Go ahead and add that garage to make getting in and out of the car during the cooler months more comfortable and much less of a hassle!

31. Remove ivy from walls. Any plant strong enough to climb and hang onto a vertical wall is going to wreck havoc on your brick or siding. Ivy harbors insects and even rodents. Yikes!

32. Order spring bulbs. If they need to be pre-chilled (tulips!) for a month, now is the perfect time. Try the English method of placement for a natural look: throw them over your shoulder. Plant them where they land.

33. Change all the batteries in your smoke detectors when time changes on Sunday, November 2nd. Make this a habit every time clocks spring forward or fall back.

34. Check that all your oversized mirrors and paintings are mounted properly. Nothing worse than returning home or waking up to broken glass!

35. Schedule buffing of waxed hardwood floors before the holiday rush.

36. Check caulking around all showers, tubs and sinks and have it replaced if it’s cracked or peeling.

37. Replace regular switches with dimmers. You will love the ambiance it adds to your rooms.

38. Drain all garden hoses before the first freeze. Then wind them up to store in a dry place.

39. Mulch around trees and shrubs after all fall leaves are removed. Don’t build “wells” around trees which can actually drown and kill them.

40. Throw a party!  There is nothing that gets you motivated to get your house in tip-top shape like company coming.

Happy Fall!

Whatever handyman projects or design/build items are on your FALL list, let The Wills Company help. Call us at (615) 352-1228.