San Diego Homeowners: Plan Your Home’s Fall Maintenance

Homeowner Highlights

Making time for fall maintenance tasks can be hard, especially when everyone is so busy. And spending an afternoon watching college football or heading up to Julian for apple pie is a lot more fun than doing maintenance!

But, as a San Diego homeowner, the consistent upkeep of your home helps to preserve your its value and prevent some avoidable and costly damage.  All of which can translate to more money in your pocket!

These projects in the early and late fall can prepare your home and yard for the chillier months ahead.  Now is a good time to look at your calendar and schedule some must-do projects over the next couple of months.

Even though we don’t live in a traditionally cold winter climate, the temperatures do drop, even significantly, in some parts of the county. We can also get heavy winter wind and rain storms. With climate change, it is hard to predict what the winter months will bring. So although we don’t need to prep as much as if we were living in Chicago, there is still work to be done.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Even if you live in a condo unit, there are still some yearly tasks that you should check off your list, such as HVAC maintenance. Your condo association should handle common areas but each association can vary on unit owners’ responsibilities. Double check on this and keep the tips below in mind.
  • Some projects can be DIY jobs but others may require a professional. For some tasks, it’s better to sign up for a yearly service contract (i.e., HVAC, chimney, pest control). I can provide you with a list of reputable contractors!

Get Organized Today

Don’t feel overwhelmed with our list of fall tasks below. It is longer than other seasons and many might not pertain to your particular home. But if you stay organized, it won’t be too hard to handle.

We recommend creating a maintenance binder or downloading a maintenance app for your iPhone or other device so you can schedule and record your repairs and upkeep.

That way, you’ll know exactly what you have to do each month and how to budget for it. On certain apps you can even set up alerts to remind you.

Having a system in place means you’ll be able to store information on repair dates and costs, contact info for contractors, any receipts from purchases, warranties, model numbers and manufacturer materials. 

Our Handy Fall To-Do List

You can customize our list below for your own home and put it in your binder/app for fall maintenance. You can also download our handy PDF sheet.

Doors and Windows

Fall is a good time to do these fall maintenance tasks so that you can save on winter heating bills:

Add or replace weather-stripping around doors and windows to keep out drafts.

Caulk around windows where cold airs gets in.

Give your windows one more thorough cleaning


Important safety musts before building fires when the cooler air hits:

Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney, especially if it is wood-burning.

Check to make sure the damper works properly. Close the damper when not in use, but don’t forget to open it before lighting a fire.

Make sure your chimney is lined, even if you don’t have a fireplace. Many gas hot water heaters and heating systems are vented through a chimney.

Cap or screen the top to keep out rodents and birds seeking refuge.

Buy firewood but store it away from the exterior of your home (it can attract rodents!).

Consider installing a gas fireplace if you have a gas line nearby. More natural-looking logs and ease of use make them ideal for many homeowners.

Furnace, Ducts, AC Unit & Etc.

Get your heating system and other units in top shape now before you start cranking up the heat. Condo owners may be responsible for their own units:

Hire a HVAC professional to inspect and clean your furnace as part of your fall maintenance. Also check your whole-house central humidifier unit if you have one, to make sure you’ll have the right amount of moisture in the air (can help prevent winter colds).

Stock up on furnace filters and change or clean them monthly depending on which type you use. Dirty filters make it more difficult for your HVAC system to work efficiently and will also limit the amount of dust, lint, airborne molds that go through your system.

Hire a professional to inspect air ducts for leaks in their joints; and have them cleaned if necessary.

Ducts in cold spaces such as crawl spaces should be insulated.

Clean dryer vent by vacuuming the tube that leads to the vent and then vacuum from the outside dryer vent. This should be done every six months so include on both your fall and spring maintenance schedules.


Keep your home warm:

Buy a programmable thermostat (so many less expensive ones to choose from now!) that allows you to set temperatures lower when you’re not at home or sleeping. You’ll save money!

Home Exterior

Prevent small issues from becoming huge issues with these Fall maintenance tasks:


  • Clean out gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris.
  • Make sure your gutters are directed so that they drain as far away from the house as possible and on a downslope. Check on this regularly during rainstorms to prevent major water damage.

Inspect roof for any damage to shingles or tiles and double check seals around vents and chimney to prevent any leaks.

Seal foundation cracks and repair screens to prevent mice or other rodents from sneaking in.

Inspect your driveway for cracks.


Prep your yard to enjoy if fully now but also prepare it for winter weather:

Remove and weed any dead plants, especially those summer and early fall annuals.

Prune shrubs before they go dormant. Cut back perennials; divide and transplant as needed.

Aerate, fertilize, and seed your lawn in early fall.

Plant bulbs now for springtime flowers. Look at catalogs and the internet for some ideas for your garden. Perennial flowers are less costly and time consuming in the long run, making your yard look nice with less work each year.

Trim tree branches that hang too close to your home or electrical wires. You don’t want any surprises during a storm so hire a professional company to care for your trees and trim where necessary.

As you get closer to colder weather:

Clean and then cover outdoor furniture to protect it from moisture and rain.

Let me know if you have any questions about Fall maintenance projects and if you need any suggestions for contractors that could help get your list of to-dos done.  Email me at

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