10 home maintenance jobs to tackle in autumn

person brushing wooden wall with oil protection


Posted February 27, 2024

Autumn is the perfect time for these 10 home maintenance jobs, which will help prepare your home for the cooler months and safeguard against unforseen events.

Autumn is prime time for home maintenance jobs that will help protect your home against inclement weather. RACV’s trade training manager Andy Anderson says RACV Emergency Home Assist experiences a significant increase in callouts during autumn for issues that are largely preventable.  

Last year RACV Trades attended over 12,000 callouts between 1 March and 31 May for home emergencies. The most common problems were blocked pipes, damaged gas heaters and burst taps.

Sealing draughts, pruning your trees and checking your smoke alarms are some easy tasks worth undertaking. For other jobs that can be risky, such as cleaning gutters and servicing your heater, consider getting an expert tradie.

Person cleaning dead leaves from a gutter

Clean your gutters, downpipes and stormwater drains, as any water overflow can affect your house.

Clean your gutters

Clearing leaves and other debris out of your gutters, downpipes and stormwater drains will help prevent blockages that cause water overflow into the roof cavity or down the walls of your home. Working at height on a ladder can be risky. Other hazards include slimy leaf litter, bugs, animal nests and stagnant water, which is why you might hire a professional to give your gutters a thorough clean. A gutter specialist can also identify roof and gutter damage that should be repaired. If you choose to clean your gutters yourself, always use safety equipment such as gloves and non-slip shoes. You will also need a sturdy ladder, a bucket and a hose.

Prune your trees and shrubs

Pruning trees and removing unwanted branches before they lose their leaves are two ways of reducing leaf litter in your gutters. Regular pruning to remove dead and diseased branches, promotes the overall health and vitality of your trees. It also helps shape and control the growth of trees, preventing them from becoming overgrown and encroaching on structures or pathways.

Check for loose roof tiles

Maintaining the integrity of your roof is an important way to protect your home. Don't wait for heavy rain to find out your roof isn't watertight. If you suspect that your roof has leaks or damage, or loose roof tiles, call an expert tradie for a full inspection. Safety is paramount.

Check your deck or balcony for damage

It’s important to do a full check of your decking or balcony at the end of summer. Carefully examine the support beams, posts and decking for any damage. Timber can dry and crack, as well as expand, shrink or move, weakening the structure. Over time, fixings, such as bolts, nails, screws and plates, can loosen and supports can crack, resulting in balcony and decking collapses.

If you have access, check the joists - the long, wide timbers that the decking boards sit on. Check for cracks, rot, dampness and bends. Often water runs down the house and on to the joists and over time this can cause hidden rot. Finally check the decking boards, balustrades and handrails for movement, rotting and ageing timbers.

If you spot any damage or if you have any concerns, contact a qualified professional

Seal your timbers

Sealing exterior timbers is up there with cleaning the gutters as one of the most odious autumn maintenance tasks. But it’s important to make sure exterior, exposed timbers are sealed and ready to weather the harsh Victorian winter. This is an investment in your house worth doing, and includes decks, balustrades, furniture, window and door frames. It's recommended that your decks are oiled and sealed every year.

Technician checking and cleaning split system air conditioner

Ensuring your heating system is clean and functioning is a key maintenance task during autumn.

Get your heater serviced

Have your gas heater serviced before winter to ensure it’s working safely and not emitting lethal carbon monoxide. Get your reverse-cycle split-system heating and cooling unit serviced. If you have an evaporative cooler, get a professional to empty out stale water and shut off the electricity and water supply. Make sure any heaters are away from curtains or any other flammable materials before use.

It's prudent to clean the filters inside your heating or air-conditioning unit twice a year. A split-system AC unit installed on the wall not only sucks in air from the room, but dust, hair and pollens as well, and those allergens are blown back into the room. Cleaning the filters will create a healthier home environment.

Seal draughts

A simple way to keep the heat in and cold out is a DIY installation of weather seals around doors and windows. RACV’s trade training manager Andy Anderson has a step-by-step video on sealing window and door gaps to help. 

Check outside lighting

Replace any blown light bulbs outside ahead of the longer nights. Just be sure to turn off the power before you touch anything. If there are any exposed wires or other damage contact a licensed electrician to fix these issues first.

Be power smart

As many of us continue to work from home, either part-time or full-time, it’s important to make sure you don’t overload power points and power boards with extra computers, printers and other electronic equipment. If your power board keeps tripping, don’t keep resetting it because there may be a bigger problem. A qualified electrician can make sure your home’s electrics are in safe working order. There are also several ways you can save power when working from home.

Check your smoke alarm

The end of daylight saving is a great time to check or replace your smoke alarms. The CFA recommends that all smoke alarms in the home be powered by a 10-year lithium battery, be interconnected and installed in every bedroom, living area and hallway on your property.

Warning signs of fault and age with your smoke alarm include:

  • The smoke alarm unit turning a yellow colour. 
  • A continuous ‘chirp’ sound.
  • Your smoke alarm activating for no reason.

If you’re unsure how your smoke alarm works, or you are unable to install or change an alarm yourself, then seek a qualified professional to do the job for you.

RACV Trades can help get your home in order.
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