Fall Home Maintenance You Should Do Now

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Fall is coming. We know you don’t want to think about that right now while you are soaking up those last few days of summer but it is and as a homeowner, the change of seasons brings along with it some tasks that need to be done.  The good thing about these tasks is that they ultimately make life easier.

Here are our suggestions of what you should be doing now in order to prepare for the fall and winter to come:

  • As the leaves begin to fall, you’ll need to get up on a ladder and clean out the gutters. But the chore doesn’t stop there – you need to remember to check the downspouts as well and clear out any clogs. Also, be sure that all the pieces of the gutter and downspout system are still connected properly and that the water is being diverted away from your house to avoid any flooding.
  • Speaking of leaves, obviously you’re going to want to be raking and bagging those but here are a few extra tips when it comes to dealing with them. First of all, check your local trash collection calendars to find out when yard waste pickup days (or when the depot is open for them) in your area are so you can plan to have the leaves done and out in time. Also, consider holding back some of those leaves to use as composting/mulch to cover your gardens and provide protection to them for the season.
  • Check out the weather-stripping on your doors and windows. There is nothing worse than finding a draft in the middle of winter and trying to fix it then. The weather-stripping won’t stick as well in those cold temperatures and it’s just so much easier to look for the worn out or damaged bits now and replace them.
  • Get your garden cleaned up. It’s time to harvest the last of your vegetables, cut and dry herbs to last you through the winter, and pull up the last of the weeds.  Some perennials should be cut back at this time to prepare them for winter and help them avoid damage and keep them from attracting pests while there are others that can be left (and in fact are great for providing some fall and winter food to the birds). These articles can help you figure out which is which: Plants to prune in fall and Plants to leave standing and prune in spring   This is also the time to divide your hosta and daisy plants. Contrary to popular belief, fall is generally not a good time to prune trees. It’s often best to wait until winter – after the coldest temperatures of the winter but before leaves begin to bud again.  If you must do any tree trimming, it is healthier for the tree to wait until the leaves have fallen if you can.
  • Give your grass one last cutting – you should keep cutting your grass until it stops growing. Grass that’s too long will get packed down by the snow and promote the development of snow mould. Then aerate and reseed your lawn.
  • Water your evergreens well during September and October (until you turn the water off) to ensure that they don’t get dehydrated during the winter.
  • Turn off the outside water.
  • Put your outdoor furniture, planters, and décor items away in storage until spring. This is an ideal time to give them a good cleaning before you put them away and to do a post-summer tidy up of the garage as you do.  Remember to leave yourself some space for working on any chores you might need to do in the garage during the winter.  You may want to put your BBQ in a spot that’s more convenient for winter grilling if you plan to use it for that. Remember to keep it a safe distance from the house and be sure to consider that you will need to clear a path to it when it snows.
  • Consider the location of your trash cans and recycling boxes/compost bin. You may want to move them to a spot that’s easier to access and clear a path to in the winter.
  • Think about your lighting. Do you have adequate lights for the winter when you may be both leaving for work and arriving home in the dark? How easy is it to replace lightbulbs in the winter? It can be dangerous to get up on a ladder when it’s cold and slippery outside so you may want to put new lightbulbs in those tricky locations now. This is also a good time to consider your holiday decorations. Is there anything you need to place in the ground now (support stakes for example) now before the ground freezes? Some people like to get their holiday lights up while it’s milder out too and then just wait to turn them on until the holiday season. If your holiday decorations are stored in a shed or the garage, now is a good time to bring them to the front in a location that’s easily accessible even in inclement weather.
  • Small trees and shrubs may be vulnerable to winter winds. It’s a good idea to wrap them in burlap as extra protection.
  • Check your roof for leaks and damaged shingles.  A small roof problem now can turn disastrous under the weight of winter snow and ice.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, call to schedule a chimney inspection before “cozy huddle around the fire” season sets in.
  • Deal with any cracks in your walkways and driveway now. These can worsen if ice gets into them and cause trips and falls in winter.
  • Check, clean and if needed, replace the filter in your furnace.

What have we missed that you include on your fall home maintenance checklist?  Share your suggestions in the comments below.

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