10 home maintenance chores to check off your list this fall.By Mark Donovan
Fall’s cooler and dryer temperatures have finally replaced the hot and humid weather of summer. What a relief! With more temperate weather, air conditioners are now silenced and windows remain open at night so that we can hear and feel gentle autumn breezes. But the fall season brings with it more than just the return of cooler temperatures. The change in weather and foliage is also a signal to homeowners that they should prepare their homes and yards for the onset of winter. Before the first snowflakes begin to descend from the sky, make sure to tackle these home maintenance tasks. By doing so you’ll save on winter home heating costs, protect your home’s roof from ice and water damage and ensure a healthier lawn come next spring.
Fall Lawn Care
Rake lawn free of leaf debris in the fall. Be sure to remove any buildup of thatch; excess thatch can impede lawn growth in the spring and cause snow mold. Autumn is also a great time for growing grass. After raking, reseed the weak areas and spread a high-nitrogen fertilizer over the entire lawn. This way you’ll retard weed growth and have a healthy, green lawn when the weather warms again in the spring.
Remove all the vegetable plant debris from the garden. Old plant debris left in the garden leads to fungus and a potential infestation of insects. Also apply lime, fertilizer or compost to the garden.
Inspect your roof to prevent ice and water damage during the winter. In particular, look for cracked, cupped and missing shingles, as well as popped roofing nails, gaps in the flashing and missing sections of ridge vent. If many shingles are cracked and cupped replace the entire roof before it snows. For all other issues, make the minor repairs promptly.
Clean and Inspect Gutters
After the leaves have fallen from the trees make sure to clean and inspect roof gutters. While removing debris from the gutters, inspect them for broken rivets that connect the gutter sections together. Also check to see if the gutters are properly attached to the roof eaves. If the gutters are not fastened properly to the home, besides not draining properly, they could tear away from the house and cause exterior damage.
Inspect and Repair Exterior Home Siding and Decks
To prevent water and ice damage and home accidents, repair any home siding problems and broken deck railings, stairs and balusters.
Check the Attic for Adequate Insulation
A home’s attic is one of the major sources of heat loss during the winter months. Make sure you have the proper amount of insulation in it for your region of the country. Depending on where you live, a properly insulated attic should have at least 9.5 to 12 inches, R-30/R-38 respectively, of insulation. If you determine your attic has insufficient insulation, place additional rolls of insulation over the existing insulation.
Have your furnace serviced in the fall to ensure that it will work safely, reliably and at peak efficiency during the winter months. An inefficiently operating furnace can cost you hundreds of extra dollars during a winter season. Moreover, it could fail when you need it the most, and poorly burned home heating fuel exhaust gasses can cause permanent staining to your home’s roof and house siding.
Replace Furnace Filters and Clean Baseboard Heaters and Vents
If you have a hot air heating system, change the filter. A clogged filter prevents the furnace from working efficiently. Also clean and vacuum baseboard heaters and vent returns.
Install Window and Door Weather Stripping
Doors and windows are a major source of heat loss. Install flexible foam weather stripping along the doorjambs and in any gaps between the windows and window sashes to prevent cold drafts from entering the home.
Inspect Plumbing Pipes
Look for supply and drain pipes that are exposed to cold weather temperatures, such as crawl spaces, garages or exterior walls. Insulate the pipes with foam pipe insulation and/or wrap them with heating tape.
By taking time this fall and doing these 10 tasks, you’ll ensure a warmer home this winter and mitigate the risks of ice and water damage. And in the spring, your lawn will have a healthy headstart.
About the Author: Mark Donovan is the owner of HomeAdditionPlus.com, where he writes and creates videos on all aspects of building, maintaining and improving homes.