Fall is fast approaching. Soon, the weather will cool, and you’ll be switching to comfortable socks and sweaters. For many, fall is a favourite time of year full of holiday gatherings and good food. There is so much to look forward to!
Before you get too excited, though, plan a weekend to get some important maintenance out of the way. The following lists what every homeowner should do this fall to maintain the value of their home and to avoid unnecessary costs.
- Pest-proof the home
Mice, rats, squirrels, ants, and other pests are especially common in the fall. Examine the exterior of your home for little gaps and cracks that could let in a pest and block them out. Use materials like expanding foam, caulking, steel mesh, and steel wool to eliminate entry points. Make sure that your window screens and in good condition and put weather stripping on the bottoms of your doors.
If you’ve struggled with pests before, call a local pest control company for help. A licensed technician can seal openings for you and get rid of pests in a flash. Professionals use products that are more reliable, and they have the experience to find the source of your problem. It may cost a bit more than a DIY solution, but you’ll be guaranteed results.
- Store Pool Toys and Patio Furniture
Let your pool toys dry completely, then store them in a shed or storage bin for the winter. If you store them wet, the chlorine in your pool water risks damaging your equipment. Drain the pool, then cover it to protect its shell from the cold weather. Then, get waterproof covers ready for your patio furniture. Storing or covering your furniture will extend their lifetime and make set up easier in the spring. You’ll avoid rust, dust, and other damages caused by the rain and snow.
- Drain Outdoor Faucets and Hoses
When you’re done using the garden hose for the season, shut off the water to faucet, then turn the faucet on to let the water out the hose. Disconnect the hose, drain it, then put it away in the garage or in another dry location. This will prevent water from freezing inside the hose and making cracks. Draining and shutting off the faucet will avoid damages to the pipes.
- Clean and Maintain the Gutters
Clogged gutters may lead to serious water damage in and around the home. Grab a ladder, a bucket, a pair of gloves, and a gutter scoop. Set the ladder on solid ground, then scoop leaves and debris out of the gutters by hand. You can scoop out smaller bits of debris with the scoop. When you’re done, run the garden hose through the gutters and check for proper flow.
If there is blockage in the downspouts, run the hose up the downspout from the ground level, or run a plumbing snake through it until it is cleared. Check that your gutters have a slight angle to let water flow, and make sure they are securely fastened to the wall.
- Clean or Replace the HVAC Filter
The HVAC filter purifies the air in your home by trapping dust and debris. With time, the filter gets blocked, making it harder for your HVAC system to push air out. This drives up your energy costs and risks causing damage. Turn off your system, then take the filter out and clean it. If it cannot be cleaned, replace it with the appropriate filter. Your home will be more energy efficient and you’ll be able to breathe better this winter.
- Fix Drafty Windows and Doors
Drafty windows waste energy because they let warm air escape out the window, forcing your HVAC system to continue heating the house. Light a candle and stand a foot or two away from the window. If the flame flickers, there is a draft. Fix this by adding locks or weather stripping to your windows. Check for cracks in the window frames and seal them with caulking. Add heavy drapes for more insulation and put weather stripping or door snakes to the bottoms of your doors.
- Deep Clean the Kitchen and Organize the Pantry
Cleaning up the kitchen is great for pest control and holiday preparation. Take the time next weekend to clean the kitchen from top to bottom, getting rid of grease and food waste. Throw out everything that has gone bad and organize the pantry to make your life easier. Store food in glass jars and other airtight containers to reduce odours and help prevent a rodent infestation. Don’t forget to clean the oven, the range hood filter, and the floors underneath your appliances.
- Prepare the Yard for Winter
Catch up on your garden duties this fall by cutting the grass, harvesting produce, and maintaining your plants. Trim hedges, bushes, and vines back and rake the leaves. Use these materials for compost or throw them out in paper bags. If you have tree branches that hang over the roof, trim these back to avoid damages and to make it harder for squirrels to reach the attic. When you’re done, fertilize the lawn one more time so that it looks beautiful in the spring.
Images from The Mushroom by ZJJZ Architecture Practice – See the full story here