Seasonal Fall Maintenance to Take Care of Your Home
Fall is quickly approaching, and soon the cold weather and lack of daylight hours will make it harder for you to take care of the maintenance tasks outside. This is the perfect time for you to tie up some loose ends around your home before the temperatures drop.
Fortunately, those who live in new homes tend to have less maintenance than those who live in older homes. By following our list of suggestions, your home will be ready for the changing seasons.
Garden and Yard Prep
It’s time to put your garden to rest. If you have annual flowers, you should dig them up and add some compost to the soil so that it will be ready for spring next year. Perennials usually need some pruning, but be sure to check the specific care instructions for the plants that you have. It’s also a good time to plant spring bulbs if you want to see flowers like tulips come up as the snow melts.
You’ll also want to tend to your lawn. Remove weeds one last time to help your lawn grow back thicker in the Spring. After you’ve done that, add some grass seed to some of the bare spots on the yard. This gives the grass time to take root so that it will be ready when the snow melts. Strong grass prevents the growth of crabgrass next year. It’s also helpful to mow your lawn a little lower than you do throughout the summer. This prepares for the winter slumber and helps prevent snow mold once spring arrives.
Once the temperature outside starts to dip below 5°C overnight, it’s time to disconnect any hoses you have connected to your exterior hose bibs to prevent them from freezing up and not being able to drain properly. Make sure you store the hoses in the garage or somewhere warm to prevent damage.
You need to rake up leaves regularly, especially if your home is near large trees that are dropping lots of leaves. It’s usually easier to spend short periods of time more frequently than it is to wait until the grass is completely covered before getting started. Some people even mulch the leaves with their lawnmower. Use a bag attachment to collect the leaf pieces, then dispose of them properly.
Additionally, make sure you’re looking at the gutters to see if there are leaves stuck in there. This can create a blockage that prevents rainwater or melting snow from flowing safely away from your home.
Heater Check and Maintenance
It’s best to check your heater before you really need it. Turn it on and make sure it’s working properly. Most HVAC systems require annual maintenance, and a lot of people choose to have that happen at the end of the fall season. However, if you had it checked before summer, you don’t need to make this appointment. You may want to change the filter to improve air quality, though.
New homes tend to be pretty airtight, which means that cold air won’t be getting inside during the winter. But tight seals can be one of the first things to need replacement or minor repairs because the expansion and contraction from changes in temperature affect the quality. Just check around your windows and doors to see if there’s any air coming in. People often like to check this by holding a lit candle. If the flame flickers, air is coming in. Fixing these air leaks is often a simple matter of re-caulking or adding some new weatherstripping materials. These things are readily available at home improvement stores.
You’ll also want to double-check around the exterior of your home for any possible openings. In the fall, animals are looking for a cozy place to spend their winters, and you don’t want them to choose your home.
You might also want to look into sealing your driveway if it hasn’t been done in the last 2-3 years. Just remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and pay attention to the weather forecast – it’ll need to be above 5 degrees overnight for the sealant to cure properly.
Store Your Outdoor Items
Once you’re finished using them for the season, you’ll want to be sure that all your gardening things are properly stored in the garage or basement to prevent rusting. Don’t forget to turn off the exterior water spigots and to put the hose away. Typically, hoses have small drops of water inside the long tube that can freeze and damage the hose if you keep it outside. If you have any outdoor furniture, be sure to pack those away as well – even if you have plastic furniture that won’t be damaged, it’ll save you from having to spend time cleaning it when the sun’s out again.
Tune Up the Snowblower
You don’t want to be caught without a snowblower during the first big storm. Take some time to turn on the snowblower and make sure that it’s working properly. It might be time to change the oil or replace the belts that keep the blades turning. Doing this is a fairly simple DIY task, with plenty of videos on YouTube.
Gear Up for Winter
It’s also smart to make sure you have what you might need for winter beforehand so you’re not rushing to the store in the middle of a storm. Do you have a good snow shovel to clear the walkways? Do you have salt to melt the ice? How about batteries and flashlights in case the power goes out? Make sure to stock up on these things.
Additionally, having all the windows closed during the winter makes carbon monoxide poisoning a bigger concern. The batteries in your alarm should last a year, and now might be the time to replace them.
Fall is a great time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. By completing a few small maintenance tasks, you’ll feel like you deserve the break.