10 Fall Maintenance Tips
It would be amazing if all you needed to prep your home for fall was hang a wreath and light a bunch of pumpkin spice candles. While yes, those are a crucial part of fall, there are more important (and not exactly fun) preparations that come with being a homeowner.
1. Clean, or possibly replace, your gutters.
Real talk: You're so used to your gutters working properly — and draining thousands of gallons of water from your roof yearly — that you forget they could use a little TLC. If they're clogged, you can end up with a flooded interior and damaged exterior. So clean them, and if necessary, replace them (Amazon Home Services will do it for $116).
2. Check for drafts.
Heat loss through windows is responsible for 25-30 percent of heating energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But it doesn't have to be that way, because weatherstripping is simple and probably the most cost-effective way to keep heating costs down.
3. Drain your outdoor faucets.
Say it with me now: "I will turn off all outdoor faucets before winter!" Drain and disconnect all garden hoses from outside spigots to prevent any water freezing. Not doing this can result to pipes bursting, so yeah, do this.
4. Bring your outdoor furniture in.
Yes, your furniture is outdoor furniture. No, that does not mean you should test the label by leaving it outside through hurricane-like weather and snowstorms. It cost you money and time to set that outdoor space up, so if you want to get another summer season out of it you should store it in a garage or shed. If you don't have anywhere to store the items, you should cover it in a waterproof furniture cover, which you can snag on Amazon for 36 bucks.
5. Fix any cracks in your driveway.
I know, I know — this seems tedious and is one of those things where you're like, "eh, it'll be fine!" But, it could very easily not be fine. When water gets into cracks it freezes, expands, and can make the crack even bigger. Enough small cracks can turn into big cracks, and eventually the concrete can crumble. Plus, uh, you'd probably prefer a driveway without a giant pothole. So, using concrete crack sealer, fill it up and be done with it.
6. Change your filters.
Found: Another thing in your house that might be costing you more money then it should be. If your filters are clogged, it's harder to keep your home at the temperature you want it too be which will increase your heating bills. Clean these filters monthly, not just before the fall, and thank me later. FYI: Disposable filters can be vacuumed one time before you replace it, and foam filters can just be vacuumed and not replaced.
7. Fertilize your lawn & protect your garden.
You know what they say: The best offense is a good defense. If you want to keep your lawn looking great in the spring and summer, you need to prep it for the fall and winter. Roots are still active when the grass isn't growing, so applying fertilizer will prevent winter damage. Doing this will also help your lawn turn green faster in the spring, which is crucial, because who wants to look at a sad lawn once it gets nice out?
For your garden, pull up any plants or vegtables that can not be in the ground over the winter. remove all weeds and debris and eliminate overwintering sites for insects and disease. Check our Plant Pests and Diseases Library for tips on preventing and preparing for the most common pests in your garden. Lastly, till your soil and add in some compost to get the soil ready for next spring.
8. Test winter equipment.
Hi, I'm here from the future, where your snow blower isn't working and you're stuck inside and can't get your car out to buy a new one. Seriously, just check it all now and make your life easier later.
9. Change your batteries.
Once a year you should be checking to make sure all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices are working. Since you're already testing everything else out, you might as well add this on.
10. Clean humidifiers.
Having the heat and being wrapped up in a blanket on during a cold night is one of the best feelings. But, that heat will dry you out. Eliminate chapped lips, red noses, and sore throats by using your humidifer. Replace old filters and clean inside compartment. Vinegar is inexpensive and works well.