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Fall is my favorite season. Hands down. The Fall is when nature provides a spectular show before shutting down for a winter slumber. Food shifts to bigger flavors and thicker bases (soups & stews), beer morphs from pilsners, wits, and weizens into heavier stouts and porters. Apples find their way into all sorts of things from pies, to cider and other goodies along with hot chocolate. But, please hold ALL the pumpkin spice everything! Hoard it for yourself (if you must).
It’s also a good time of the year to do some outside maintenance. As the weather get’s cooler in most of the country and the days get shorter there are a few things to tackle before winter settles in. These are the seven things I typically do around our house. All of them easy for most homeowners. I’m sure you can find more (or, less) to do.
Collect and/or, Mulch Leaves
If you have a mulching blade on your mower and not too many leaves mulch it right in place. The small leaf bits will help give your lawn a boost. If you rake or, collect the leaves off your lawn. Consider using some for a compost pile.
Clean Your Gutters (install gutter guards)
And, I’ll tell you a little secret: cleaning gutters is not my favorite task. Not. By. A. Mile.
But, a clogged gutter will create more expensive problems than a clean one.
Winter brings on ice, freezing rain and snow. Do everything now during Fall to leave a path for all of this water to drain away when the daytime sun and/or above freezing temps cause partial melting. Clean your gutters and while you are at it consider installing some gutter guards. This last part goes a long way to making this task nearly unnecessary next year.
Pressure Wash the Exterior of Your House, Deck/Patio/Porch, and Steps
With the leaves falling and little chance of wind blown pollen. It’s not a bad time to give the outside of your home a good washing. Vinyl siding doesn’t take a lot of pressure from your pressure washer. Most of the work on vinyl siding should be done by the right kind of pressure washing detergent in your wash tank. Ideally, do this work on a cloudy day so you have a little more working time. If your deck needs cleaning there’s a pressure washing detergent for decks & wood.
Clean the Windows
Wind blown dust, pollen and dirt collect on windows clouding your view. If you have double hung windows. That’s the type where both sections of the window can be tilted inward you can take care of this from the inside of your home. If you have single hung windows, they type of window that only the bottom swings in, some of the work will have to be done outside. Get some window cleaner, bucket a squeegee and some rags to make work go faster. Your view will sparkle for a small investment in your time. Short on time or, have a lot of windows? Consider hiring a window washing company.
Check Your Plumbing.
If you have a crawlspace or, walk-in basement, it’s a good time to check on things under your house. Is pipe insulation still in place? Replace or, re-secure as needed. Any leaks developed? Have those leaks address before those Winter winds start howling. Check on your water heater too, now is a good time to give it a flush.
Fireplace & Chimney Check
Are these systems ready to work this year? Has your chimney been swept and checked? Have a spark cap installed? If not, get a few quotes on having one installed when the chimney is serviced. Get the firebox cleaned out and ready for the first fire. Ensure the flue operates correctly. If the firebox has any loose mortar, chip it out and use some new fireplace mortar/adhesive to repair it.
Furnace/Heating System Check
Have you changed the return filters lately? Keep these changed to get the best performance from your system. Have a humidifier as part of the system? Check to see it’s ready to work. HEPA filter media check out? If not, replace it. If you have a propane or, heating oil system make sure your tank is full and check in with your delivery company.