All the Leaves are Green …
But they won’t stay that way. Yes, fall is approaching, with the trees ready to explode in vibrant colors. But autumn is more than the season of pretty leaves and pumpkin spice lattes. It’s also a time to take stock of your home and car and get them ready for what’s to come. Namely winter.
You’ve still got some time for most of these tasks, so don’t let them interfere too much just yet with kickoffs and tailgating and other autumn activities that are far more fun than maintaining your house and car.
Your fall home maintenance ‘to-do’ list
Start with the outside of the house. Here are some steps you should consider:
- Check your gutters. You’ll probably need to do this twice – once now and once after the leaves have fallen. Why is it important? Because clogged gutters can cause water to spill over them onto the ground, which could damage the foundation of your home. The problem can get worse in winter, when the clogs can cause ice dams, which could damage the roof.
- Check the roof, too. While you’re up there clearing the gutters, check the roof to make sure you don’t have damaged or missing shingles.
- Look around the house. Check for cracks in your driveway and sidewalks. Loose materials on either could cause slips.
- Don’t leave them sitting. Leaves, that is. You’re going to have to rake leaves, probably several times over the next month or two. Don’t forget to bag them up for disposal.
- Lawn order. This is the time to prepare your lawn for next year. Aerate, re-seed, and fertilize and you’ll have one of the best lawns in the neighborhood next year.
- Make some decisions. As the season continues, you’ll need to decide when you’ll no longer need patio furniture, gas grills, and other outdoor equipment. When you reach that point, take them inside to avoid winter damage. Drain the gas from your lawn mower and the water from any hoses.
Now it’s time to turn your attention indoors for these steps:
- Change it up. Have your heating system serviced. Don’t forget to climb the ladder and replace the filters in your system. It will boost efficiency and give you and your family cleaner air. This also is a good time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.
- Seal windows and doors. It’s going to get colder, so make sure you’re not letting cold air in and warm air out because of leaky windows and doors. If you have a fireplace, schedule a cleaning for your chimney.
- Insulate your pipes. Again, you’ve got a little time before freezing temperatures hit, but be sure to schedule time to cover your pipes. The last thing you want in the dead of winter is a burst pipe.
Now it’s time to concentrate on the car
The change of the seasons is a great time to focus on your vehicle, too. Make sure you consider these tips:
- Test the heater and defroster. Frosty or fogged up windows can sneak up on you and if your defroster isn’t working, you’ll face problems. Make sure the front and back window units are working properly, and fire up the heater, too. If things aren’t working right, be proactive about the repairs before you really need them.
- The wipers, too. Admit it, you turn the windshield wipers on to help the defroster, don’t you. Are you getting a clear windshield, or do you have streaks? Isn’t it worth it to replace the wipers before there’s a problem?
- Under pressure. Your tires, that is. The first cold snap can cause slight deflation in your tires – not to mention Tom Brady’s footballs. Adding air will cost you a fraction of what it takes to fix or replace a flat. Be sure you’ve got plenty of tread on the tires, too. Don’t forget about your spare tire!
- Oil’s well? See if you’re due for an oil change, and have it done promptly. Most shops also will check engine fluids, including antifreeze, and your battery.
Once you’ve finished all that, you’re ready for a pumpkin beer, a hot wing (or 10), and a kickoff.