Whether it’s football or pumpkin spice, leaves falling or leaf-blowers, the one thing most of us can agree on is that Fall is one of the best times of year. For many of us, Fall is a much-needed respite from the sweltering Summer heat and humidity; for others, it means the holidays are right around the corner. It also means that now is the time to start checking off items on your to-do list. Some of these tasks may be easy enough to do yourself, and some of them may require the expertise of a trained professional. Whichever way you choose to go, following this checklist now will help you to save time and money later (more money for presents!).
We’re not sure about you, but we think waterfalls are a thing of nature’s beauty; that is, if the waterfall isn’t coming from your roof or ceiling. Every year, your gutters funnel hundreds upon hundreds of gallons of rainwater and snow melt from your roof. Without proper drainage, the overflow from rain and melted snow can wreak havoc on wood framing and siding, while also creating potential structural damage as the gutters pull away from the home, and overflow saturates your basement. Fall is the perfect time to break out the ladder, clean out gutters and get any leaves or other debris clear of your downspouts. (pro tip: try installing a mesh guard to prevent future debris from getting into your gutters)
Get a check-up for your Furnace
Much like spring maintenance is important for your air conditioner, fall furnace maintenance is an absolute necessity to keep your home comfortable through the winter months. With kids coming home from school and families staying over through the holidays, indoor comfort will be at the top of your list. If you find yourself having to avoid certain rooms in your home or adding an extra blanket to the bed, consider calling a professional HVAC company to keep your furnace in peak operating condition.
Is it drafty in here?
Leaky windows and doors are a quick way to lose heat and lose money. Did you know a home can lose up to 10% of it’s energy efficiency due to leaks in windows and doors? Air transfer between the inside of your home and the outside air can offset indoor temperatures, making heating and cooling systems work that much harder. Do a thorough inspection of all exterior doors and windows, being sure to check for any worn weather stripping or gaps between windows and your home. Performing a simple walk-and-caulk, or adding new weather stripping if necessary, can help to cut down energy costs and level out the temperature in your home.
Love your lawn
Everyone loves a lush green lawn in the spring, but most folks don’t consider Fall as the time to prepare for warmer weather. Here in the Carolina's, early Fall is the perfect time to get your lawn ready for long days with plenty of sunshine. For the final cut of the year, consider cutting your yard down to 2”, aerating and fertilizing. Once the leaves have fallen, be sure to rake them up or mow them into a fine mulch (fingernail size clippings are great for your yard, just don’t leave them piled up!). After the first frost of the year, most grass goes dormant so all you need to do from there is sit back and wait for Spring!
Gather around the fire
Everyone loves a crackling log and the ambient heat that a fire gives off, but even if you only use your fireplace occasionally, you need to be diligent in keeping your chimney system in tip-top shape. Soot and creosote tend to gather along the walls of your chimney and throughout the fireplace and can quickly become a fire hazard if not taken care of before you light the first log. Late-summer and early fall are great times to schedule a full-system inspection and cleaning by a licensed chimney sweep. Do it now, while their schedules are open and the demand is low!
We’re all guilty of this one, but it could easily be the most important one on the list! At least once every 3 months (although monthly is most definitely recommended!), test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Sure, we’d all love to avoid that eardrum-bursting screech, but trust us, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’re protected.
Bone-dry winter air can wreak havoc on delicate furniture and your sinuses too! Adding a little moisture to the air in your home can help keep your airways clean and comfortable, and will keep your home comfortable as well. If you already have a humidifier, inspect the pads and plates and if necessary clean them using a solution of water and gentle laundry soap. Interested in more information on a humidifier for your home? Check us out here.
Protect your pipes!
There’s nothing like a busted water pipe to brighten your holiday season (totally kidding, it’s the worst!). When the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, set aside five minutes to wrap and insulate any exterior pipes, spigots and faucets. You can find specially made covers for outside water spigots at any home-improvement store, but if you’re the type that wants to DIY, old t-shirts and duct tape will do the trick. Whatever you choose, make sure to turn off the water and wrap it up!
Lose the limbs!
Fall winds and winter ice can make quick work of dead branches and trees, and can cause serious damage to roofs, windows and any nearby vehicles. Not only that, but nobody wants to face an angry neighbor when your tree falls on their fence. Use the next few weeks to inspect any trees or large shrubs for dead limbs and potential hazards, and rest easy knowing that your shade tree will be there when the weather turns warm again!
It doesn’t matter if you fancy yourself a handyman (or woman!), or you want to leave the hard work up to a professional, don’t forget to take time to relax and enjoy the last few months of the year. Break out the pigskin and pumpkin spice, unpack your hoodies and jeans, and let the good times roll!