That little nip in the air, the increase in storm threats and those children going back to school all signal the beginning of fall and now is the time to plan and start on your fall home clean up program! So let’s take a look at what should be on your list.
- Clean the gutters. Yes, those annoying collectors of everything that falls from the sky need some TLC at this time of year. If leaves are falling, they are likely heading into your gutters. And clogged gutters can lead to trouble in the form of ice dams and they tend to attract insects and small animals. Nobody needs this! Although the leaves haven’t started falling in earnest, now is the time to make sure you’re ready to tackle the job yourself by checking your equipment OR call to schedule a professional to do the job for you.
- Pipe preparation. Now is the time to check on the pipes in your home and outside your home (ie sprinkler winter prep time too!). Take a look at the insulation around the pipes in your home. Open up the cabinets under your sinks too…especially if they are on an outside wall. Replace any worn or missing pipe insulation now and know where your water shut off valve is located. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure you remember to purge the lines of all water so it doesn’t lead to a burst line that you have to discover come spring! And don’t forget to turn off your outside faucets before the deep freeze sets in…that’s an often overlooked source of potential misery!
- Check your windows and doors. This is the best time to weatherize your windows and doors and check for any new draft areas that may have developed over the summer. No one complains about a gentle breeze in the summer, but they feel like ice knives in the dead of winter! Check the integrity of the weatherstripping around the windows and doors and replace if it’s cracked or missing; the same goes for an caulking that you may have around the windows and doors. It’s also a great time to clean the storm windows and make sure that they are functioning properly and will fit snuggly in their frames when Old Man Winter comes to town. And it’s not a bad idea to give your screens a quick look over…I know that our cats like to scratch at the screens when little bugs fly by…so I will also be replacing the damaged screens now so they are ready to roll come spring!
- Check your heating system. Before you really need to use it, it’s a great idea to make sure it’s in proper working order. If you need to have your furnace cleaned, now is the time to get it done when the HVAC companies are less busy.
- Check on your fall/winter maintenance equipment. Make sure your rakes, wheelbarrow, leave bags are at the ready and in good working form. You’ll also want to check on your winter tools as well. Now is the time to stock up on ice melt and shovels as well as firing up your snow blowers. Better to know you are stocked and ready now then to find out you are NOT ready when the snow and ice are flying.
- Check your roof. We’ve had some pretty wild rainstorms that brought some good wind along for the ride so it’s important that you check for any loose or missing roof shingles and get them repaired/replaced BEFORE winter arrives.
- Check your trees for dead or dying branches and have them taken down now before they become a hazard when they are laden with snow and/or ice.
Given the cooler but sunny weekend we are expecting, now is a really great time to start getting these cleanup and winter prep activities crossed off your “honey do” list!