With each changing season, your home endures temperature changes, weather elements and aging, on top of typical day-to-day use. To keep your home’s components running in tip-top shape, not to mention avoid costly repairs down the road, it’s important to perform seasonal maintenance. Get a jump start on fall with these helpful DIY home and yard maintenance tips.
Inspect and clean your gutters and downspouts
Clogged gutters can damage exterior surfaces and lead to a wet basement. Your roof’s drainage system reroutes thousands of gallons of water from your home. Before the leaves begin to fall, clean your gutters and cover them with mesh guards to prevent debris from building up.
Examine downspouts for damaged or loose pieces. You should also inspect the area around your chimney and skylights, if applicable, for possible leaks.
Block drafts and seal leaks
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy costs. Leaks are commonly located where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys and along the foundation.
Air also makes its way in around doorways and windows. Buy doorsweeps to minimize airflow under exterior doors and caulk or apply weather stripping to drafty spots around windows. You can spot drafts by holding a lit candle near the frame of a closed window or door. If the flame flickers at any point along the frame, you have an air leak.
Prepare your fireplace
Having a fireplace can be a huge advantage for homeowners wanting to cut down on costs of central heating during the cooler months. If you plan on using your fireplace throughout the fall and winter, invest in a chimney sweep. The National Fire Protection Association recommends homeowners having a chimney sweep remove soot and debris from your chimney once a year.
Appreciate your deck
With constant backyard barbeques and outdoor gatherings your deck sustains a large amount of wear and tear throughout the summer. Pressure-wash your deck and apply a coat of water sealant to protect it from the elements. Also, don’t forget to clean your patio furniture and store it to prevent rust and mold.
Keep your yard in shape
Take advantage of the cool fall weather and give your lawn a little TLC. Follow the following tips to get your lawn winter-ready:
- Adjust your mower deck to normal mowing height, about 2 inches tall. Cutting your lawn shorter in autumn keeps grass from being matted down by leaves and snow.
- Fertilize! Fall is the best time to fertilize, especially if you live in the Northern part of the country.
- Repair dead patches to avoid fewer weeds come spring and summer.
- Aerate your lawn to improve drainage and loosen the soil.
- If your lawn has an irrigation system, completely drain it before the first freeze occurs.
Preparing for seasonal changes does not need to be a time-consuming or money-draining task. Perform the following tasks in a matter of hours:
- Check and test smoke detectors and CO monitors.
- Clean or replace furnace filters.
- Hire a professional to check the performance of your heating system.
- Have your lawn/garden tools serviced after you are through with them for the year. If you are in the market for new tools – look now for great deals!
Completing these tasks in a timely manner will help you avoid a stressful situation if winter should come early.
Image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff at FreeDigitalPhotos.net