Fall is the perfect time to complete home maintenance projects. The air is slightly cooler, but it hasn’t turned so frigid that working outside is uncomfortable. And since you’ll soon be spending more time indoors, sealing air leaks and checking and cleaning fire and carbon monoxide alarms will keep everyone in your home safe and cozy.
1. Clean Your Porch and Patio
Your porch and patio won’t see as much use in the colder months, so take some time to sweep and hose them down. If you have plastic patio furniture, use a solution of Dawn Ultra Dish Soap and warm water to scrub the table and chairs. Dry thoroughly with Bounty paper towels before storing indoors or covering with a waterproof tarp.
If you have potted plants on your porch or patio, bring them inside before the temperature drops below 60 F. Use this time to remove dead leaves and repot them if necessary.
2. Seal Cracks, Windows and Doors
Checking for air leaks in windows and doors prevents cold air from seeping into your home and saves you money on your next heating bill, too. Many leaks can be spotted with a detailed visual inspection of every entrance and window. Less-visible leaks can be detected by an infrared thermometer, which will detect colder air temperatures around doors and windows, indicating a leak. Seal these leaks properly with a polyurethane sealer.
3. Gutter Cleaning and Repair
Remove dead leaves, feathers and dirt from gutters before they can cause damage. Remove large debris by hand, and then use a small hand tool such as a garden trowel or spade to remove smaller pieces. Consider installing gutter guards so you can avoid clogged gutters in the future.
4. Fertilize Your Grass
To grow greener, healthier grass next spring, fertilize in the fall. The roots absorb and store nutrients during the colder months more than any other time of the year. For the best results, make sure you use the right fertilizer for your grass and your specific region.
5. Check the Carbon Monoxide and Fire Alarms
As the temperature drops we tend to spend more time indoors, preparing hearty meals, watching television next to the fireplace and celebrating the holidays with our families. That’s why it’s so important to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide and fire alarms twice a year, in the spring and fall. First, alert everyone in the house that you’re testing the alarm. Then have someone stand in the farthest point from the alarm in your house – if he or she can’t hear the alarm well, you may want to install additional alarms in areas where the sound is muffled. Finally, press and hold the test button, and change the batteries if the sound is weak or nonexistent, or if it’s been longer than six months since you last changed them. Dust all detectors with a Swiffer 360 Duster – built-up dust in the grates can prevent the alarm from working, even if you’ve just installed fresh batteries.
What is on your fall home maintenance checklist? Log on or register to share your tips in the comments section below.