With the start of fall comes a drop in temperatures and an increase of items on your To Do list. You want to make sure you make a smooth transition to autumn with these simple home and garden needs. Take care of them now and you won’t run into bigger problems down the road when maintenance could be more difficult.
1. Get your furnace serviced
Fall is an ideal time to take care of basic furnace cleaning, including changing your air filter. After a summer of wildfire smoke, your air filter could have taken a severe beating. To screen fine dust and smoke particulates, choose a furnace filter with a high rating, such as a HEPA or MERV-rated furnace filters. If you did not perform an annual cleaning of your furnace yet this year, consider fall the perfect time to take care of it. Either take it on a DIY task or hire an expert to make sure your furnace is working properly.
2. Prepare windows for winter
Now is the right time to use a warm, sunny weekend to clean your house windows, inside and out. Make a simple window cleaning solution with 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts warm tap water. Once your windows are clean, vacuum or use a cloth to remove dust and debris, including spider webs and other bug leftovers, from window sills and frames. If you need to swap out screens for winter storm windows, do it when the window glass is nice and clean.
3. Prepare your chimney for winter fires
Besides making sure you have plenty of firewood ready for cold winter nights, you should also ensure your fireplace and chimney are in good working order. Get professional help from a chimney sweep who can carefully inspect your chimney for creosote buildup, cracks, and any damage to the protective chimney cap that could lead to a house fire if not properly maintained. Having a clean chimney also helps your system draw and heat efficiently, and protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning.
4. Rake debris around your home’s foundation
As the leaves start to fall, it’s important to keep the area around your home clear of debris. If you have piles of firewood, keep the stacks away from the sides of the home or against outbuildings. Rake leaves away from the home, and dispose of them safely. Standing piles of leaves are an attractive winter home to rodents like mice and rats, as well as smaller insects that can make their way into your home.
5. Prepare garden tools for winter
As you’re putting your garden to bed for the season, don’t forget to take care of your tools. Even if you store tools in a shed or garage, it’s important to drain hoses and sprayers of water to avoid freezing and cracking. Clean dirt from shovels before they rust, and make sure they’re organized so you can find them easily in the spring. After your last lawn mowing, clean all grass and debris from your mower, and either run it until it’s out of gas or drain out the remaining gasoline or use a “fuel stabilizer” in the remaining gas. The same goes for any lawn tools like gas-powered trimmers or a garden roto tiller that you won’t need until spring. If you have tools you could use in the winter, such as your leaf blower, snow blower, or even a chain saw, now is a great time to make sure they are in good working order and you have fresh gas, oil, and any spare parts you could need this year.
6. Make sure the roof and gutters are ready for snow
Before the weather gets wintery, use a clear, warm fall day to get your roof and gutters inspected for any summertime damage. It’s always safest to get a roofing professional to inspect shingles, chimney flashing, and gutters for any damage.
Taking care of these tasks in the fall can save you a lot of trouble when the weather is much harsher in the winter. If you have questions on finding help from professional services in your area, check with reviews on local social sites, your local Better Business Bureau, and professional services organizations that provide certifications.