Fall Home Upkeep Tips

Want your home to look good & avoid expensive repairs?

Autumn is a great time for simple tasks, as the heat of the summer has passed and it’s a great time to be outside.  Here are some seasonal upkeep activities:

#1 Plant plants and seed the lawn

Fall is a great time for grass and perennial plants to grow deep roots without the strain of the summer heat and before it gets cold.

#2 Get leaves & seeds off your roof and out of gutters

Clogged gutters can cause overflow problems and even lead to rot & leaks. Leaves can create miniature dams, cause leaks or create a dirt-like environment where all sorts of things can grow (insects, spiders & other animals can winter there!). Make sure you’re comfortable on a ladder/roof if you’re going to do it yourself. Or hire professionals.

#3 Power Wash and Seal

The summer rain, heat and humidity can create mold and grime which accumulates on decks, driveways, siding and walkways. Build-up can become slick and can lead to structural damage with decks. The Fall is a nice time to power wash these surfaces and reseal decks.  Aesthetically, cleaned surfaces can be satisfying as the dirty surfaces become bright and new.

#4 Set Up a Birdfeeder

Autumn is a great time to set up a bird feeder as birds migrate across the continent and look for places to rest. A bird feeder can attract all sorts and is a fun, low maintenance activity. A bird bath can also be nice to give them a place to wash off and drink.  Place your bird areas away from your cat areas!

#5 Trim Shrubs

It’s a good time to trim back non-blooming shrubs. Be careful not to cut off buds, so you don’t miss their Spring blooms. Trim shrubs, tree limbs & all vegetation, to keep it from touching your siding & roof.

#6 Winterize Irrigation System

If you have an irrigation system, it is important to winterize it in the late fall/early winter by removing valves and turning it off. If water remains in it through the winter, it can freeze and damage your lines. It’s also good to unhook your hoses from exterior faucets before freezing weather.  To keep your plants watered, during warm dry autumns, keep all hooked up until freezes are predicted.

#7 Seal Cracks Around Doors and Windows

Use caulk to seal openings between trim and siding, window and door frames, and areas where pipes and wires enter your house. Sealing gaps is an easy enough job and can prevent damaging moisture from entering vulnerable places and help to keep your house insulated. The Fall is a good time because caulk flows and sets most efficiently in mild temperatures.

#8 Check the Fireplace

If you have a fireplace/chimney, and plan to use it, it’s important to make sure it functions properly. Use a flashlight to look up the chimney flue to check that the damper opens and closes properly. You can look up it in daylight to see if it is unobstructed by branches, leaves or a bird’s nest. You should see daylight at the top.  You should have it professionally cleaned (though not as fun as Mary Poppins’ chimney sweeps!) each year if you use it often.

#9 Check Drainage Around the Foundation

Make sure your soil slopes away from your foundation to prevent water build up and potential damage. However, you also do not want the soil/mulch/pinestraw to touch the siding of your house to give pests an easier way in (siding more vulnerable than foundation).

#10 Service your HVAC unit

Make sure heater is working; get it fixed if needed.  Better to do in the fall than on a frigid winter evening!