Not everything is an adventure but your home is your castle and an investment. Here are some simple chores that will prevent some nasty surprises next spring.
Clean your gutters Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. Clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and debris. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts. Your plumber's snake is a great tool for pulling clumps of wet leaves out of clogged downspouts
Check for drafts Use exterior caulk and check around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. This will prevent moisture from getting inside your walls.
Drain your outdoor faucets Drain and disconnect all garden hoses from outside spigots to prevent any water freezing.
Drain Garden Hoses Drain garden hoses before putting them away for the winter to prevent freezing water from splitting the hose open. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t cause damage.
Store outdoor furniture Wet leaves and resting snow can damage your outdoor furniture. Storing in the shed is best but if you have not the room we suggest investing in a cover to protect it.
Clean Your Chimney Creosote and soot buildup in the chimney flue is dangerous because it can ignite and cause an uncontrollable chimney fire. A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8-in. or more layer of buildup, call a chimney sweep.
Fix any cracks in your driveway When water gets into cracks it freezes, expands, and can make the crack even bigger. Enough small cracks can turn into big cracks, and eventually, the concrete can crumble. Use a concrete crack sealer to fill any cracks or gaps.
Change your filters Dirty and clogged furnace filters will make it harder to keep your home at temperature. Disposable filters can be vacuumed one time before you replace it, and foam filters can just be vacuumed and not replaced. You should your filters monthly.
Cut Grass Short Rake and remove all leaves before the snow and set your mower to cut 1-1/2 or 2-in then cut your grass short. This will lessen the chance of snow mold forming.
Fertilize your lawn Ask an expert at a garden center for advice about the best fertilizer blend for your fall grass type and local soil conditions. Apply the fertilizer about three weeks before the last mowing of the season. Fertilizing in the fall provides energy and nutrients for the grass roots as they multiply in cooler weather before the grass goes dormant. The roots store food for the winter which gives the grass an initial growth spurt when it emerges from dormancy in the spring.
Prune Plants Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees after the summer growth cycle is over. Keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding. This will prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.
Clean and Stow Your Mower Use a fuel stabilizer. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer prevents gas from degrading. Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.
Test winter equipment Make sure your snowblower is in top working order and ready to take on the snow.
Change your batteries Once a year you should be checking to make sure all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices are working.