Keeping Your Home in Tip Top Shape
As you know, the list of things you have to do routinely to keep your home in top shape can be a little daunting, especially for new home owners. I recommend breaking the list down into seasons so that it is easier to manage. So below is my list of items for fall.
Checklist for This Fall
Clean out the guttersFall is the best time clean the gutters in preparation for the winter weather. Cleaning gutters isn’t that difficult of a task, it’s just time consuming. The easiest way to get rid of the leaves and debris is to use a hose with a high pressure nozzle, and then use a small trowel to scrap at any debris that is stuck in the bottom. Note: Make sure your windows are closed when spaying near them or you could end up with water in the house. I speak from experience here. Once you have gotten rid of all the debris, give your gutters a final spray.
B. Lawn Sprinkler System
By the middle of September you can decrease your watering time. By the 2nd or 3rd weekend in October it is recommended that you have the water to the system shut off and blow it out with compressed air in order to remove all water. This reduces the chance of broken pipes that ice can cause in our winter climate. Some people wait until the end of October however your lawn’s growth has generally slowed down and it is becoming dormant by October. So unless it is an unusually hot and dry Fall, you can start saving some water. Please note: Trees and shrubs, particularly younger ones, need to have some water throughout the Fall and Winter. So keep a hose out and handy, but not attached to the faucet and plan on hand watering these guys from time to time throughout the winter.
C. Evaporative Coolers (Swamp Coolers) or Window Air Conditioners
When the temperatures start to cool down you should Winterize your Evaporative Cooler. The basic steps involve disconnecting it from the water supply and draining the bottom pan. I leave the drain open so that any water that may collect during the winter can drain away. Change the cooler pads. The last step is to install a Cooler cover. If you do this you will prevent the rain or snow water from causing the problems. But more importantly it stops the outside air from entering the home or building being supplied by the Evaporative Cooler. Most newer home Coolers have a damper that can be closed that will prevent most of the air from entering the ducts and getting into the building. If you have a window mount Air Conditioner it should be removed from the window and stored in the garage or basement.
D. Caulking and sealing openings
Check basement windows for drafts, loose frames or cracked panes.
E. Furnace filters
Put in a new furnace filter. This is also a good time to consider having your ducts cleaned, so you’re not blowing around the dust that has been collecting over time. Plan to replace your filters several times during the winter.
F. Attic Vents – Don’t close those vents.
G. Pots and planters
Move pots and planters into a protected area or cover them. If you leave the soil uncovered in the pots then water collects in the soil and freezes, the water will expand and crack the pots. If the pots are really big but you can move them, then turn them over so that the water can’t collect inside. Otherwise remove the soil from the pots.
H.Weed and feed the lawn
The best time to weed and feed the lawn is in the fall. If you add weed killer in the fall, the weeds will store the poison in their roots during the winter season, and will prevent a breakout in the spring. By feeding your lawn with fertilizer (a high phosphorous mix) in the fall, you are promoting healthy root growth, and this will help your lawn grow greener and faster in the spring.
I. Give your tools a tune-up
Once you have finished your fall maintenance chores, make sure you clean your tools and store them in a dry place so they will be in working order once spring arrives. Be sure to store metal shovels with the head upwards, as this will help avoid rusting when it dries. Sheers need to be oiled up, wheel barrels should be left upside down and don’t forget to spray off the underside of the lawnmower.
J. Planting Bulbs ( Tulips and Daffodils for Spring)
Spring bulbs can be planted from Mid-September until mid-November, as long as the ground is easily workable. Still planting the earlier the better for healthy flowers in the Spring. Pick bulbs that are large, full and firm. If the winter is dry make sure to water planting beds along with your shrubs and trees.