Month: October 2015

Fall Prep Part 3: Inside the Home

furnace-repairNow that the weather is starting to change, there are a lot of changes you should make as a homeowner as well.  Most of your time will probably be outside your home, but there are plenty of items inside your home that should be adjusted as well.

First thing is switching from cold to hot.  Now that it’s cooler outside, you’ll want to ensure your furnace is turned on and working properly.  This is especially important because of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.  There are likely many companies that can turn on and tune up your furnace, making sure there are no dangerous leaks. fireplace

Along these lines, you’ll want to turn off your cooling system and seal any ducts in the case of an air conditioner.  And speaking of sealing, check your home for—especially around windows and doors—for holes or cracks which can cause warm air to seep out and significantly raise your heating bill.

Now would also be a good time to reprogram your thermostat, making adjustments for the colder season and shifting schedules.

If your home has a fireplace, now would be the time to open and clean it, even starting a fire or two to get the chimney working.

IMG_6497Another great tip is to store containers of ice melt around your homes outside doors.  This makes it much easier to apply as you’re coming and going, and preventing any nasty spills to you and your family and friends.

Fall Prep Part 2: Cleanup Outside Your Home

clean-guttersThe winter is a harsh time for your home, but by spending a few hours in preparation you can prevent expensive damage and make sure winter storms don’t cause damage.  Here are some tips on getting the outside of your home and outdoor yard tools ready for the season.

Getting your summer tools stored properly is key.  A power tool that will be sitting all winter has a specific way it needs to be prepped for the long rest.  Make sure all power tools are either drained of gasoline or have long term fuel stabilizer in them.  Now’s also a good time to clean and lubricate moving parts.  This goes for non-power tools as well, things like hedge clippers, rakes and shovels.

drivewayAnd while you’re putting summer tools away, it’s a good time to get winter tools out.  Get your snow blowers ready, filled with gas and oil and make sure other seasonal maintenance is done.  For snow shovels, make sure they are in good order, that there haven’t been any cracks in the handle, shaft or blade.  There’s nothing worse than having a huge snow storm and finding only then that you don’t have the tools to dig yourself out.

Now is also the time to drain and store your hoses and faucet timers.  Any residual water can freeze, even if stored in a shed, and cause damage.  So when collecting these things, give them a shake to make sure all the water is out.

Next, covering and insulating your faucets is recommended.  Hose faucet insulators are inexpensive, but keep faucets from freezing and bursting, which could cause flooding to your home or yard.

empty-potsYou’ll also want to store any pots or planters, as those can freeze and break during heavy cold spells.

home-inspectionNext, go around your home and make sure all is in good order.  Inspect you deck or balconies to make sure they’re stable and able to handle heavy snow.  It’s also a good idea to clean the gutters on your roof and street so melting snow can run off properly without pooling up.  While you’re on the roof, check any heat tape—which helps melt ice—is working.  Finally, inspect the driveway for cracks, as these can grow worse from the freezing moisture.

All these items are part form a checklist to, which when performed, will prevent any catastrophic damage.

Fall Prep Series, Part 1: Around the Yard

fertalize-lawnGetting your yard ready for winter takes more than just shutting off the sprinklers.  If you live in an area that typically gets snow or below freezing, there are a number of things you’ll want to do to make sure your yard is prepped for the harsh season ahead.  And that all starts in the fall before any of the really bad weather comes.

All around the yard there’s some general, end-of-season clean up you’ll want to perform.  Starting with the lawn, aeration is recommended in the spring and the fall to get the soil much needed air, water and nutrients.  By aerating, you’ll have a much better lawn come spring.  In addition to aeration, feeding your lawn with a high-phosphorus fertilizer and giving it one last mow and a good watering will also help all those nutrients sink in.  Now would also be a good time to reseed any dead or worn patches.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cureRake-Leaves

And while that final watering is taking place, perform a sprinkler check up to make sure everything is running well.  If there are any problems, it’s good to fix them now, because come spring you may have forgotten or they may have gotten worse.  Also, problems like leaks and cracks in pipes or sprinkler heads can let water in, even after you’ve winterized.  This water can freeze and lead to expensive damage.

plant-bulbsWhen it comes to flowerbeds, fall is the time to pull up annuals and vegetables, and prune your perennials.  Now is also the time to plant bulbs for next year.

trim-branchesAs far as your trees go, rake up leaves and use them as mulch around your flowerbeds, giving the soil good nutrients.  And if there are any dead branches, remove them because heavy winter storms can cause them to break, causing damage to the tree and possibly other parts of your property.

All this work may take a Saturday or two, but it will save you a lot of time and energy in the spring and will yield terrific results.