- Posted by Hinged
It seems like yesterday that the screens went up and the vegetable garden was planted, but if your garden is like ours, the rabbits already ate the lettuce and the groundhogs are eating the ripe tomatoes. It’s time to fix the garden fence and also time to start thinking about getting ready for colder weather.
Here are ten tips to help you prepare your home for fall.
- Most houses have wiring, plumbing, and venting going through the exterior siding or trim that relies on caulk to keep the water out. This caulk wears out over time and can crack. Take a walk around your home and check that everything is sealed. Hinged offers a proactive painting inspection that covers this issue. Only a few specialty caulks will work in cold temperatures, so seal up everything now while it is still warm.
- While you’re dealing with the caulk, take a close look at the condition of your paint or stain. Exterior paint isn’t just about making your home look good. It also seals the siding and trim. Faded, peeling and cracked paint isn’t doing its job. With carpentry repairs, it will cost a lot more in the long run, if you wait too long to have your paint redone or at least touched up. (Read more Tips for Painting the Outside of Your Home and Making it Last.)
- If you have a heated pool and haven’t had the heater on since spring, now is the time to check that it is ready for fall. Prune back any plants that have grown too close, this can be a real fire hazard. Make sure nothing is growing above the top of the unit or within 18 inches of the sides. Open the inspection panel and make sure that no critters or insects have moved in over the summer. Clean out any leaves or debris while you have it open. Check that your pilot light or igniter is working properly and that your temperature setting is where you want it. Even if your pool temperature is where you want it, run the heater for a few minutes to make sure it is working properly. If it needs professional service, schedule it now, before the heating companies get busy.
- Keeping water out of your home is important to prevent rot, mold, and mildew. Exterior masonry can also suffer from water penetration. Water flowing around patios and walls can erode and undermine them. Water that gets into them during the winter can freeze. Water is one of the few molecules that expands when it goes from a liquid to solid state. This is why ice floats in your glass. Unfortunately, when water freezes in the seams of your patio, the expansion can crack stone and cement. Bigger cracks in exterior masonry will need to be filled with cement, but small ones can be sealed with caulk.
- The same freezing risk that applies to your masonry applies to your driveway, bigger cracks will need a repair, but smaller ones can be handled with caulks and sealers. Not taking care of this simple maintenance will dramatically shorten the life of your drive.
- Unlike your siding and masonry, water is good for your yard and plants. Spring and summer growth of your shrubs and landscape plantings may have brought them in contact with your home. At a minimum, leave about 6” between any plants and your house. I like to shoot for about a foot and half of space so there is room to walk between the plants and your home. This also will give you a little time until you need to prune again.
- While you’re tending to your landscape plants, take a look at your trees. It’s a bad idea to let any trees near your house get large enough to overhang your roof. This creates easy access for squirrels and insects. As the weather cools our furry friends will start looking for a warm place to spend the winter. Warm dry attics are really inviting and the same teeth that can crack open acorns can easily expand the smallest cracks and gaps into a roomy entrance way. Over hanging trees also endanger your home to falling limbs. The leaves can clog your gutters and the added shade can give moss a chance to start growing on your roof.
- As days get cooler and nights get longer, there will be less evaporation and your lawn will need less water. Around here the fall usually brings more rainstorms too. Overwatering stresses your grass and can actually suffocate the roots. Never giving roots a chance to dry out can give fungus and mold a chance to take over. Start dialing back the watering times on your sprinkler system and if we get a big rainstorm, turn it off for a week or so. It is much safer to let your lawn dry out than to over water it.
- If you have a wood burning fireplace, it’s a good idea to schedule a chimney sweep now. With fewer wood fireplaces in use every year, this is not a growing profession and in our area, there is a shortage of competent sweeps. The good ones get really busy in the fall. One of the best is available to schedule on Hinged so make your appointment before they get booked up.
- Chimney sweeps and heating contractors are not the only ones who get busy in the fall. Landscapers, pool, sprinkler companies and crews that clean your gutters all get busy in the fall. Right now, Hinged has availability on the calendars of trusted, quality service providers in all these areas. Schedule your services now while you can pick the dates that work for you.