Fall weather is here with vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges, saturating skylines and grassy fields alike. The crisp, cool breezes blow through the air, shocking our senses and reminding us that Summer is, in fact, truly gone.
Now it is sweater weather! And pumpkin-flavored everything!
1. Clean up before you close up
Before closing up your home for the cold winter months, you want to clear out all the dust, dirt, pollen, and muck that’s been accumulating throughout the summer. The last thing you want to do is get stuck inside with all of that for the next few months – especially if you have allergies!
- Check and clean your air filters
- Wipe down the blinds, wash the curtains, and clean the ceiling fans, floors, and carpets.
- Wash the walls, windows, doors, baseboards, etc.
- Get behind and under all the furniture like couches, beds, bookshelves, etc.
2. Declutter and tidy up
Purge, purge, purge. Items you no longer use or do not want either sell, donate or throw out,
Whatever you choose, getting this done at least twice a year just makes the job that much easier.
3. Get rid of unwanted guests
Our homes tend to get invaded during the summer and become safe havens for critters like bugs, spiders, flies, etc. Fall cleaning is the perfect time to get into all the crevices around your home and get rid of those guys.
- Vacuum and wipe down all the corners and creases at the ground and ceiling level
- Wash the window sills
- Don’t forget the closets!
NOW FOR THE OUTSIDE:
1. Clean and store summer garden tools.
If you've got a lawn to mow, there's no doubt you're already noticing the shorter days. Nothing like mowing the lawn after dark! With shorter days and slower growing grass, it's time to start thinking about storing your mower, rakes, and wheelbarrow for the off seasons. If you have an electric mower, you’ve got it easy. But if you have a gas-powered mower, you’ll have a little extra work to do. We asked a New England mower dealer about the top reason mowers give their owners trouble in the spring, and this was his number one: If you leave gas in the tank, it can deteriorate and damage internal engine parts over the winter. Avoid this by either running the tank dry before storing it, or adding fuel stabilizer to your gasoline can and topping off the tank before you put it away.
You’ll also want to ensure an easy startup in the spring by lubricating your pistons. Simply remove the spark plug (once the engine is cool of course) and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole. Pull the start cord a couple of times to distribute the oil.
When you’re ready to do a final cleaning, turn the mower off and turn it on its side to remove grass and remaining gunk from the deck.
2. Put away hoses and shut off exterior faucets.
If you live in a cold weather climate, hoses left attached to outdoor faucets can cause costly damage to your pipes and exterior walls. If water backs up in the pipes, it will likely freeze, expand, and then crack the hardware. So make sure to remove, drain, and store your outdoor hoses and turn off the shutoff valves that lead to those faucets. If you're not sure where to locate your shutoff valves, ask your plumber to show you. If your house has a basement, that's likely where you'll find it.
3. Drain and turn off your sprinkler system.
Even underground irrigation systems can freeze and burst, so it’s important to turn off the water to your main sprinkler system, shut off any automatic controls, and open the drain valves to remove water trapped inside. You’ll also want to shake excess water from your above-ground sprinkler heads.
Don’t have drain valves? Hire a professional to blow out the pipes with compressed air. This will run you about $100, and will prevent costly repairs come springtime if any of your pipes burst.
4. Clean your gutters and downspouts.
5. Check the condition of your roof.
Since it’s your home’s first line of defense against wind, rain, and snow, it’s important to make sure your roof is in tip-top shape before the seasons turn. You can check for missing or loose shingles yourself, or better yet, hire a roofing professional to check it out and make any repairs. This is the best time of year to do maintenance on your roof.
6. Tend to trees and shrubs.
One of the most important home maintenance you can do in the fall is to cut the dead off your trees. This can prevent falling limbs, limit damage to your home during heavy winds and rain, and can also help preserve your trees through to the spring. Fall is also the best time to prune your plants in any climate simply because the summer growing season has come to an end.
Do you have a pool? Best to consult a professional for at least your first year as a pool owner. And always examine your pool cover for damage and replace if necessary.
Now that you have accomplished so much, kick back and enjoy that pumpkin spiced whatever.