When you own a home, you also “own” the seasonal maintenance that comes with it. Every autumn there are a number of maintenance items which should be addressed. This list is by no means comprehensive but will get you thinking about a variety of tasks which should be done, and may inspire a few more annual cleanup or maintenance projects. Some of these jobs really should be left to professionals, especially when there are height and/or safety concerns. But there are a number of simple things that you can take care of yourself.
Wash Exterior of House
Dirt that has accumulated on the outside of your home not only looks, well, dirty…but will cause your exterior to deteriorate faster. There are those that recommend pressure washing but this must be done with extreme care so you do not cause damage. A hose and/or soapy brush plus hose may be all that you need for a once per year cleaning. Choose a warmer and not windy fall day for this job.
Clean and Inspect Gutters
Check that your gutters and downspouts are in good repair and firmly in place. If you have tall trees near your home, the first heavy rain will let you know if your gutters are clogged already. This is one of the less enjoyable tasks but whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, you will appreciate your gutters not overflowing into your flower beds or entrance-way.
If all of your neighbours have started to replace their roofs in the last couple years, it will be an indicator that your roof (assuming you’re in a neighbourhood where the houses were built around the same time) should be replaced soon. A roof bears the brunt of sun and precipitation, so it is a good idea to have it checked on an annual basis.
Deck and Outside Furniture
If you have stopped using your deck for the season, clean your outdoor furniture and cover or store it inside if possible. Clean and cover your BBQ. Remove soil (which may soon freeze) from your pots or place them in an area which is not likely to freeze. Give your deck a good gentle cleaning or careful pressure wash and inspect for damage, loose wood, nails, or vinyl.
Winterize Outdoor Plumbing
If you have an extensive sprinkler system and experience freezing temperatures in the winter, have an expert take care of the winterizing. Also drain and cover exterior faucets to prevent ice from causing messy and expensive damage.
Check and Repair Your Driveway and Walkways
Cracks in your driveway and walkways will expand in the colder weather. Cracks, holes, etc. are a hazard to vehicles and people, so have them sealed now before the weather is too cold.
Garage Door Weather-Strip
Check for tears or cracks in the weather-strip on the bottom of your garage door. Having a healthy seal will help keep your garage warmer in the winter cold.
Check Seals Around Doors and Windows
Keep the inside of your home warmer and save on heating costs by ensuring that the seals and caulking, around your doors and windows, are in good condition.
Have your fireplace and chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Safety is the paramount reason to clean the buildup on the inside of your fireplace and have the masonry and dampers checked.
Fall Lawn Care
Keep your lawn in top shape with regular raking during the fall. Aeration will help your lawn to “breathe” and fertilizer will help prevent moss and give you a thicker, greener lawn in the spring.
As your perennials become dormant, it is a good time to move them if necessary or desired. Cooler, damp or wet weather is good for this, after the flowers have lost their bloom.
Clean Lawn Equipment
Many people just put their lawnmowers and other yard care equipment directly in storage during fall and winter. Before you do this, give everything a good cleaning and inspection. Have blades sharpened, engines tuned up and everything ready to go for the spring.