The leaves change color, the weather cools down, everything is pumpkin-spiced flavored – what's not to love about Fall? It may be a little while before the weather really starts to cool down here in Austin, but Fall is a good time to take care of projects around your home before the shorter days make doing outdoor chores too difficult.
Check these items off your list this Fall, and you can rest easy, enjoying your pumpkin spice latte knowing that your home and yard are ready for the change in seasons.
Important things to do around your home this Fall:
1. Care for trees and shrubs.
If you have trees on your property, consider hiring an arborist to care for them — these pros can spot signs of poor health early on to prevent tree loss, and know how to prune properly to avoid falling limbs in winter storms.
“The most important maintenance for a homeowner to do in the fall would be trimming [the] dead out of trees,” says Bryan Gilles, owner and arborist at Arbor Doctor in Calabasas, California. “Trees are going dormant at this time, and are less likely to get a disease.” Because trees are slowing growth in the fall, it’s not an ideal time to plant a new tree, as the roots may have trouble getting established. For treatments, Gilles recommends fungicide injections in the fall to prevent diseases such as diplodia, which can affect pine trees.
It’s also a good idea to observe your trees throughout the fall, keeping an eye out for signs that signal a need for intervention. “Early change in leaf color, pines looking thin and/or needles turning brown, and dead branches are all signs of diseases,” Gilles says. “Ash trees spotting yellow sporadically around this time of the year is a bad sign of a disease called ash yellows, since ash trees are one of the latest to turn.”
2. Rake leaves.
Leaves look beautiful blanketing the ground, but leaving too many leaves on a lawn over winter in a snowy area can inhibit spring growth. To make the job easier, choose a lightweight rake, wear gloves to protect your hands and use handheld “leaf scoops” to bag leaves quickly.
3. Make exterior repairs.
Take a walk around your property, looking for signs of damage to the roof, siding and foundation. If you spot anything that needs repair, schedule it before winter weather hits.
4. Seal gaps where critters could enter.
Mice need only a tiny gap to be able to sneak into your house and raid your pantry — and with colder weather coming, all of the little critters out there will be looking for warm places to make a home. Fill small holes and cover any larger gaps securely with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep the wildlife outdoors.
5. Check walkways, railings, stairs and the driveway for winter safety.
When the landscape is covered in ice and snow, just walking from the driveway to the front door can be quite a challenge.
Make navigating around your home safer by checking that all stairs are in good shape and have sturdy railings, and that the driveway is in good repair to make for easier shoveling.
6. Add weatherstripping.
Weatherstripping applied around the frames of windows and doors helps boost winter warmth and cut energy costs. Add door sweeps to the base of drafty doors to keep heat in and cold air out.
7. Check safety devices.
-Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed.
-Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.
-If you haven’t checked your home for radon, fall is a good time to do so — as the weather gets cooler and windows stay shut more often, radon is more likely to become trapped in your home.
-Radon at high enough levels is extremely harmful, so if you find that your home has radon (a radon level of 4 or above is considered unacceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency), hire a contractor qualified to fix radon issues.
8. Clean dryer vents.
Lint buildup in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire — cool, dry fall weather increases static electricity, which can ignite lint that has built up, so now is a key time to get that lint out. You can hire a duct cleaning specialist to clean the vents for you, or clean the vent yourself.
9. Deep-clean the kitchen.
Take a day to tackle some of the more labor-intensive cleaning tasks, and keep your kitchen working efficiently and looking great:
-Degrease the range hood and filter
-Clean the oven
-Vacuum the refrigerator coils
-Scrub tile grout
-Clean light fixtures
-Wash the walls and backsplash
-Wash the garbage can and recycling bins
-Clean small appliances
10. Schedule a chimney cleaning and heating system maintenance.
Making sure your chimney and furnace or boiler are cleaned, maintained and in working order before you need to turn on the heat is an important safety measure. And be sure to add a chimney cap if you don’t already have one — it will stop critters from crawling down your chimney!
Fall Home Maintenance tips numbers 1-10 we're originally written and posted by Forbes.com. Click here to read the full article.