Fall or autumn marks the transition from summer into winter. Fall is usually considered to start in September and ends in December. This year 2015, fall begins on September 23, early in the morning at 4:21 A.M.
Nights goes below-freezing temperatures and becomes longer and days go below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier and the leaves begin to drop off the trees. It is now the endless hours of jumping into leaf piles for kids and raking them back up for parents. Baseball season hits the homestretch, while football season is just warming up.
With these changes and with winter fast approaching, there are home preparations or improvements that need to be done.
For a lot of people, fall is the time to do a thorough house cleaning, renovation, and inspection. Others want to get organized in preparation for selling their home. For whatever reason, if you want to organize your home, here’s a list of things to do you might want to consider.
Home Maintenance Tips This Fall
Use these home maintenance tips during fall season to keep your house in shape and help keep you warm this winter:
- Gutters and Downspouts – Always clean and make sure all drainage areas are not blocked by leaves or anything. You may install gutter guards to avoid blockage. Inspect joints, and tighten brackets if needed. Clogged gutters cause ice dams. It is advised to replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.
- Roof – Roof inspection can be a DIY but you can also hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. Check if the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling. They might need to be replaced or if there’s a lot of damage, you’d have to replace the entire roof. And do not forget to check the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys. Heavy snow and ice will find its way in through the leaks and gaps.
- Water Pipes – Exterior water pipes will burst when the weather gets below freezing. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes, or else, the water can freeze up and damage the pipes. Wrap water pipes that run along exterior walls with heating tape. This will save energy and prevent them from freezing.
- Fireplace – Prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Have your wood-burning fireplace inspected, cleaned and repaired.
- Windows and doors – Due to weather and temperature changes, window seals crack and shrink. Always check your windows and doors for leaks and drafts. Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Use caulk to fill the holes or completely replace the wood. Install weather stripping around windows and doors. If not fixed, openings can cause water to get in and freeze, resulting in cracks and mold build-up.
- Lawn – Routinely rake up or use a mulching mower to shred the thick layers of leaves that settle on lawn surfaces. Large, wet leaves can compact and suffocate the grass underneath and lead to all kinds of insect and disease problems. You can also add the leaves to flower beds as a winter blanket for your garden. Fall is also a good time to aerate your lawn because it allows moisture and nutrients to get into the roots.
- Attics – Check the attic to make sure the insulation is installed properly. The vapor barrier on insulation should face down toward the living space or else, the insulation will trap moisture, causing possible water problems. And because attics are full of warm insulation – perfect for pests nesting, it is always a good idea to install a screen behind the gable vents that lead into the attic to keep those critters out.
- Basement – If you have a basement, and there is water seepage, you need to work around the foundation of your house. If nothing has hit the basement, take a walk around the outside of your house. Do you see any cracks along the foundation? You might have forgotten to water your foundation. One thing to remember is that with the soil in Texas, the foundation needs to be watered to keep it from cracking.
- Driveway – Inspect for cracks, clean, and repair any damage with driveway filler, then coat with a sealer. Seal the driveway now. It will help extend the life of the asphalt through the winter and beyond.
- Exterior – Check the exterior walls of the house to see peeling or blistering paint. Peeling paint can no longer protect the siding of the structure. Lower humidity and cooler but not so cold temperatures make fall a good time to paint or repaint the exterior of your home.
- CO detectors and smoke alarms – Each fall, always check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. These are the most important detectors in a home. They save lives from house fires and the deadly carbon monoxide.
Fall Cleaning Time
While there is a spring clean, there is also what we call autumn/fall clean. “Spring and autumn cleans are the perfect opportunities to reorganize your house,” says Shannon Lush, author of Speed Cleaning (ABC Books). Here’s a list of things to do in a fall clean:
- Furniture, Cabinets, Wardrobes and Bookshelves – Clean the furniture, cabinets and bookshelves. The best way to tackle a messy cabinet, wardrobe or bookshelf is to empty it. Then, begin cleaning, dusting and sorting what you will keep from what you won’t. Sort which ones goes into the rag bag, which ones can be sold, which ones can be donated, or which ones can be passed on to friends and relatives. When you’re done, you can rearrange the position of the furniture.
- Cupboard, Fridge and Pantry – Fall clean is also time to go through the cupboard. Sort which items are most-used and which ones can be stacked on the higher shelves. Clear and clean the shelves, then replace linings. Throw out old foods.
- Bathroom Cabinet and Medicine Cabinet – Sort through the bathroom cabinet and check the cosmetics, bath, and beauty products and clear out the expired ones or the ones that you are not using, might be that you’ve changed brands, etc. Also, sort through your medicine cupboard for any creams, cleaning products and medicines that are beyond the expiration date.
Before saying it’s all done, make sure to clean garden tools and the other tools you used during the entire fall clean before storing for the winter. When you’ve finished the fall clean, it’s “YEAH” time! Reward yourself and your family for a job well done. Go out and check out the different fall events and activities in the city. You may want to invite family friends for a visit and show off the new look of the house.