We’re just one week away from the official beginning of autumn. The weather is turning chilly, the leaves are starting to brown, and the last of our summer tomatoes are being picked. The change in weather also comes with another season of necessary home improvements. We’ve rounded up five seasonal chores you need to do to keep your house healthy and whole this fall.
1. Clean Your Gutters
Autumn is the season of falling leaves and a lot of rain. This combination means that your gutters are going to be clogged, and fast. To minimize this problem, make sure they are clean before the season starts. To do so you’ll need a sturdy ladder, some kind of garden hoe or rake, and a hose. A pair of work gloves won’t go amiss; in addition to pointed sticks and dirt, gutters can house ticks and spiders that you don’t want to get a hold of your hand.
To clean your gutters, simply use the rake/hoe to scrape the debris towards you, then drop it to the ground where you’ll hopefully have a garbage can waiting. Then, use the hose to power wash whatever is left. And don’t forget your spouts!
Actually cleaning your gutters isn’t that hard. It’s staying safe that can be tricky! If possible, keep a spotter at the base of your ladder to make sure you don’t fall.
2. As we said on Facebook earlier this week: Clean your dryer vents! Soon it will be cold outside, and you won’t want to go out and do the dirty job. However, you also don’t want your house to catch on fire. The beginning of autumn is a good time to get this chore done.
3. Make sure your roof is in top condition. If you have any leaks (which we’re confident you’ll have noticed at this point, especially when it rains) this is the time to fix them, before autumn storms and heavy winter snows put more pressure on already weak spots. Most home owners will want to hire someone to do this job for them. It can be expensive, but it will be less expensive than a giant hole in your roof!
4. Check your windows and doors for drafts. Have you noticed a crack in your front door, the wind blowing underneath? This might be a good time to replace your door with something that will keep out the cold. How about those windows? Before the cold really hits, go around your house and check the seals on your windows. If they’re dirty, they won’t seal properly, and will let out your expensive heat (and let in that winter chill). If they’re too dirty to clean, this is also a good time to replace them.
5. Check out that chimney! A clogged chimney is more than dirty- it’s dangerous to your health, and can also be a source of cold drafts in your home. Most people have trouble cleaning a chimney themselves, so it is a good idea to hire someone for this job. However, be careful that you hire a reputable service. While they are not as common in the past, chimney cleaning scams are still a problem today. Here are some good questions to ask any service you’re considering, courtesy of the Chimney Safety Institute of America:
- How long has the chimney sweeping company been in business?
- Does the company offer current references?
- Does the company have unresolved complaints filed within the city or state consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau?
- Does the company or individual carry a valid business liability insurance policy to protect your home and furnishings against accidents?
- Does the company ensure that a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will be on the job site?