If you are new to owning a home, the holiday season can be a little daunting. Between scheduling family, getting ready for guests and figuring out where you are going to fit the Turkey, the last thing a new homeowner wants to consider is fall prep. But, just like Spring Cleaning, the prep during fall is a must. It can extend the life of your home and make the rest-of-the-year maintenance so much easier. Getting your list (and checking it twice) is a great way to start! And most of the prep can be done over a single weekend making the chores seem a little less like you’re on the naughty list.
GUTTERS: Gutters are the bane of homeowners existence. They require constant cleaning in order to work properly. And fall is the perfect place to start. Even though we aren’t anywhere close to the leaf shed of the north, fall is still the #1 season for leaves. Jump start the season by cleaning gutters early and installing grates to keep larger debris out. They can be found on the worlds largest online retail site (guess who!) and most home improvement stores. Even though it doesn’t make your gutters maintenance free, it reduces the amount of time spent digging in gutter muck. And while you are up there, check to make sure gutters are attached properly. Through normal wear and tear, gutters become detached over time and need to be fixed properly.
WINDOWS AND DOORS: Spring and fall are the seasons to check for drafts. Living in Florida, cold and warm air escape at the worst times. So make sure your windows and doors seal completely keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter. Fix any small tears in screens with a DIY repair kit from a home improvement store. And removing screens to hose off spring and summer pollen can be a game changer for anyone with allergies. Clean slider tracks of debris and oil any squeaky hinges. And since daylight savings is just around the corner, consider adding a tint to any windows or doors facing east.
CRITTER GAPS: Although we are in the southernmost state, our few days of cold per year will still encourage critters to find warmth. And what better place than your attic or crawl space! Walk the perimeter of your home looking for any areas where critters could enter. Especially check soffits, fascia and any boards that may be at ground level. Check crawl spaces for any signs of residency before adding fencing or lattice. Cutting back trees will reduce the amount of jumpers trying to stake a claim to your roof top access as well.
FIX DRIVEWAY CRACKS: This is not a huge deal to those who live in the south, but the cooler weather will affect any cracks already forming in your driveway and sidewalks. When water enters a space and freezes, it expands. And although we are lucky enough to escape most of the freeze warnings, we don’t escape all of them. Leaving driveway and sidewalk cracks for a “later day” will only make the problem worse. Hire a professional and address the cracks while they are small. Your wallet will thank you!
CHIMNEY MAINTENANCE: If you have a chimney, have it cleaned BEFORE you use it for the first time this fall. We cannot even begin to relay the amount of semi-horrible stories from home owners regarding chimneys. Imagine birds flying around inside, kids toys accidentally melting, realizing you don’t have a fire poker or grate until after the wood is in flames. Please, for the sake of your home and everyone living around you, have your chimney cleaned before using it.
And done! Fall maintenance is usually a pretty short list for those of us living in the sunshine state. But it can make all the difference for the rest of the year! If you’re not into DIY, hiring a handyman is a great alternative. And if you do find a critter or an exterior crack beginning to form, we have a list of professionals that come highly recommended from local homeowners. We wish you the best of luck with your fall prep and the happiest of holidays! Stay safe and stay warm…who are we kidding, see you at the beach!