Fall is here — well, at least according to the calendar, fall is here. The weather in Savannah may not feel like summer's over until sometime in November, but now is the time to get to work on some colder-weather maintenance for your home. This way, you can have everything ready before the weather changes. Read on for our handy list of home maintenance to-dos for fall home maintenance.
Regularly clean gutters and downspouts.
Fall is when gutters can fill up quickly and we still have a few weeks of hurricane season so keep them clean to protect your property. Make sure all drainage areas are unblocked by leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.
Check for rotting wood.
We live in a subtropical and wet environment. Check for soft spots, which can indicate rotting wood. Problem areas to look for often occur at the bottom sashes of windows, the window sill and the bottoms of trim boards, edges and column pediments. Basically, anywhere that gravity helps water end up. Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around your windows, doors, railings and deck. Use caulk to fill the holes, or completely replace the wood if it is rotted.
Lower humidity and cooler (not yet cold) temperatures make fall a good time to paint the exterior of your home. Make sure to check for rot first and prime any repaired areas.
Inspect your roof, or hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them. If you have a lot of damage, it's time to consider replacing the entire roof.
Fall is the perfect time to divide or move perennials. Remove your dead annuals and mulch hardy perennials.
Clean your gardening tools before storing for the winter. Better still, make sure your storage area/shed is clean before storing your tools.
Cut dead branches out the trees to prevent them from coming down and causing damage in a late tropical storm or future winter storm. Wait until late winter to prune healthy trees and shrubs though.
Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn; it will allow moisture and nutrients to get into the roots. When you're done, spread fertilizer then grass seed. It's also the right time to fertilize turf grasses, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. When given adequate nutrients, turf grasses have the ability to store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring.
Pests love attics because they are full of nice warm insulation for nesting, and they offer easy access to the rest of the house. If you have gable vents that lead into your attic, it is a good idea to install a screen behind them to keep those critters out.
Check the important gadgets.
Each fall, check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and put in fresh batteries. These are very important detectors to have in a home and their importance can't be overstated. Check your furnace filters and check for drafts. We like to also add in a yearly password update for wifi and pertinent websites during this time.
Clean out your fireplace and chimney.
A wood burning fireplace is a wonderful feature to have in your home. However, unless you are well versed in chimney construction, contact a reputable chimney sweep service to do a check before the cold weather sets in. Items such as bird or animal nests built during the summer, as well as excessive soot deposits from the previous winter, can easily obstruct flues and dampers, thereby increasing the chances of chimney fires.
Take a few hours here and there for some basic fall home maintenance. It will help you spot developing problems, and, consequently, prevent costly repairs. For best results, use the tasks above as a guide; everyone's home is different and over time you will develop a fall home maintenance routine specific to your property.