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Fall is Outdoor Maintenance Time — Are You Aware of What You Need Done?

By: Tonya Bruin

We know that winter can be painful to even think about. And, some of us would rather wait until the first snowfall to face the reality of its arrival.  Unfortunately, that’s never a good idea when it comes to winterizing your home. The reality is that fall is outdoor maintenance time, and once the leaves begin to change, it’s time to face the music and get your home ready for the onslaught of winter weather before it appears. To help ensure you cover your bases, here are our top must-do fall outdoor maintenance tasks.

Store Summer Items

Any garden equipment, lawn chairs, barbeque equipment, and other summer items should be taken down/away around mid-season and stored until next year. Also, don’t forget to drain any gas-powered tools before putting them away. We also recommend tidying up your shed and garage to prevent mould and rust from developing.

Clean Out Gutters

The combination of leaves, rain, and wind can create serious blockages throughout your eavestrough system. And without clearing them out, you could be facing bigger problems, like water damage, in the near future. Ensure the gutters are cleaned out and that your system and downspouts are functioning properly to divert water away from your home (we don’t clean gutters ourselves, but we can delegate this task for you to the best of the best).

Apply Weather Stripping & Caulking

After the hot summer season, your weather stripping and caulking can begin to deteriorate, leaving gaps and cracks along the edges of your windows and doors. Make sure you address this before the first frost and winter dampness hits! Spend a moment inspecting and reapplying weather stripping or caulking to any areas that are prone to drafts to keep your home air-tight and comfortable. That way, you’re better prepared for the colder seasons of the year and also get the most value out of your heating system.

Repair Walkways

Once the ground becomes blanketed in snow and ice, wobbly interlock and paths can become treacherous. If you have any broken or uneven pathways, stairs, or if your porch requires some maintenance, have them seen to now before they get buried in snow. Getting a professional handyman or renovator to ensure a smooth, safe way to access all entrances and exits on your property is essential to being prepared for emergencies – including safe escapes in the event of a fire and welcoming family over the Christmas holidays!

Check Ventilation

Leaves and sticks stuck in your laundry room exhaust? Or, has that tree overgrown and blocked an air vent? When that furnace is on and a sideways blizzard is occurring outside, the last thing you want to do is head out and make sure your ventilation is in working order. We’re talking about exhaust pipes, intake vents and the like, which work to ensure fresh, clean air enters your home and stale old air is filtered out. Otherwise, you could encounter various health and wellness issues, and nobody wants that!

Prepare Your Garden

Finally, if you have shrubs and trees in your yard, now’s the time to trim them and apply burlap to buffer them from the weather. Don’t forget to cut any overhanging branches over sidewalks and areas of your home to prevent injury or damage to your roof and surrounding structures.

Drain the Water Lines

Leaving your outside hoses connected can cause the water to freeze and expand, damaging the pipes and faucets inside your home. To prevent this from occurring, turn off the outdoor water supply, drain the water lines, and disconnect the hoses during the fall. Outside faucets should also be covered with insulation or a faucet protector to reduce the likelihood of frozen pipes happening during a deep freeze.

Check Roofing Materials

Fall is also a good time to inspect your roof and take care of any minor issues that you may have before the first snowfall arrives. Safely get up on a ladder and look for any signs of damage – cracked, wrapped or missing shingles, small holes, loose flashings, or a broken chimney cap. Even if it’s minor, any issues should be immediately addressed before it can develop into a bigger, more costly issue over the wintertime. 

Fill Small Holes

Mice and other critters will look for tiny gaps along your foundation to sneak into your home when the weather cools down. To keep them out, check along the perimeter for any small holes and then fill them with caulking or hydraulic cement.

Winterize the AC Equipment

Your exterior air conditioner unit should also be winterized to protect the parts from snow and ice, and prevent critters from nesting inside. Once you’ve cleaned all the parts, simply turn off the power supply, install insulation around the pipes and cover the unit with a waterproof cover to help keep the cold air from entering your home. 

Aerate the Soil

Another important part of your fall maintenance routine is to aerate your lawn. Puncturing small holes into the turf will help to create extra pore space in the soil, allowing nutrients to reach the roots. The increase in seed and soil contact will also increase overall the growth and contribute to a thicker, greener lawn come spring.

Inspect the Window Wells

It’s also recommended to inspect the state of your window wells in the fall when built up debris is most common. If you find any debris around the windows, it should be cleaned away to prevent pooling water and drainage issues that could lead to flooding. In addition, the caulking on the liners should be reapplied to prevent water from entering in from any small gaps or holes. 

For a maintenance-free fall season, give us a call at To Do-Done instead of tackling that large list of tasks on your own! Our team of experts can take care of just about any outdoor maintenance projects you need – big or small. We also perform interior maintenance and complete renovations. Contact us today to learn more!