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Homeowners' Fall Maintenance Checklist - What you should make sure you have done before the snow flies!

School busses signal fall is here!
Fall is an important time to take steps to maintain your home!
Check out this fall home maintenance checklist

Yes, it is fall!  Once again, the upcoming busy-ness of the not too distant holidays; and a feeling of warmth, coziness and nesting is settling in.  As the nights cool down, the instinctive sense of responsibility kicks in and we know we have “stuff” to do around our homes to prepare for the oncoming cold and winter.  In Minnesota, we know our cold spell is just around the corner.  What should you be thinking about in order to get your homes ready for Fall and then for Winter? 

According to Home Improvement Expert, Danny Lipford, he recommends the following considerations to keep you cozy over the winter, save you some money, and to protect your biggest investment, your home:

Trim Back Trees and Hedges
First look for and remove dead or diseased limbs, cut back all excessive growth and then trim the bush into your desired shape.  For taller trees and thicker limbs, you may want to consider calling in a professional, especially if branches are dangerously close to power lines.  You may also need to contact your utility company, as in some instances, tree trimming may be their responsibility.

Fertilize Your Lawn
Fall is a great time to fertilize your lawn as it provides grass with the nutrients it needs over the winter.  Fall fertilizing will also help your lawn “green up” faster in early spring.  If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, hire a professional to ensure your lawn receives the right mix of chemicals and nutrients.

Seal Up Cracks and Gaps
If you were to measure the total space of the cracks, gaps and holes around the perimeter of an average home, it might surprise you to find a hole roughly three feet square.  Imagine how much heat can escape through a space that large.  To prevent heat loss from your home, inspect your home’s perimeter and apply caulking or weatherstripping wherever necessary.  Either one will reduce the flow of cold air in, warm air out, and ultimately cut energy costs. wherever necessary. 

Key areas you will want to inspect are:·

Around door and window frames
Around exterior openings including utility outlets, phone lines, outside plumbing faucet, vents and fans
Around heating and / or air conditioning
Around room air conditioners
At corners formed by siding
Openings around drain pipes in bathroom and kitchen

Inspect Your Roof and Chimney
Check your roof for signs of minor damage, missing, broken, cracked or curling shingles, or bare spots where granular coating has worn off. Be sure to have any necessary repairs done to prevent further damage.  Especially prior to any of our unpredictable winters, you will want to avoid any additional damage as a result of moisture seeping up and under loose or damaged shingles. For extensive roof repairs, consider recruiting a professional for the job.  Inspect your chimney with a flashlight, if you are able to get onto your roof, for any animals that have taken up residence in it.  

Check Your Attic For Proper Insulation
The U.S. Department of Energy suggests a value between R-22 and R-49.  Check with an Insulation Professional if you are unsure of your home’s insulation R-value. 

Your doors that lead to cold or outside areas.

Drain your outside hoses and turn off the water to them. 
Avoid these lines freezing over the winter.  These lines, if frozen, can cause big problems for you.  Taking a few minutes to do this can save you big hassles down the road.

Wrap and insulate waterlines to prevent them from freezing. Repair leaky faucets. Call a plumber if you do not know how to fix this yourself.  

Clean and Repair Gutters
Dirty, clogged gutters can cause a myriad of problems during the winter including flooded basements as well as damage to your foundation and landscaping.  To clean, simply remove all debris so that water can drain properly.  Also, consider installing gutter guards to prevent additional debris from building up.  If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, there are several options of gutter guards to consider. 

Keep Mice Out
These critters get cold, too.  Around September, mice are warmth seekers.  Their instincts tell them they need to find out where all the warm hideouts are.  You may start to hear them in your walls, depending on where you live.  Mice can squeeze through a tiny ¼ inch opening, so you will want to make sure all exterior vents are screened and that there are no gaps under your garage door.  Pet doors are another favorite point of entry for these little critters.  If you are lucky, you will not be setting traps later. If you find you need some assistance in addressing any mice, rodent, or pest troubles, you should call an experienced pest control company.  

Stack Up On Firewood
Whether you use a wood stove, or wood fireplace, this is a great time to make sure your stash of firewood is in place.  During the year, reputable firewood distributors are preparing for this time of year.  You will want to be careful to make sure the wood you are purchasing is the right kind of firewood, that will be safe, burn cleanly, and that your definition of a cord of wood is the same definition as your firewood distributor. 

Clean Dryer Vent
It is amazing how much dryer lint can accumulate in the oddest places. This should really be on your to-do list twice a year.  Unfortunately, this tends to be a job many people put off or don’t think about.  Minimally, once a year, your dryer vents, and behind your dryer should be vacuumed and cleaned.  In most cases, you can do this yourself.  If you have a gas dryer, you will want to be sure to turn off the gas supply to the dryer at the appliance shutoff valve while working on this.  If you would rather leave this to an expert, they can take care of this for you in a minimum amount of time. 

Please let The Service Guide know how we can be of help to you as you prepare your home for fall and the upcoming winter.  We can help you find a selection of reputable businesses close to you to help with your fall maintenance checklist.  Or you can contact us at 763-745-7490 for suggestions. 
As a member, you can let us know what you need done.  We can put you in touch with a reputable professional that services your area.