It’s officially autumn which means; there are some essential home maintenance projects you might consider adding to your to-do list. Many of these are much easier to complete before the snow starts to fall, while others, are important to complete before the snow (and freezing) settle in.
Putting away your outdoor furniture can greatly extend its life – after all, we all know how harsh our Calgary winters can be!
Give it a quick wipe down, let it completely dry, and put it away somewhere sheltered for the winter months. If you wish, you can cover it up to give it some extra protection and keep the dust off. This will make it a really quick, and easy, transition when you bring it out again in the spring!
Not only is pruning healthy for your trees, it can also help you avoid dealing with an unexpected accident during unruly weather!
Windy, snowy, or stormy days can put dead, dying and brittle branches at risk of detaching from trees.
I recommend pruning ‘before’ all of your leaves fall off to make it easier to determine which branches are in need of being removed. If you’re unsure, contact your local arborist.
If you have an outdoor air-conditioning unit, choose a sunny day to clean, winterize, and cover up your unit. This will extend its life and help prevent critters from taking up shelter inside.
If you have an A/C unit that is mounted in a window, be sure to remove it and put it away for the season. Otherwise, you might be leaving an easy path for your warm house air to escape and the cold winter air to make its way into your home.
I know…no one wants to climb up a ladder to do this but trust me; you also don’t want to deal with the type of water problem that can occur from a leaky roof!
If you’re really nervous about heights, at least grab a pair of binoculars and have a careful scan from the ground.
Regardless, what you are looking for are bent, cracked or missing shingles. If you find some, they need to be replaced.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, or if you find too many to deal with individually, contact your local roofing company.
While you’re on that ladder, have a look at your gutters. You want to make sure they are free from debris, and in good repair, so melting snow and water can flow freely away from your house.
Your downspouts will need the same consideration.
If you do need to remove some leaves or fragments, I would suggest doing it when things are dry. They will be much easier (and less gunky) to deal with.
Raking up leaves has a purpose beyond just keeping things looking tidy around your yard.
Healthy lawns need airflow, water, and nutrients…all things they might be denied if the grass is covered up with fallen leaves (this can ‘suffocate’ your lawn).
Leaves left over the wintertime can also put your lawn at risk of developing snow mould.
Use a rake, leaf blower, or lawn mower (with a bag attachment) to remove leaves from your grass. Don’t forget to put them in your City of Calgary green bins.
You can also use a mulching mower, or mulching blade attachment for your lawn mower, to shred the leaves and grass. This all can simply be left on the lawn to act as a natural fertilizer.
Take a quick scan around your home and make sure there aren’t any openings in the form of small holes, gaps, or cracks – especially on the foundation. If you spot any, you will want to give them attention right away, as they can be a source of entry for water and/or small critters. Yikes!
Don’t forget to also inspect the areas around doors and windows and, also, where wires and cable lines enter your home.
Clean, lint-free dryer vents (not just the screen) are important for so many reasons.
Cleaning your dryer vent will help your machine run more efficiently AND can help you avoid an accidental fire caused by highly flammable lint igniting from static electricity.
Don’t forget to turn off the power to your dryer, from the breaker-box, before you begin.
To avoid the risk of damage (from freezing) to your irrigation system, you will want to turn off the water supply, ‘blow out’ your system, and shut down the irrigation program.
If you have an air-compressor, you might be able to do this yourself. The other option is you can contact an irrigation company to arrange for what is called, ‘winterization’.
This is best done well before things start to freeze in the ground otherwise you risk not being able to completely, and thoroughly, winterize your system.
It is a good idea to drain your garden hoses of water and remove them from your outside spigots/hose bibs. This will help protect, not only your hoses but also, your inside water pipes.
Don’t forget to also turn of the water to the outside spigots – the shut-off valve should be located inside your house.
I know, I know…adding more things to your to-do list might not be your idea of a good time but, protecting, what may be your biggest investment (your home) is so important! Being pro-active about home maintenance can save you a great deal of time, and money, in the future.
So, choose a nice, warm fall day (or weekend), grab your favourite drink of pumpkin-anything, and check these off one by one!
If you have questions about any of these, or would like recommendations on service providers, please don’t be afraid to reach out to me anytime at all!
If you found this list interesting, you might also be interested in checking out my other blog post, ‘Home Maintenance Checklist -10 Tips You Should Know’.