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Autumn is finally here (and seemingly to stay with the cooler temps) and we’re starting to feel those subtle weather changes as we get deeper into the season. Where has the year gone? It’s hard to believe fall has arrived, but definitely important to remember that there are many home improvement and maintenance tasks that await you as a responsible homeowner. Each season it is essential to do several check-ups around your home, make repairs, and maybe even give your home decor a little pick-me-up. With that being said, we’re here to help with a handy list of tips…
1. Seal any air leaks. Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk (see our selection here) and walk around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that could waste energy. Choose a nice day when the temperature is above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.
2. Check your furnace. Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay around $50 to $100 for a checkup. An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves about 20% off the cost of a single visit. While you’re at it, change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the right time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter as well.
3. Prune your plants. Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees, when the summer growth cycle is over. Your main goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.
4. Inspect your roof. Look for any telltale warning signs: shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately. Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar (called a boot) that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape as well.
5. De-gunk your gutters. Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.