With the kids back in school and the sun rising later, it’s time to think about preparing your home for fall.
Wait, did I hear a groan? Yes, I know summer is fun, what with the trips to the beach or pool, and evenings that seem to last forever. Personally, I adore autumn. I love the darker mornings, the cooler temperatures, and the brilliant blaze of color that paints the trees.
Fall chores, though? Not so much.
Don’t do as I’ve done in years past and tell yourself there’s plenty of time to get these things done. Mother Nature has been an unpredictable old biddy lately. Start now, spread them out over two or three weekends, then rest assured your home is ready to handle whatever the season brings.
7 Steps To Preparing Your Home For Fall
1. Fertilize Your Lawn
According to experts, fertilizing your lawn in autumn protects it over the winter and helps it green up faster come springtime. Fall feeding is especially important in areas with dry summers.
Dosing your lawn with fertilizer in autumn will trigger the renewed growth of both blades and roots, so your grass will be thick and healthy again before winter’s colder temperatures set in.
2. Get Your HVAC Serviced
Your AC has been faithfully chugging along all summer. Now it’s time to give it a rest. Before you tuck it away for the winter, be sure to clean the coils. You can find YouTube videos showing how to do this safely.
If you’re done using the AC for the year, cover the outdoor unit to keep debris and ice from damaging your system. Then move indoors and switch your thermostat from cooling to heating. Change the filter, too. You should also make sure all indoor vents are uncovered, and maybe clean your own air ducts while you’re at it.
3. Clean The Gutters
Clogged gutters will channel water down the side of your home where it eventually damages the foundation and can flood your basement. So get a ladder and pull debris out of the gutters by hand. If you have a one-story house, you can use this leaf-blower attachment to blast the stuff. Still too much work? Hire a gutter cleaning company — they’re worth it.
4. Drain And Store Your Lawn Equipment
Over time, unused fuel goes through chemical changes that create deposits and destroy your lawn equipment. So drain the tanks of your lawn mower, leaf blower, and weed eater before storing them. Fall is also an excellent time to get your lawn mower blades sharpened so they’ll be ready for next Spring.
5. Turn Off And Drain Outdoor Faucets And Sprinklers
Outdoor hoses and pipes will burst if they’re full of water when the temperatures plunge below freezing. While replacing a garden hose isn’t that difficult, it’s incredibly expensive to dig up your lawn’s sprinkler system to deal with burst pipes. So, disconnect your outdoor hoses and turn off the outdoor water supply. Open outdoor faucets and run your sprinkler system to drain any remaining water. Then take these steps to prevent frozen pipes.
6. Inspect And Clean Your Chimney
When I think of chimney cleaning, I always picture Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins singing “Chim-chim-e-ny, chim-chim-e-ney, chim, chim, cheroo.” It’s a charming song!
Nothing is charming about filling your home with soot, smoke, and carbon monoxide because your chimney isn’t working correctly. Even gas fireplaces need an inspection to ensure the pipe is free of cracks that can allow smoke to enter your home. This job is best left to pros. The cost runs around $100-200.
7. Get Your Ice Melt And Snow Blower Ready
By the time winter arrives, it’s often too late to find snow gear. Stock up on such things in autumn when they’re plentiful and lower-priced. Even if you think you’ve got enough left from last year, or that your snow blower or shovel are in good shape, take a few moments to check. You don’t want to get caught out in the cold finding out you’re wrong.
As with most home maintenance tasks, preparing your home for fall isn’t tricky, just time-consuming. Putting it off causes problems that can wind up costing you an enormous amount of money, though, so set aside time on the next couple of weekends to get these jobs done.
Note: This article first appeared on Sept. 14, 2016. It has been revised and updated for republication.