Boston Fall Scene | Fall Home Maintenance | A Yard & A Half

7 Essential Steps for Fall Home Maintenance

Ah, the beautiful respite of Fall.

Things are starting to cool off as pumpkin lattes and children with backpacks abound. It can be easy to be taken away by the sights and smells, the beauty and the rhythm of this season…

 

I hate to bring it up, but this feels very similar to the calm before the (multiple) storms in the winter of 2015.

Remember this?

Homeowner hangs out of window attempting to chop ice off his roof.
Image source: The Boston Globe

This New Englander had no idea he’d be fighting off roof leaks in the dead of winter. Poor guy.

 

So before the holiday season sets in, take advantage of the temperate Fall weather to prepare your home for winter. Here are 7 tips and a few of our favorite local professionals to help get you started.

1. Maintain your lawn and beds

Before the leaves fall, re-seed any parts of your lawn that didn’t survive the drought. Remember to continue watering your lawn and trees, especially as you plant bulbs to flower in the spring. Gathering fallen leaves is a great way to add more organic matter to your compost and nutrients to your grass for the spring. Or you can grind the leaves up and use them for mulch!  Lastly, don’t forget to empty all the soil from your planters and pots; if they’re left outside frozen dirt can lead to cracks.

2. Clean the gutters

Our friends at Cherkas Home Improvement will happily unclog your gutters after the leaves have fallen, one of the primary causes of ice dams. Have them inspect gutter joints and tighten any loose brackets if necessary. If you want to be pro-active, install new gutters with built-in leaf guards.

3. Caulk windows; Seal doors and structural openings

“Heating and cooling amount to 47% of the energy costs in your home. Proper sealing and insulation can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs, or up to 10% on your total annual energy bill,” says Katie Cody, spokeswoman for Lowe’s. Simply feel for air leaks around windows and doors with your hand. Then keep out the cold by weather stripping and caulking those areas. A tight seal is necessary to prevent drafts. Don’t forget your garage door!

What you want to do outside is walk around and carefully check your foundation for cracks. To keep in the heat, caulk any pipe or wire entrance points, as well as the conjunction between masonry and siding. If you want help with any of this, again Cherkas Home Improvement is great to work with.

4. Rooftop maintenance

“Ice, rain, snow, and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs,” says Jay Butch, Director, Contractor programs for CertainTeed Roofing. “Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm.” Any missing or loose shingles need to be replaced. We recommend Landmark Roofing in Newton, MA.

5. Seal the driveway

Inspect your driveway for cracks. Clean out and repair any damage with driveway filler, then coat with a commercial sealer. Sealing the driveway now will help extend the life of the asphalt through the winter and beyond.

6. Check out the deck

If anyone slips on ice this winter, you want to make sure the supports, stairs, and handrails will prevent them from falling. Make any repairs before it’s too late. Time for a fresh start entirely? We love Asher Nichols & Craftsmen for deck additions and other work like this.

7. Turn off the water!

Make sure to drain your garden hoses and bring them inside. In addition shutting off outdoor water valves will prevent pipes from bursting at freezing temperatures.