mostly warm days make it a perfect time to take on some
home maintenance tasks and prepare your abode for fall.
cleaning should be at the top of the fall to-do list,
say home-care experts. Dropping leaves, twigs and other
debris can clog gutters and downspouts. That can lead to
ice dams when winterís snows and freezing temperatures
arrive, causing roof damage and water flowing into the
house, said Mike Clear, vice president of American Home
Shield, a home-warranty company.
Hicks, chief marketing officer of Angieís List, which
crowd-sources reviews of local businesses nationwide,
added that clogged gutters can also lead to water
problems in the basement because water overflows the
gutters and goes down the side of the house.
sure to wait until all the leaves have fallen since if
itís done too early, itís possible gutters will get
clogged again, said J.B. Sassano, president of Mr.
Handyman, a nationwide commercial and residential repair
gutter cleaning feels like a project homeowners can
tackle, Hicks cautioned that without the right ladder,
this task can be very dangerous. Itís a job that may
be best left to professionals, but make sure the company
has insurance and workers-compensation insurance for
their employees, she added.
and seal decks at this time, and make sure there are no
leaves stuck on them to prevent mold and algae buildup.
"Deck people recommend sealing in the fall and not
the spring to give a fresh seal to it to get the deck
through the winter," Hicks said.
is good time to trim trees that are touching the home to
avoid potential damage from thunderstorms and keep pests
away. Tree branches "make a great entryway for
squirrels into your attic. You want them trimmed away so
youíre not the winter hotel," Hicks said.
of outdoor creatures, walk the perimeter of the house
inspecting for cracks that may offer entry into the
home. Insects like ants and box elder bugs, along with
rodents will seek the warmth of a house in late fall.
Black, vice president for North America technical
services at Rentokil Steritech, a pest-control company,
said itís best to seal exterior cracks early in the
season. Rats can enter through openings only a half-inch
wide, roughly the size of a quarter, and mice through a
quarter-inch hole, roughly the size of a dime, she says.
to look up. In areas with roof rats, they often enter
around fascia or other eave/roof openings," she
insects seeking entry are harmless, but annoying, Black
said. Thereís a reason to seal up a home in early fall
at the latest. "If you seal up your house after
they are already inside you can create a situation where
they are even more annoying," she said.
an eye on fall decorations. "Hay bales can
introduce mice to your property and some decorations
like maize (corn) may provide a food source for rodents
and stored-products insects," Black said.
the home, tune up the furnace and clean chimneys so theyíre
ready before the colder weather hits, said Sassano,
Clear and Hicks.
only will a furnace run more efficiently all year long,
but just by keeping it maintained it reduces the odds
that it will go out with a mechanical break. Inevitably
they always go out on the coldest day of the year,"
energy-saving activities for the fall are to add attic
insulation or check for air leaks around windows and
said a one-eighth inch gap under the door can lead to
the same heat loss as a 3-inch hole drilled into the
side of the home. To find potential leaks, hold a
burning candle or incense stick around door and window
frames during a windy day. If the flame or smoke
diverts, weatherstripping is necessary, he said.
household chores that require time and detail like
washing the windows, removing scratches from furniture,
removing stains from carpets and rugs and cleaning
mattresses are also traditionally tackled in the fall,
said Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid, a residential
lot of these fall jobs are ones that homeowners put off,
but Hicks said many handymen will run specials for
homecare around this time, especially for the outside as
they try and book work until the end of the season.
Hicks said, homeowners in snowy areas should use this
time to line up snow-removal companies or get their snow
blower tuned up.
get very busy when the snow first falls. If you wait
until winter you wonít get anyone," she said.