Get ready for fall — late summer maintenance tips for indoors and out

10_Fall_Home_Maintenance_MustsThe tomatoes are ripe, the crickets are warming up and the days are getting shorter – the end of summer is upon us. Before we’re busy raking leaves, let’s take a look at some of the late summer maintenance we can do on our houses inside and out to make the next season a little easier.

 OUTSIDE

 Fertilize: Even though the grass growth is slowing down and you’re not mowing as often, there’s plenty going on under the surface. In fact, grass roots will grow until the ground is about 40 degrees, so early fall is a good time to fertilize. Use a spreader to apply fertilizer at the beginning of the season and again just before the first frost.

Gutters: Your gutters are moving thousands of gallons of water away from your home every year, so they deserve a little TLC. Inspect your gutters for clogs, rust and corrosion. If they’re in good shape, you don’t have to do more. If the gutters are filling up with debris all year, consider having Gutter Helmet installed so you never have to clean them again. If they’re rusted or falling off your house, it might be time for new gutters. Either way, give us a call and we can assess how your gutters are doing and whether something else is needed.

Windows: Drafts around doors and windows can add 10 percent to your heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If new windows and doors aren’t in the cards, seal up leaks with caulk and weather stripping. How do you know? You can hold a lighted candle next to a door or window frame (be careful not to set it on fire!) and watch for flickers. If you see some, you have a draft. This is another area where our expertise can help.

Roof: Inspect your roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing or leaky vents. If you’re not comfortable doing this job yourself, a professional can give you the info you need.

SAFETY INSPECTIONS

This is a good time for a once-a-year review of your home’s safety features and fire evacuation plan.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: replace the batteries in each now if you didn’t do it when the clocks changed last spring. (The time change is a good time to do it because it helps you remember to put fresh batteries in every six months.) Dust or vacuum the detectors to keep them clear, and test them by pressing the test button. There should be a smoke detector on every floor of your home, even the basement.

Fire extinguishers: Every home should have at least one extinguisher with an A-B-C rating on the label, which means it’s rated for all types of fire. Every year, check the indicator on the pressure gauge to make sure it’s charged, make sure the lock pin is in place and that the nozzle is clear. If anything seems amiss, or if you’ve had it for more than six year, replace it and mark the new one with the date of purchase.

Escape plans: Every bedroom, including those in the basement, should have two exit paths. Upper-floor bedrooms should ideally have a rope ladder near the window for emergency exits. Regardless, review with your family what to do in case of fire, and have a drill so you can practice what to do.

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