Hallelujah! Summer is coming to an end and the kids are back in school, leaving you much more time to tackle projects put on the back burner. But before you get out the spackle and paint, think about the changing weather and prioritize.
Consider these 10 Fall Maintenance Items that promise to make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises when spring comes around.
1) Stabilize Gas when Stowing Your Mower
When your mower sits unused for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate and damage the internal parts of the mower. To prevent this and keep idle gas in good condition over the winter, add fuel stabilizer to your gasoline and run the mower for approximately 5 minutes to be sure the stabilizer reaches the internal components. Another option you have is to run your mower dry before stowing it.
2) Remove Garden Hoses from Outdoor Faucets
Winter in Sacramento is no stranger to freezing temperatures, especially at night. Before the weather gets too cool, remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets to prevent water from backing up in the faucets and plumbing pipes inside the exterior walls. The cold weather can freeze the sitting water, thus expanding and cracking the faucet and pipes.
3) Drain Your Irrigation System
Piggybacking off of checklist item 2, water can freeze, expand and crack other stuff around your property. Buried irrigation lines with water sitting inside can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads to take care of in the Spring. If your don’t have drain valves, hire in irrigation professional to blow out the pipes with compressed air.
4) Seal the Exterior
Its amazing what just a little caulking can do. Seal up cracks between trim and siding, windows and door frames and where pipes and wires enter your house. This prevents moisture from getting inside and air from leaking outside. Be sure to caulk on a day where temperatures are above 50 degrees, so the caulk flows easily out of the tube.
5) Clean Your Gutters
Clogged gutters can lead to trapped water, sagging and ice dams. Remove leaves, twigs and gunk; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets; and replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.
6) Inspect Your Roof
Eyeball your roof to look for warning signs, including shingles that are buckled, cracked or missing, rust spots on flashing and black algae stains. Masses of moss and lichen is a big warning sign that the roofing is possibly decaying underneath. You should also immediately replace any loose, damaged or missing shingles.
7) Direct your Drainage
Make sure waste water is draining away from your foundation to prevent cracks and leaks from happening. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your soil slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet.
8) Check / Tune Up Your Furnace
Before you start using your furnace religiously, schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling professional to get your furnace inspected. The furnace filters should also be replaced.
9) Prune Plants
In order to prevent moisture from dripping onto roofing and siding, trim limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house. Pruning will help remove dead and diseased wood to keep plants healthy with good air circulation.
10) Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over
Before heavy use, take a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. It is not uncommon to see birds’ nests, branches, leaves and other obstructions blocking air from getting out of the top of the chimney. Also, be sure to check for cracked or missing bricks and mortar.