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Nov. 27, 2021

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Add these items to fall maintenance list

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Debris and leaf buildup in your gutters can cause roof and foundation damage. Gutter cleaning is an important step in fall home maintenance.
Debris and leaf buildup in your gutters can cause roof and foundation damage. Gutter cleaning is an important step in fall home maintenance. (Dreamstime) Photo Gallery

Although temperatures may not be dropping across all of the nation, we’re entering the fall season, and that means it’s time to prepare your home for changes. Here are seven essential tasks to take care of your home over the next few months.

Gutter cleaning

This is a deceptively simple but important maintenance task that protects your roof, lawn, attic, foundation and basement. Overflow from clogged gutters can create backup on your roof in freezing weather or pooled water right next to your foundation during nonfreezing times. A gutter cleaning ensures smooth drainage every time.

Put the yard to bed

Aerate your lawn to improve root development. Put away all lawn equipment and hoses, as well as drain gasoline. Sow grass seed in bald spots and add fertilizer to help create a healthy lawn in spring.

Inspect your foundation for cracks

Foundation repairs can be some of the most expensive repairs your home ever requires. Fortunately, foundation cracks are easier to repair the sooner they’re addressed.

Once you’ve discovered structural problems, call a pro as soon as possible to address them.

Get a garage door tuneup

Your garage door needs to be checked out every year or so, and it’s better to get it tuned up now than when things go really wrong later on. An inspector will adjust springs and cables, lubricate moving parts, tighten hardware, and check out safety features. Here’s a little hint if you live in cold areas: Apply some petroleum jelly to the bottom of the door, which will help prevent sticking to frozen ground.

Take care of air loss

Caulk, seal and weatherstrip doors and windows where you find drafts. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to address energy loss. Whether you live in a hot climate or are preparing for a bitter winter, sealing up doors and windows will lower your energy bills and increase comfort.

Check your insulation

Insufficient attic insulation can cause energy loss and contribute to ice dams on your rooftop. The average house should have at least 12 to 14 inches of insulation in the attic. Experts say they often see only 5 or 6 inches. If your insulation is too short, hire a pro to install new insulation correctly.

Inspect your fireplace and chimney

If you have a fireplace, it needs to be inspected every year to avoid fire hazards. A professional chimney cleaner will clear out debris, check for structural damage and remove creosote buildup. Look for a pro who follows standards set by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Get your water heater drained and flushed: Tank-based water heaters should receive this maintenance at least once a year, and experts say fall is a good time. You can do this job yourself, but it often saves time, money and hassle to hire a plumbing pro.

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