With winter fast approaching, there are many home and yard maintenance and repair tasks that should be done. Here are some of the items you might want to put on your to-do list.red fall leaves

  1. Lawn – The fall is the best time to add new grass seed to fill in bare spots or thin areas that developed over the summer. The cooler temperatures during the day and the heavy dew at night keep the seeds from drying out and dying as typically happens in hot weather. The ground is warmer than in the spring, so the seeds sprout more quickly than if you wait until spring.
  2. Yard – Remember to keep the leaves from building up on the grass, which could allow mold to form in the trapped moisture and kill the grass. However, in the garden around the bases of bushes, let some leaves stay on the ground. Insects will hide under the leaves. Then birds will be able to go through the leaves over the winter and eat the insects. The fall is also an excellent time to plant new bushes and trees.
  3. Gutters – Of course, falling leaves love to fill the gutters and block the flow of water. Once the leaves are down, clean out the gutters. You might also consider adding some type of gutter guards to keep the leaves out.
  4. Windows – Now is a good time to clean the windows before it gets too cold to clean them. Remember that a Scrigit Scraper cleaning tool can be used to scrape off bird droppings from your windows and siding. Birds at this time of year seem to eat a lot of purple berries and then aim their dropping at houses, leaving a purplish mess that can stain some siding. Make sure the caulking around the window frames is in good shape. Re-caulk as necessary. This is also a good time to replace old drafty windows so you can be more comfortable over the winter and reduce your heating costs.
  5. Roof – Check your roof to make sure your shingles are in good shape and all flashing around vent pipes, skylights and chimneys is in good shape so you don’t get water leaks over the winter.
  6. Chimney – Check the cap of the chimney to make sure it is not cracked and leaking. If you have had 75 fires in your fireplace, then it is time to have the chimney flue pipe cleaned. It is also a good idea to have any chimney with clay flue tiles inspected to make sure there are no cracks that could let hot gases escape and possibly cause a house fire.
  7. Furnace – Have your furnace or heat pump inspected to make sure it is ready for the heavy use it will get during the winter. Replace the air filter and the water pad, if you have a built-in humidifier. If your furnace or heat pump is over 15 years old, consider replacing the unit with a new much more energy efficient model.
  8. Detectors – Use the end of daylight savings time as a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Remember that smoke detectors are only good for about 10 years. If you have smoke detectors older than 10 years, replace them with new models. Many of the new smoke detectors come with built-in lithium batteries that last for the 10-year life of the detector. This eliminates the annual battery change.
  9. Grill – Once you are done with your outdoor grill, clean off any buildups of grease and burnt-on food that could turn rancid during the months of non-use, though a thin coating of vegetable oil will keep the grill surfaces from rusting. Cover the grill to protect it.
  10. Bird Houses and Feeders – Put out bird houses so they will be ready for use by your favorite bird friends in the spring. Put out bird feeders for the types of birds you want to attract. If you don’t want them to become squirrel feeders, add squirrel guards. If you like to watch the antics of squirrels, hang ears of dry feed corn from branches using short wires so the squirrels have to hang upside down to reach the food, or put up creatively designed squirrel feeders that create a challenge for them to get to the food.

After all of these fall maintenance tasks, you can relax briefly until it is time for winter projects.