Fall. The Autumn Season. It can be quite beautiful. The rich golden colors of October seem to paint the landscape with a Bob Ross flair, while pumpkin spice is invading every feasible product on store shelves. Comfy sweaters are being pulled out again, and everyone’s trying to remember what day we’re supposed to move the clocks back (It’s November 1 just so you know).
With so many animals packing on weight and getting ready to hibernate, it might feel like a good idea to do the same, but if you own a home there’s a few things you’ll want to check out first.
Check Your Window Seals
The weather this summer was drier than British humor. And hot! What a fantastic summer it was. But while that hot dry weather was great for the beach, it can be really hard on your windows seals. While the weather is still relatively mild, we might not notice a draft, but it’s a good idea to walk around the outside of the house and check on those window seals. Nobody likes a loose seal.
Look for areas where the old seal might be pulling away from house or window. If you see something like this, it means the seal is failing. Seal it back up with new caulk or weather stripping. This can save you a lot on energy bills during the winter.
Pro Tip: Check the door seals too.
Check Your Roof
Make sure to use care on this one. Safety is more important than an Autumn maintenance checklist. Walk around the outside of your home and have a look up to see if you can spot any damage to the roof. Vancouver had some pretty incredible wind storms recently, so it would not be a surprise to see missing or lifting tiles. Binoculars can be really handy when looking from the ground.
If you do spot a troublesome area, you’ll want it taken care of before this El Niño hits us full force. If you’re planning to go the DIY route, wait for good conditions and use proper ladder safety.
Check Your Gutters
Cleaning out your gutters may seem counterintuitive at this time of the year. Leaves are piling up everywhere, so gutters cleaned today might be full again tomorrow. Very true, but there’s more to checking those gutters than digging out leaves.
Have a walk around the home and try to see where the real problem areas for debris might be. If your gutters are filling up with leaves or needles, you might be able to stem the problem by pruning back branches of trees that have overreached their welcome.
Look for signs of animals using your gutters as a home, or as a storage for their winter food. Squirrels in particular can be a common culprit. Of course, all of this could be avoided by protecting your gutters right from the start. If you haven’t checked out AluRex gutter guards yet, do yourself a favor. They’ll save you a lot of time and effort (not to mention money if you’re paying to have someone else clean your gutters).
If you’re going up on a ladder, check the fascia board to make sure it’s healthy and solid. Soft fascia should be replaced quickly to prevent further decay to the roof in the winter. If you’re not sure what’s safe and what isn’t, call a professional gutter service company for help.
Check Your Shed/Garage
The decline of summer means less time taking care of the lawn and garden. This means a lot of tools are going to sit in storage for a few months. Why not get your shed or garage into a semi-organized state? It will keep your equipment in better condition, and when spring rolls around it’s blooming head again, you’ll be able to find what you need to tackle an early start.
If you have any gas powered equipment, drain what you won’t use into a spare jerry can to avoid sediment buildup. Also, be sure to drain and stow away your garden hoses.
Check Your Safety
It’s always a good time to be prepared for disaster, but it’s especially important to be ready before winter hits. A windstorm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of BC Hydro customers this year. No big deal, we just waited until the power came back on. But what if that had happened in freezing weather?
With this in mind, check to make sure your home has a few things taken care of and you can avoid a real disaster. Check smoke and gas alarms. Check your earthquake emergency preparedness kit, if you have one, and make sure all the best-before dates are still valid. Keep the pantry stocked with non-perishables, have a flashlight or two handy, and keep your barbecue clean and stowed safely (this was our previous step anyway) in case you need to pull it out for a winter cooking session.