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Discover 7 October Home Maintenance Tasks

by Max Dichter

October 7th, 2019

#1 — Clean the Gutters  

If you have a ladder, gloves, and the time, you can probably do this one yourself. Pull all those leaves, branches, twigs, and sprigs out of your gutters. Then, take a hose and wash the remaining debris down the downspouts. When you leave that debris in the gutters, it will dam up, and water will start flowing over the sides instead of down the downspouts as intended. Plus, when the temperature drops, the water will freeze and cause even more damage.

Inspect the gutter joints and downspouts to make sure there are no leaks. If you find leaks, you can fill those with a rubber-based caulk. As it dries, the caulk will fill the hole and remain flexible in any weather.

If you don’t have the tools or are scared of heights as many of us are, call a professional to clean and inspect. Get three or four estimates. Expect to pay between $75 and $200 depending on the linear feet and number of stories.     

#2 — Plant These Bulbs in Fall for Awesome Spring Colors

Autumn is an opportune time to plan many bulbs that will bloom in spring. Hyacinth, irises, autumn crocus, alliums, bluebells, daffodils, and many others. The strange thing about autumn crocus, though, is you have to wait nearly a full year to realize the fruits of your labor. Yet, there are so many others that will brighten your spring flower garden.

You will enjoy the lovely blue hyacinth in mid-spring along with the golden daffodils and early tulips. Actually, you could plant nothing but hyacinth and still have a wide variety of colored flowers but only for a short period. Besides, what would spring be without daffodils?

#3 — Seed & Fertilize the Lawn

There’s no better time to spread nitrogen fertilizer than fall. Add ½ to ¾ of a pounds per 1,000 square feet. Likewise, there are numerous benefits to seeded cool-season grass in the fall. The gentle blend of warm soil, moderate daytime temperatures, and cooler temps in the evening stimulate germination. Additionally, cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass sown in the fall establish roots freely.  

Now, you’re ready to winterize the sprinkler system, lawn mowing equipment, and water hoses.

#4 — Winterize the Deck

The first thing you’ll want to do is clean the patio furniture, rub it down with linseed or olive oil, and store it. If, however, you do not have storage space, put some wooden blocks under the legs, and cover the furniture. Some of you will still barbecue a few more times, so you can save the grill until later, especially if it’s covered.

If your deck is showing its age, you might want to have it professionally treated to bring it back to life. Otherwise, it might just need cleaning. There are several cleaning products available that attach to your garden hose so that you can spray your deck.   

#5 — Tighten Up for Temperature Control

Consider tightening up and cutting down on drafts. Change out the old weather strips and re-caulk around windows where necessary. However, look at leaving some access to fresh air. Another option is to get a whole-home humidifier or air purifier. Both of these hook up to your HVAC system.

A humidifier costs about $100 to $250 and will reduce many winter illnesses. The whole-house air purifier averages around $1,300 for up to 3,000 square feet.

#6 — Clean Ducts & Dryer Vents

Keeping your HVAC ducts clean and mold-free will also help your family breath easier. Most services charge about $300 for this maintenance, while others charge $35 per vent. Some people say there is no benefit to having your ducts cleaned, but the EPA wrote not one, but two pamphlets on the subject. However, they do not recommend cleaning every year, only after five to seven years.

When you read the cleaning contract, make sure they include the dryer vents. Some companies charge $75 to $100 extra for this service, but it could prevent a fire. Plus, be sure to clean the lint trap after every use. 

#7 — Protect the Plumbing

The last thing you want during the holidays with all the family and friends gathered is a toilet explosion or burst pipe. Turn off the water supply to exterior faucets and blow out the water with compressed air. Make sure pipes exposed to the cold are wrapped with heat tape or insulation. A temporary fix for an at-risk pipe is to leave the water running. Even a trickle will keep it from freezing up, and yes, it can freeze overnight.   

Now, Get Geared Up for Ghouls & Goblins

If you don’t have the time and tools to complete these tasks, call a professional. Make sure to get a written contract and read over what they will do. Now that you’ve wrapped up those seven tasks, you can get ready for Halloween.  

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