It’s natural to want to relax and reward oneself with some downtime after working hard in the yard or around the house. That tendency can be especially strong when you’re in the friendly confines of your own home, with no more lawn mowing, hedge trimming or weed whacking left to do. After all, fall has arrived. There’s football galore on TV and pumpkin spice lattes to be consumed. Who wouldn’t want to pack it in for the season and enjoy the fruits of one’s labor? Don’t be fooled: your work isn’t over yet. If you neglect some very necessary end-of-summer home maintenance, you could wind up with the kind of work that no one wants to face: very costly repair work.
Sometimes, the most important home maintenance tasks are the simplest ones. There’s nothing more important than your family’s safety, so start by checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s awfully easy to forget about them, even though they can save lives. Before you overlook it, bear in mind that between 2009 and 2013, three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in houses that had no smoke alarms or alarms that didn’t work. Dead batteries caused approximately 25 percent of smoke alarm failures. Remember that your carbon monoxide detector is equally important, especially during the winter when snow blocking your outside vents can allow the deadly odorless gas to build up in your home.
Get those gutters
Your gutters do a very important job. They prevent water from building up around your home’s exterior and on the roof. Water damage is bad news no matter what season you’re in. If you see dark spots on your walls or ceiling, there’s a good chance your gutters are backed up and unable to do what they’re supposed to do. Standing water can also be very destructive, so be careful to clear out all the leaves and lawn debris before it’s too cold and slippery to get up on your ladder.
Don’t go buggy
Generally speaking, people don’t associate fall maintenance with insects. But when the weather cools down the bugs come in, especially in warmer climates where bug populations tend to survive longer. In the spirit of DIY, you can choose to buy a few cans of bug spray or traps, or you can call an exterminator to come in and nuke them all. There are some pests you can control on your own, such as roaches or stink bugs. But professional exterminators will tell you that you can’t be sure that you’re rid of them all.
It doesn’t take a ton of effort to prepare your home for those long winter months. Most of it’s a matter of pretty simple, inexpensive maintenance. If it helps, you’ll have a lot more time to sit in front of the TV if you take care of everything now.