While spring may be the time for cleaning, fall is surely the time for fixing. Simple improvements can save money in utility bills as well as prevent costly repairs in the future. Like a well-played game of football, the homeowner needs a good playbook to get ahead in the game. The trick is to prioritize and be ahead of the freezing weather using this valuable time to the best advantage.
Play it Safe
A good bet is "Safety First." Start simple: look at entrances and exits in and around the home and consider how they may be affected by the change in seasons. Look at safety issues around moisture, temperature and light. Are there areas that are particularly dark that need more lighting? Would motion-sensitive or timed lighting options be beneficial? Are there areas where debris collects and creates a safety hazard? Identify issues and resolve them now to minimize risk of injury later.
During fall and winter months pathways, entrances and exits can become compromised. Sometimes the paths or stairways might become slick with ice, water, leaves or even moss or algae growth. Be sure to clear and clean these areas, making repairs to cracked or uneven walkways, securing loose boards, ensuring safe passage. Additionally, having a place for shoes and gear when people enter a home so entrances and exits remain clear can prevent unnecessary trips and falls. In cooler climates, this is a good time to create space in hall closets for bulkier coats and to put out the umbrella stand. Perhaps providing a basket for gloves and a tray for wet shoes and boots, along with an absorbent entry mat to ensure that surrounding floors don't become wet and slick.
Fall is an ideal time to clean gutters ensuring that water will not build up and overflow and either puddle or freeze. Additionally, while the ladder is out, look at the eaves and assess the roof. Look for signs that wildlife might have tried to gain access, and consider putting up hooks for holiday lights - after all, the ladder is out, and holiday lights will provide more light around the home in the dark months. Change any burnt out or flickering bulbs in outdoor areas, putting in energy saving bulbs so that lights may be left on longer without regard to cost.
Also take time to find and consider stocking up on sand and/or salt or kitty litter to help melt ice or to gain traction (add some to your trunk). Any generators should be in good working order with fresh fuel that is properly stored.
Engage the Grounds Crew
Fall is a great time to tackle the vines that might be climbing a home, ruining the mortar between bricks or damaging the wood siding. Climbing vines hold moisture against walls which can rot wood clapboards, and the moisture can cause swelling of the wood and further damage when vines get between boards. Cut these vines back or remove them at the root.
This is also a great time to trim those hedges or trees that might potentially threaten the home or power lines if they fell. Trees that hang over roofs should be removed so that they don't provide a bridge for small animals to get onto the roof, as well as to protect from damage should branches break and fall.
Finally, when checking to ensure that the home is equipped with emergency supplies for seasonal storms, assess both the items stored and the storage area itself. Move seasonal items to where they will better serve in an emergency.
Storage areas often are taken for granted, sometimes becoming damp or wet, or experiencing wide ranging temperatures. Consider making changes that might benefit the area including heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation and moisture control. Replace containers that are damaged or non-functional, and ensure that stored items are not in the way of heaters (a fire hazard) or entrances and exits. When storing items in a place that might be blocked as the result of stormy weather, be certain to have a plan for getting in should the need arise.
Planning, cleaning and locating necessary items is much easier now when the weather is still mild and you aren't in a panic to find items quickly.
Reechia & Keith Powell
Plano Texas Real Estate