The temperatures are starting to drop, leaves are beginning to change color and pumpkin spice has overrun our stores. Fall is finally here, and that means it is time to focus on some routine home maintenance.
The most important thing to do before winter is to make sure that your heating system is functioning. Now is a great time to have the furnace cleaned or serviced so it is ready when you need it. Also, make sure to change the furnace filter and the air filters around your home.
On the exterior, fall is a great time to assess the outside of your home and yard. A full inspection means looking at the home from top to bottom.
Is your home surrounded by beautiful, mature trees? Some things to look out for are dead branches, a dead tree or even an overhanging branch that is touching the house. If you spot any of these items, make sure to have the trees trimmed or removed so that they do not damage your home. Trees that overhang or touch your house can also be a highway for small, wild animals to enter your home and do some major destruction, especially in spaces that are not used very often like attics or storage rooms. Removing the branches will make it more difficult for them to penetrate into your home.
Next look at your roof and your gutters. Is there moss on your roof? If so, you or a trusted professional can soft clean your roof to eliminate the moss. Never power wash your roof as that can harm it significantly and cause water leakage into your home. Besides making your home look nicer, removing moss will extend the life of your roof, which will save you money in the long run.
Are your gutters and downspouts clean? Since water is a home’s greatest enemy, your gutters exist to move water away from the house. It's important that they are cleaned out on a regular basis. Also, check the downspouts and any extensions to make sure that any water is being directed away from your foundation. Now is also a great time to turn off the exterior water bibs on your home. Emptying out any water remaining in the hose will prevent water from freezing inside your pipes and keep them from bursting.
Fall is also the best time to plant grass seed. The autumn season, with its mix of warm soil and cool air, allows for the perfect conditions for new grass roots to grow and develop before winter sets in. It is also a good time to fertilize your lawn to build stronger, deeper roots for winter, resulting in a thicker, greener lawn next spring.
Do you notice paint peeling or gaps in your siding? Now is a fantastic time to make repairs to your siding and scrape and repaint portions of your home before the cold weather causes further damage. It is best to paint before temperatures drop lower than 50° F.
Finally, as much as I love the look of old European homes with ivy and vines climbing on them, it is a disaster waiting to happen for your home. Plants and vines can significantly deteriorate the siding of your house and cause moisture to be trapped against the house. The trapped moisture leads to mold, mildew and rot on the home itself and can also lead to insect infestations.
By following these routine home maintenance tips, your home will be ready for the cold months ahead.
Jean Beatty is a licensed real estate agent in VA, MD, and DC with McEnearney Associates Realtors® in McLean, VA. If you would like more information on selling or buying in today's complex market, contact Jean at 301-641-4149 or visit her website JeanBeatty.com.
If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: InsideNoVa@mcenearney.com or call 703.549.9292.
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