Take advantage of the cooler (yet not cold) weather to do some
maintenance around the house

Fall is sort of a batten down the hatches time in many parts of the country. Winter cold and wet are
coming, the warm weather is heading south, and daylight is slowly disappearing. All those lovely
colorful leaves are falling and too many of them end up in your gutters. Ignore them and your gutters
are likely to overflow in wet weather. The overflow can loosen paint on the siding and the retained
water weighs down the gutters, straining their fasteners and joints. It’s time to bring in the garden
hoses and drain the outside pipes and hose bibs to avoid freezing and splitting.

Screens and Storm Windows

As soon as the bugs are gone, remove your window screens, wash them, and store them until spring.

While the screens are down, wash the windows, inside and out.

If you have combined screen/storm window units, lubricate the tracks as you change the screens for storm windows and wash the
outside of the storm windows.

Install any removable storm windows, checking that they’re clean first.

Do you have removable window screens? Removing and storing them allows you to wash the
windows one more time before it turns freezing outside.

Chimney and Gutters

Inspect your chimney and clean it if that wasn’t done earlier in the year.

Be sure the masonry joints are in good shape and consider installing a chimney cap if you don’t already have one.

Clean the gutters thoroughly and be prepared to do it again once all the leaves are down.

In cold climates, shut off the water to all outside hose bibs, drain them at the faucets, and put the hoses away in a garage or

In cold climates, we all spend more time Indoors around the wood stove or fireplace. You don’t
want to take a chance on a chimney fire or an electrical fire for that matter. Fall is a great time for an
annual safety check of all systems, including water and gas shut offs and smoke detectors.

Odds and Ends

To avoid loosening their wires, tighten any receptacles that have cords regularly inserted and pulled out (mostly in the kitchen and
the bathrooms).

Replace any burned-out light bulbs in outside lighting and check that motion detectors are properly aimed.

Check that the main water shut-off is functioning and that it moves easily.

Replace all your smoke detector batteries, checking to see if your community has a battery collection or recycling program, and test
the detectors.


Carbon monoxide poisoning from furnaces and other sources of incomplete combustion
contributes to more than two thousand deaths annually, according to the Journal of the
American Medical Association. A standard furnace inspection should include checking carbon
monoxide levels. Consider a carbon monoxide detector, which sounds an alarm when detecting
unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.


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