The weather is changing and we’re beginning to anticipate cozy winter evenings. But, first, let’s make sure that our homes are ready for the season to come. Help your deck survive what winter throws at it by re-staining or re-sealing it this month. Cooler temps and lower humidity make it the ideal time for this project. If you don’t want to do it yourself, check Contractors and Service Providers | Claudia Sells DC to hire a specialist.
Next, plan to tackle the yard. If you have a lawn, now is the time to aerate, reseed and fertilize it if needed. While you’re at it, think about converting to a low-growing clover and grass mix. Clover lawns require little maintenance and they are environmentally friendly. They were the standard until the 1950s when chemical producers realized they couldn’t formulate weed-killers that would spare clover. (Instead, they embarked on marketing campaigns to convince consumers that grass-only lawns were the ideal!) Fall is also the perfect time to prune trees and plant perennials and shrubs so that they will have a chance to establish roots before the first freeze.
According to the American Red Cross, fires increase in the fall and winter so now is the time make sure you have a fire extinguisher for each floor of your home and the garage. You already have fire extinguishers – great! But they do break down and malfunction. In fact, after six years they need to be emptied and reloaded. Keep your home fire safe by getting your existing fire extinguishers checked by a certified professional.
Before it gets too cold, clean out your dryer vent. Dryer fires are a real and very frightening hazard, and they most often start in the metal venting between your dryer and the wall. To clean, first unplug the dryer; then wipe out or vacuum out the tiny dryer lint fibers that cling to the walls of the duct. Consider using equipment that does the job right by attaching to the end of your vacuum cleaner to get lint out of tiny crevices. If your dryer has an especially long duct, you can call in a professional which typically costs about $100. Beware that ducts bend fairly easily when you handle them, which you should avoid because sharp turns or bends in the tube create spaces for more lint accumulation. You should give your dryer vent a good cleaning every year, at least.
Finally, inspect your home’s exterior. Spending money on roof repairs is no party, but neither is handing out buckets to the family to catch leaks in a winter storm. Inspect your roof — and other big-ticket items, like grading and gutters — before you’ve got problems. You’ll cut costs by fixing them now and stay dry and warm all winter long.