Cottage Life

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Now that we have somehow accepted summer is definitely over, we thought there still might be a few things lingering around your house & garden that you haven’t thought about storing and taking care of before winter shows up with full frost. So it’s time to tackle a few simple chores that’ll make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring.

1. Clean the gutters

Let’s see, when was the last time you looked in there? After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

2. Check your detectors

With radiators turned on, the windows closed and portable heaters humming along, autumn is a great time to make sure your smoke- and CO detectors are working. Check batteries and expiration dates.

3. Cut your grass, aerate the soil, fertilise the lawn and water one last time.

If you fertilise in the fall, watering is necessary for the fertiliser to dissolve and soak into the ground where it’s needed. So mow your lawn one last time, then aerate the soil by simply making holes in the ground by removing plugs of it. It relieves compaction caused by foot traffic and creates extra pore space in the soil, allowing air, nutrients and water to enter. Once this is done, apply the fertiliser and water it one last time. This way, you will have healthy, beautiful looking grass come spring.

4. Drain and put away garden hoses

Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Once done, drain the hose and store it in the shed or garage.

5. Store lawn chairs and garden furniture

Ideally, when you buy outdoor summer furniture, you also think about storage solutions for when winter’s here. You don’t want to leave the hammocks, egg chairs, blankets, wicker furniture and pillows hanging outside, getting moist and mouldy. Have these covered and stored in a dry place to avoid moulding.

6. Prepare a winter driving kit

Don’t get stranded outside in the cold, it only takes a few minutes to put together a driving kit and you probably already have most of the stuff!

Start with a candle-powered heater. All you need is a metal can, a candle and a lighter. A candle can make a surprisingly effective ad hoc heater in the confined space of a car.

Add a small LED flashlight, make sure you get an extra mobile phone car charger. A notepad with a pen or pencil can come in handy in all sorts of scenarios – writing down details in case of an accident, or when you call for a tow, there are likely additional phone numbers a dispatcher will give you, as well as a possible incident number. A portable air compressor will help fill a flat or low spare tire. Make sure to pack a couple screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench and some duct tape. If you can get your car moving again and to a service station. Lastly, pack warm hat, gloves and a warm blanket as these could literally save your life and save you from hypothermia.

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