Home Maintenance for Autumn
Autumn is an excellent time of year to patch up the wear-and-tear that the summer might have inflicted on your homestead. While we might think of spring as being the ideal time of year for a thorough clean, autumn presents an opportunity to stay on top of the problem, and thereby minimise the amount of work you have to do next year. The stress of the summer is over, the kids are back in school, and the stress of Christmas has not yet arrived. What better time, then, could there be?
This is one area which you can’t really afford to neglect during the autumn – as it’s during this time of year that leaves will be falling from nearby trees, clogging up your guttering and creating problems with drainage – particularly on flat roofs. A lack of drainage can lead to more serious problems for your property – like costly leaks. You can avoid them by using the autumn to go through your guttering and thoroughly clean it. If you install gutter guards, then this job will be even easier – as larger objects won’t be able to settle in there.
Clean and mow your lawn
Large clumps of dead leaves can prevent the grass beneath them from breathing. This can cause it to wither and die over time – which is an unsightly look. Prevent this by sweeping up fallen leaves as soon as they fall. Once this is done, you’ll want to give your lawn a proper trim – as once you’ve cleared it of fallen objects, it’ll be ready for one.
Now is also a good time to aerate your lawn. This process involves poking lots of small holes in the surface, in order to allow nutrients and water to penetrate the surface, and help the grass grow. This can be done using an inexpensive device consisting of a few spikes and a frame, or with slightly pricier mechanical ones. Once you’ve aerated the lawn, spread grass seed and fertilizer and watch it grow better than ever before!
Whilst you’re up there cleaning your guttering, you’ll want to take a look at the roof and make sure that it doesn’t need any attention. In the case of flat roofs, you’ll want to look out for any imperfections and standing bodies of water that won’t drain – as these will over time get worse as the roof sags under the weight of that water. In the case of sloped, tiled roofs, be on the lookout for chipped or missing tiles, or loose ones that might fall off at an inopportune moment.
A coat of paint
Since the humidity has dropped markedly, but the temperatures are still at a level where condensation isn’t too much of a risk, now is an excellent time for any painting work you might want to carry out on the outside of your property.
Now is also a great time to inspect your plumbing. Check the pressure, drain the expansion tank and then get bleeding. By doing this, you’ll help to prolong the lifespan of your pipes – and avoid any unnecessary expenditure on repairs.
When winter rolls around, the plumbing in your house will have to tolerate icy temperatures. If the water in your pipes should freeze solid, then the resulting increase in pressure might cause them to burst. Even a partial blockage can be enough to cause a rise in pressure sufficient to burst a pipe, and repairing such damage can often prove costly.
In order to guard against this problem, wrap any pipes in exterior walls in insulating material. Insulating jackets and tape can be bought from good hardware shops, and will provide protection for vulnerable pipes. Alternatively, special expanding foam will fill the gaps in the walls around the pipe, and thereby improve the heat-retaining ability of the wall itself, too.
Check the filters in your cooker’s hood
The interior of the hood at the top of your stove contains a special filter designed to prevent airborne grease from being circulated into the room (or the atmosphere outside). These filters are designed either to be replaced or cleaned, in order that the build-up of grease does not present a fire hazard. Be sure to check your filters and take the necessary action.
Now is a perfect time to examine any trees on your property for signs of rotting or dead branches. These are unlikely to survive the cold of winter (or the weight of snow), and will likely fall down of their own accord at some point, damaging any items (or people) beneath them. In order to prevent this, remove them now with a saw (or hire someone qualified to do it for you).
Check smoke alarms
Smoke alarms are devices that most of us hope we never have to use, but are grateful of when we do. It’s easy, then, to forget that they exist. Clearly, this would be a mistake, so take this time to check that your smoke alarm is working properly, and replace batteries where appropriate.
Check windows and doors for leaks
At this time of year, the effects of a leak in your doors and windows might not be especially noticeable – but that’s sure to change when the temperatures sink a little further. Be sure to check your windows and doors now for draughts, and address any you find with an application of sealant or a draught excluder. You might need to replace an entire window or door – and now is a good time to do it. Pay special attention to double glazing – if you notice condensation forming between the two panes, then your window has sprung and leak and the gas has vented – meaning that you’ll need to replace the window.
You can search for draughts with the help of a candle in the dark – or, if you’d prefer, you can do it with a special device that’ll electronically read changes in temperature at a distance.