Fall Home Projects
Fall is the perfect time to complete home improvement projects -- see our tips for projects to wrap up before winter arrives.
Everything In This Slideshow
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Fall Lawn Care
To ensure your lawn's health and beauty come spring, there are several important yardwork projects to complete in the fall. Raking leaves and aerating will prevent your lawn and garden beds from suffocating, while fertilizing and winterizing grass, trees, and shrubs will allow your greenery to enter its winter slumber comfortably and properly nourished. Professional lawn care services will make quick work of these projects, freeing up your time for family, friends, and football.
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Do you feel a chill next to certain windows in your home during winter? Have you noticed condensation or even frost on these windows? Glass with multiple panes, spacers, or filler gasses (such as argon or krypton) will likely solve these problems. A professional can swap out your problem windows with more efficient models that will increase your level of comfort while decreasing your heating bills.
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Fall offers plenty of days that are warm enough to work with exterior paint, and a touch-up can help prolong the life of your siding and trim. A fresh coat of paint or sealer on any surface that potentially will be covered with snow, such as wood floors or stairs, also is a wise idea. Sooner is better to contact a local painter -- many paints aren't recommended for application on days when the temperature will dip colder than 45 to 50 degrees.
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The cold of winter can aggravate a small roof leak. Any leaks in a home's roof should be fixed in advance of the first snowfall. Your best bet is to hire an experienced, professional crew that can accurately assess the leak and fix problems quickly and safely.
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Having your home's exterior and windows power washed won't just make your home look sharp, it also will prevent the growth of mold and mildew that feed on grime. If you're not comfortable deciding whether your home's exterior can handle the pressure that will be exerted from the various pressure-washing nozzles available, hire a professional to do the work.
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Seal Gaps & Add Insulation
Nothing makes a home more uncomfortable during the winter than a nagging, chilly draft. Consider a home energy audit that includes a review of your home's caulking and weather stripping. Energy auditors also will likely look inside your attic. If the insulation is at or below the level of the joists, you may be able to keep your home warmer by adding more. A depth of 10 to 14 inches is generally considered optimal, and you can supplement with a variety of different types of insulation to achieve that depth.
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Tune Up Furnace
In winter the furnace is literally the heart of most American homes. Without it, comfortable life indoors would come to a grinding halt. Occasional maintenance from a trained professional can keep your furnace running effectively and efficiently and prevent potentially catastrophic damage to your home from burst or frozen pipes.
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Fall is the perfect time to clean your carpets -- the humid days of summer have passed, but the below-freezing days of winter have yet to arrive. It's the best time to open windows for ventilation, which should speed the drying process. Let a professional wrangle the bulky cleaning equipment -- with a house full of wet carpet, you'll be best suited to get outdoors and enjoy the lingering warm days.
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Clean, Repair, and Protect Gutters
Your home's gutters divert thousands of gallons of water each year. To keep the water flowing smoothly away from your house instead of into it, inspect and clean your roof's drainage system. Better still, protect your gutters with mesh guards to keep leaves and other debris from causing blockages in the first place. Hire a pro to complete this project, or be prepared to spend a damp-and-dirty day climbing up and down the ladder.
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Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats save money without sacrificing comfort by using less energy on heating and cooling while you're away from home, asleep, or at any other specific times you select. More accurate and convenient to use than manual thermostats, programmable thermostats don't contain toxic mercury found in traditional models. Hiring a pro for this project is generally inexpensive, but this project is within the abilities of most DIYers.
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Repair Driveways and Walks
Small cracks and gaps in a driveway or walkway can quickly expand during winter's freezing temperatures. Cracked cement and disintegrating asphalt also can create treacherous conditions for pedestrians. Hire a pro to ensure these cracks are fixed properly and won't return or get worse.
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Winterize Faucets and Sprinklers
Most exterior plumbing in areas with temperatures below freezing must be winterized to prevent freezing and bursting. If you want professional help, contact a plumber, who can make quick work of winterizing exterior faucets, which are known as hose bibs. Winterizing more complex plumbing, such as sprinkler systems or water features, is best left to a professional.
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Proper inspection of a fireplace is vital to ensuring its safe operation -- even if it is rarely used. An experienced chimney sweep will check wood fireplaces for flammable buildup (known as creosote) and chimney blockages like bird nests. A chimney or fireplace professional also should check for these red flags: improperly functioning dampers, damaged brickwork and masonry, and missing or damaged flue caps (the screen covering the top of the chimney).