With the exchange of swimsuits for sweaters, and iced tea for hot cocoa, it's time to tackle some preventative fall chores from the household to-do list.
Besides raking the leaves, pruning trees and bushes, and cleaning the gutters, you may want to add the below three items to the list, too.
Clean and store your mower. Sitting in your mower or in the fuel can over the winter, gas will slowly deteriorate which then, in turn, can damage the internal engine parts of your mower. Add fuel stabilizer, which will help to prevent the gas from degrading, to your gasoline to keep it in good condition over the winter.
Top off the mower tank with stabilized gas, and be sure to run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilized gas reaches all the components of the engine. Another method to winterize your mower is to run it until it runs out of gas before storing it away. Remember to turn the mower on its side and clean out the grass and gunk from the mower deck.
Remove garden houses from faucets. Drain the garden hoses, store them in a shed or garage, and then turn off the water supply lines that lead to the exterior faucets. Run the water until the pipes are empty. If freezing temps hit and the water is still in the pipes to the exterior of the house, or garden hoses are still attached to the faucets, it may mean that the water could freeze, expand, and potentially crack the faucets or pipes.
Fall is notorious for wild fluctuations in temperatures, and packing away the garden hose and draining the exterior faucets should be an early "to-do" so that a sudden freeze doesn't catch you off guard.
Changing batteries in smoke and CO2 detectors. A familiar campaign for many years for homeowners from local fire departments has been to change the batteries in their smoke and CO2 detectors when we change clocks. Most smoke alarms that don't work are due to dead or missing batteries, and 2 out of 3 home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarm.
As part of this line of maintenance, replace filters in your furnace or heating system. Contact a licensed heating contractor to inspect and service your furnace or boiler to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning - and ensure that your heating system is working optimally for the coming winter months. To prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, have your wood-burning fireplace and chimney inspected, cleaned, and repaired.
Completing home fall maintenance now will certainly mean a more relaxed winter, knowing that you're proactively avoiding unwanted surprises that you might discover after the snow melts next spring.
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