Houses are both our refuge and our burden. They are the place we go to escape from the world, be ourselves, and wear (or not wear) whatever we want. However, they can also suck up time and money through cleaning, yard work, and repairs. We’ve all had that time when half the appliances broke down in the same month, right? There will always be surprises, but following a maintenance schedule is a good way to get a leg up on potential problems.
Whether you own a home or are renting, there are certain house and yard tasks that should be done regularly. Below you can find a checklist of jobs that should be done each fall. If you’re renting, you’re probably not responsible for all of them. You can refer to your lease or speak to your landlord to be certain of your obligations. If you own your home, however, it’s all on you! Get them out of the way, then relax and enjoy the crisp air, your fire pit, and some hot apple cider.
1. Leaf Care
Leaving leaves on your lawn will block light and trap moisture, damaging the grass. Mulch leaves with your lawn mower to help them break down into nutrients for the soil. This will also provide protection for roots that still allows light in and keeps moisture out.
2. Keep Mowing
Grass will keep growing for a while, so don’t put the lawn mower away just yet. Keep cutting until the first hard frost — usually sometime in October or early November in the Upstate.
Just like you need to keep mowing, you also need to keep watering your lawn until about the end of October. At this time, disconnect and drain your hose and store it. You should also shut off the main water supply to your house while you drain all of the outdoor spigots. This helps prevent pipes from bursting when water inside them freezes. (Yes, this happens a lot in South Carolina when nighttime temperatures drop.)
Applying fertilizer in the fall will protect and repair grass’s roots, strengthening it to bounce back in the spring. Some recommend doing it twice: once in early fall, and then again the last time you mow.
5. Kill Weeds
In the fall weeds are most vulnerable to weed killer, so this is a good time to spray them if you have too many to pull.
Over time the soil beneath your grass become compacted and covered by roots, stems, and debris. This blocks water and nutrients from reaching the soil. Core aeration loosens the soil by punching holes in it and digging out wine cork sized plugs. There are local professionals who can do this for you, or you can rent an aerating machine from a large home improvement store.
If the summer heat or a kiddie pool have left your lawn with bare or thin spots, you may want to spread some seed to thicken it up again.
8. Check Gutters
Falling leaves can clog up gutters. Clogged gutters can allow water to spill over and damage your roof, foundation, or garden beds.
9.Clean lawn care tools
When you’re finally done mowing, trimming, etc., clean your tools to prevent rust over the winter.
10. HVAC inspection
In between the air conditioning and heating seasons is the perfect time to have your unit serviced. This will ensure that it’s working efficiently and also alert you to any problems.
11.Check for gaps in windows and doors
Small spaces around window and door frames can let in cold air and cause your heating bill to skyrocket. Look at all of your windows and doors, and add caulk or weather stripping where needed.
12. Clean Chimney
Have your chimney swept by a professional before you start using it. Buildup and debris can lead to chimney fires or carbon monoxide in the home.
13. Vacuum Dryer Vent
Another home fire hazard is lint in dryer vents. Vacuum it out to remove excess fibers that have built up.
This list may seem daunting, but most items are quick and may end up saving you time and money. That’s time and money you can spend on the nicer things things of fall: pumpkin spice delicacies, brilliantly colored leaves, apple picking, and football games.