JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When the weather is crisp, leaves are falling, and football is on TV, it can be easy to ignore fall chores. But if you want to stay cozy and avoid costly problems this winter, you better get to work. There are three projects every homeowner should cross off their checklist.
Gutter cleaning isn't glamorous, but it's one of the most important jobs on any fall to-do list.
"Your gutters should not be ignored because leaves will gather there which will lead to mold as well as bugs, even ice damming in the winter. And if you're like some people, you might actually get a garden growing in your gutters which can be pretty embarrassing. So, taking care of them can lead to better health of your home, especially your roof," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.
Whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, don't neglect the downspouts when cleaning.
"You also want to make sure that all of your gutters are actually nailed in properly and look at your gutter boards and make sure that they are sealed," explained handyman Elden Foltz.
Once your gutters are clear, turn your attention to sealing drafts around windows and doors. Walk through your home with a lit candle or stick of incense to see where cold air is seeping in.
"If you don't seal the windows what's going to happen is a lot of energy is going to be dispensed out and you're going to lose money," Foltz warned.
When sealing a window, make sure the area is free from dust and old paint or caulk.
"You can't take caulking and put caulking over top of it because all it's going to do is peel and break off. And it's not going to provide a good seal for that house," Foltz added.
Finally, Hicks says you should focus on your lawn.
"Many people think this time of the year, ‘Oh, I'm done with the lawn. I don't even want to mow anymore.' But the treatments you give your lawn, the fertilizing, this time of the year is the most important fertilizing you'll have. So, you if you're looking to have a great lawn next spring, don't skip out on the fall lawn care," she said.
If you're not comfortable fertilizing your own lawn, consider hiring a professional lawn care company. Expect to pay about $60 per application.
Angie's List says fall is also the perfect time to check your furnace filters and replace if necessary. You should also have your chimney cleaned and inspected.