Your Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist

Stop for a moment. Walk over and open up your window. Take a deep breath in. Smell that? It's the incredible smell of another beautiful Pacific Northwest fall starting to set in. Soon the trees will start changing colors, we'll be eating pumpkin flavored everything, and swapping out tank tops for turtlenecks.

Fall isn't just great for campfires and long walks in the glorious Snohomish county woods; fall is also a good time to do a little home maintenance in preparation for winter. The best way to protect your home from damaging PNW winter weather is by properly preparing for the coming winter months. These guidelines will help you make sure all of your bases are covered so you can sit back and enjoy the cooler fall and winter months, worry-free.

Show Trees and Shrubs Some Love

Everyone knows that trees do that hibernation thing in the colder months. If you have trees on your property, this is a good time to have a tree specialist come out and take a look; kind of like an annual check up at the doctor's office. Tree specialists can tell you if your trees are diseased in any way or simply if they need a little trimming before the cold sets in. One thing PNW residents are sometimes concerned with is powerful winter winds blowing dead branches out of trees and possibly damaging property or other trees. Your tree specialist will advise you on which branches look to cause the most risk and even suggest entire trees be taken down if they are unhealthy or unstable. It's great to get this work done now so when spring comes your trees are ready to bud and blossom!

Pull Out the Rake

This is a great way to get the kids involved in fall clean-up. You're going to want to take some time to get the leaves raked off of your lawn before winter sets in. Although they look pretty, having a thick covering of leaves over your grass can damage the grass and make it look less than healthy in the spring. Again, do the prep work now so that in the spring your yard will look brand new and fabulous. One thing to remember: never leave piles of leaves sit on your lawn for an extended period of time. This will kill the grass underneath. Instead, bag your leaves or dispose of them according to your city's vegetation disposal guidelines.

Time to Gut the Gutters

We know, this job can be incredibly gross and disgusting and no one ever wants to do it, however, this is one of the most important fall maintenance steps you can take to properly prepare your home for the winter months. Taking the time to clean pine needles and leaves out of your gutters and downspouts will help keep them clear of debris and can also help prevent damage to your roof.

Check for Gaps Around Windows and Doors

As the weather gets colder outside, critters and creatures are going to be looking for a warm place to lay their little heads for the winter. You don't want your home to be that warm, cozy place. It's a good idea to check for gaps or small holes where mice, squirrels, or chipmunks can burrow into your home or possibly even store their winter food stash. Patch any holes you find with spray foam, caulk, or if it's a larger hole you may need to use small pieces of wood. We all love our woodland creatures, but they need to stay outside.

Assess Drafts Around Doors and Windows

There's nothing worse than sitting down for a cozy fall afternoon and feeling a draft hit the back of your neck. Drafts around windows and doors are not only annoying, they can also cause your energy bills to skyrocket. Check around the doors of your home to see if you can feel a draft. If so, you may want to replace the seals around the door. You can purchase adhesive sealing strips at your local DIY store. You could also place a blanket or heavy towel at the base of your door to prevent drafts. If you notice drafts coming through your windows, you may want to consider replacing your traditional window treatments with ones made from heavier fabric. These winter-type window treatments are not only a beautiful addition to your fall decor, they also work as an excellent insulator to help keep your energy bills down.

We hope these guidelines will help you properly prepare your home for the winter months. Now that the work is done, it's time to sit back and relax with a warm cup to cider and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Happy Fall!

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