When you think of fall, preventative home maintenance might not be on the top of your “to-do” list. However, if you take time to prep for colder weather, you could save yourself some money and headaches in the future.
Here are some fall home maintenance tips that can save you money:
Disconnect and drain all garden hoses
A frozen garden hose can cause more damage than you think. First, a 50-foot hose can cost up to $30. If it gets ruined, or you have two or three, it can be a pricey replacement next spring. Second, when water inside a hose freezes, it expands and can increase pressure throughout the whole plumbing system. This could cause a pipe in your home to burst and lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs.
Drain your outdoor spigots
Water can also freeze inside your spigots and cause an interior pipe to burst. To avoid this costly situation, open and drain the spigot. Next, close the interior shut-off valve leading to that faucet. If you want to go an extra step, there ways to DIY insulate your spigot as well.
Clean out your gutters
Leaves and debris can clog up your gutters and cause expensive leaks and flooding issues. If your gutters are easily accessible, and you don’t mind heights, all you need are gloves, a ladder and plastic bags. You can also use a leaf blower to clear out dry leaves. Since the average gutter cleaning service can easily run $145 or more, this is a simple way to protect your home and save money at the same time.
Put fuel stabilizer in your mower
If gas sits in your mower all winter, it can break down and damage parts of the engine. By adding fuel stabilizer (usually $10 for a bottle), it can keep the gas in good condition and avoid expensive repairs or buying a new mower next spring. Top off the tank with stabilized gas, run the motor for five minutes so the stabilizer reaches the carburetor, turn it off and it’s ready for storage.
Trim your trees
In stormy, windy or icy weather, tree branches can cause structural damage to your home and potentially cause injury. Cut back any branches that are touching or hanging over your house. Trimming back branches and shrubs can also help you keep rodents and bugs out of your home. Having to call a pest control service can cost big bucks, so save yourself the worry and pick up some pruning shears ($10 or less at your local hardware store) and clean ¬¬’em up.
Pick up the leaves
The blanket of leaves on your property might look nice now, but over time it can rot and seep into your yard and landscaping. The cost of professional leaf removal can depend on several factors, including time and the size of your property, and could cost hundreds of dollars. A pair of gloves, a rake and few large bags should only cost about $30. Plus, it’s a good workout!
Aerate and winter fertilize the lawn
Although you may not have considered this as a fall task, experts recommend aeration twice a year (spring/fall) to promote a healthy lawn. Professional landscapers can cost over $100, but their business might slow down in the fall so you may be able to negotiate a good deal. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can rent equipment from a local tool shop (around $40-$80 per day) and get it done in a few hours.
Caulk windows and doors
Caulk is generally cheap ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) but it can save you much more by avoiding moisture damage and heat loss during winter. Take a trip around your home and seal up any cracks between trim, siding, windows and door frames. If you have exposed pipes, you may want to seal those off as well.
Hard work really can pay off
In addition to saving money, fall home maintenance can be a great way to enjoy the sights and smells of the season. Once your hard work is done, feel free to treat yourself to some pumpkin pie and apple cider.