The leaves are falling fast and the Halloween festivities are over. It’s time to begin to take on the last preparations for winter. It seems like we just left the beach and we are already two months into the fall season. The tips below round out our 3-part series designed to keep you and your home trouble free in the coming months. We hope you find them helpful.
Here are our November Home Maintenance Tips
Check your sump pump. It is critical for the protection of your home and your belongings. November is a great time to perform a test to ensure you are protected for winter and spring. Check that the sump is free from debris. Make sure the pump is plugged in, has power and that it is sitting upright. Perform a test by dumping a bucket of water in the sump to assure the pump comes on and removes water. Follow the annual maintenance advice provided by the manufacturer.
Lubricate door locks to prevent a cold weather lock out. Use penetrating oil such as WD-40 and the narrow straw provided to shoot a quick squirt in the keyhole. This eliminates moisture and provides for smooth operation.
Address any slow drains before holiday cooking, parties and additional guests create a more serious problem. Remove hair clogs from bathroom drain strainers and treat any slow drains in your home with drain cleaner. If the problem persists, you may want to snake the drain or have them professionally cleaned.
Clean or replace your kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators. Over time these aerators get filled with particulates, considerably reducing the water flow. Simply unscrew them and rinse or replace them with new ones available at your hardware or home improvement store.
Check the caulking around your tub and shower for a fully adhered solid seal. If your caulking is peeling away, it’s time to remove and replace it. This will stop leakage that creates mold growth in your walls and staining on the ceilings below.
Now that most of the leaves have fallen, take time to clean your gutters. Clogged gutters can back up and cause damaging leaks into your home. If it’s safe to do it yourself, you will need to scoop the leaves, acorns etc. out of the gutters and flush with water to assure that the downspouts are clear as well. There are tools available to make the job easier at home improvement stores such as scoops and kits that attach to leaf blowers. If you prefer, you can have your gutters professionally cleaned. Either way, don’t skip this important pre-winter chore. Water leakage when it’s freezing cold and the snow is flying is a far worse problem to have.
Lawn and Garden
Remove fallen leaves from your lawn. Use them for composting or as a mulch layer to protect perennials in the garden from harsh winter conditions. When most of the last leaves have fallen, give your lawn a last mowing to a 2” length.
Consider protecting your delicate shrubs from winter by wrapping them with burlap garden fabric available at garden and home improvement stores. If it has been dry, give them one last watering. To provide more protection, cover the root base with a layer of salt marsh hay.
Disconnect, Drain and Store Garden Hoses
Outside hose connections should be shut off indoors then open the valve outside to drain.
Irrigation system maintenance
Systems need to be shut down, drained and blown out with air to prevent freeze damage. Most homeowners use an irrigation service to perform this job.
Snow removal tools nearby and ready
Last chance to perform annual snow blower maintenance and test start your machine now. Make sure you have a supply of fresh fuel on hand.
Time to have shovels and ice melt where they are easily accessible
Make sure scrapers and snow brushes are available for your vehicles.
I hope you found our fall home maintenance series helpful. Some preparation now can give you a little peace of mind as the winter weather approaches. Now you are ready for the holiday season and fun with family and friends. Enjoy!