Tips from Dale 05/06/2022

Fall Tips for Taking Care of Your Home

It’s time for a few fall musings as I look out over the falling leaves, just a week ago they were such glorious color filling the sky – one of the loveliest falls I can remember. Now they lay trodden on the ground. Tomorrow to be sucked up by the municipal vaucumns or in compost piles or picked up by the trashmen. Our lives move on, just as the leaves do, and we prepare for the winter to come. here are a few reminders of things to take care of as we move into the winter months. Best to do when the weather is still this wonderful mild temperature and the days once more are dry.

Picking up leaves? Many of the municipalities will pick them up if you rake them to the curb, in others you will need to bag them for the trash pickup. My husband and I prefer to put ours in a compost pile, turn them in a year and then put them on the garden beds. Don’t forget to check the gutters and clear them and get any leaves that you can off the roofs and out of the areas where they will rot and cause issues with people slipping.

With all the rain, don’t forget to pick up the fallen brush in the yard. During the winter it can be used as tinder for your fireplace, but a brush pile makes a wonderful shelter for birds and small woodland creatures, then in the spring when the municipal brush pickups are scheduled set it out for pickup rather than now.

It’s time to check your furnace and make sure it’s ready for the winter months, if you haven’t done so already. Change the filter, check the humidifier, reset the thermostat from cool to heat, change the batteries in the smoke detectors, make sure that the furnace has space around it to pull air from.

Don’t forget to disconnect your hoses once you have finished cleaning up everything for the winter. Stretch them out & leave them in the sun to get the kinks out, then roll them up and put them away. If you have “extensions” on your faucets take them off as well. Then turn off the outside faucets from inside your home to help prevent freezing problems when winter really sets in.

Your gas furnace & water heater may not be getting enough air. You can add air to the room by putting in a louvered door, or by adding vents in the wall between that room & the rooms next to it. Typically it only takes 2 large return air duct size vents to be cut in the wall then having a return air duct cover put on them to vent the room into the next room& provide adequate oxygen to the gas equipment.

Clean your bird feeders, bird baths and bird houses. Don’t have any? I made a very simple bird bath out of the tray that went under one of my plants, put a few large rocks in it for the birds to sit on and set it out. In the winter I put a small warmer in it to keep the water from freezing. I use the WildBird Store at Manchester and Baxter in the Lafayette Center for all my birding needs. Doyle and Rebecca have a wonderful supply and are always there to answer my questions about the birds. Make sure to keep your seed in a dry place that is safe from marauding squirrels and other creatures (I have raccoons) – I use a metal garbage can with bricks on the lid.

Now while the ground is wet it is easier to pull the last of those weeds that you don’t want to come back in the fall. These need to really go away, not go in the compost pile if you don’t want them back.

If you want to feed the birds over the winter, you may chose to leave the seed heads on your spent flowers as I do, other wise, now is the time to clean up your garden for the winter.

If you have a fireplace and like to burn wood in the winter, make sure to have the fireplace checked and the chimney cleaned every few years to help ensure that you don’t have a fire. The firebox needs to be checked periodically as well to ensure that there are no cracks in it that would allow flames to escape into the wall behind the firebox and cause a fire in the wall of your home.

Now is the time to plant your spring bulbs! If you have squirrels and chipmunks that like to feast on the bulbs, try cutting pieces of chicken wire to place on top of the bulbs when you plant them. Note that daffodils are toxic so they won’t eat those, but they do love the tulips.

Have a GREAT FALL!! If you need any other contractors to help with minor repairs, let me know and I’ll be happy to help.