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When you think of the fall season, what comes to mind? Is it the brilliant displays of red, yellow and orange, or the soft way the sunlight hits the trees? Perhaps it’s the harvest—pumpkins, potatoes and winter squash – or the anticipation of hot apple cider and Halloween?
For some, fall is the most beautiful and enchanting time of the year. For others—namely those savvy homeowners who understand that Old Man Winter is on his way—fall brings on thoughts of mucking out the gutters, blowing out the sprinkler system and wrapping up the pipes. We don’t have harsh winters in Florida, but you should still ready your home for the drier colder weather and the occasional cold front.
Preparing for the changing seasons is important, and can help you avoid the costly repairs that winter weather can bring, or simply make things easier on you in the spring. Here are 14 quick and dirty must-dos for the fall:
- Unscrew hoses and shut off water to the outside faucet. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can install freeze-proof faucets.
- Clean out your gutters. Check for damage and repair.
- Blow out the sprinkler system.
- Winterize your air conditioning unit or swamp cooler. While you’re at it, clean any humidifiers and test your home’s safety devices.
- Get your furnace its annual checkup. (At the very least, change the filter!)
- Do a roof check and inspect your siding. Repair damage.
- Check sidewalks and driveways for cracks. Fix with concrete crack filler to avoid further cracking.
- Reinforce windows and doors. Check caulk and seals. Install storm windows.
- Service summer power equipment and get winter equipment ready. While you’re at it, organize that shed or garage.
- Clean and store patio furniture and the grill.
- Feed your grass with a high-phosphorous mix. Your lawn will green up earlier in the spring.
- Trim shrubs, trellis foliage and trees. Remove dead branches that could come crashing down in bad weather.
- Put your garden to bed.
- Remove leaves from the lawn or mulch them if you have a mulching mower.
Whew! Now that you’ve got all that done, it’s time to enjoy autumn with the confidence that you’ve done your best to prepare for the upcoming dropping temperatures. There will be no frozen pipes or damaged equipment for you this year. When Old Man Winter comes, and come he will, the visit will go down smoother than a slice of homemade sweet potato pie.