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Prep Your home With Our Autumn Home Checklist

We welcome this beautiful autumn season. The humidity has lifted, and we are left to enjoy a few mild and sunny days. However, with the sun beginning to set earlier each day, now is the time to prepare your home for colder months ahead.   To keep your home and property safe this coming winter season, start early, and begin taking preventative measures to keep your home and lawn healthy all year round.

Fertilize Your Lawn.  Harsh winters can have a negative effect on the overall health and look of your lawn. To help protect and ensure your grass thrives next spring, take a few precautions before the temperature begins to drop. After August, applying a fertilizer to your lawn will help the grass recover from a summer of heat and sun exposure and help it remain resilient through the cold. Fertilizer will lock in essential nutrients and provide your grass a shot of nitrogen which promotes blade growth. Choosing a fertilizer with a formula of 20-8-8 will help get it growing again. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended rate of application.  After September, another fertilizer application should be applied to keep your grass healthy. During late fall, apply a formula of 13-25-12 to stimulate further growth through November and early December. By following these steps, you can help your grass remain healthy and resistant to disease and drought.

Mow your Lawn.  Be sure to raise your mowing height to one-half inch above the recommended height for the summer months. This helps stimulate stunted roots and help the foliage prepare for winter. The clippings should be left on the lawn as a mulch only if a mulching mower can be used. This protects the delicate crowns of the grass plants and provides valuable nutrients for the lawn.

Rake Your Leaves. As the seasons change, your lawn becomes vulnerable to cold temperatures and extreme moisture. A fresh blanket of leaves may look beautiful on your lawn, but it’s going to halt the natural growth process of your grass come springtime.  Raking your leaves isn’t just a way to keep your lawn tidy, it’s necessary for promoting the health of your grass. When the grass is hidden beneath a thick mat of leaves, it doesn’t receive the sunlight and air necessary for thriving. These leaves increase the risk of dying grass, pest infestation, and even fungus.

Clean the Leaves From Your Gutter.  Ensure that fallen leaves aren’t clogging the gutters. Clogged gutters can damage exterior surfaces of your home, and cause water to flood into the basement and not be draining down through your downspouts as designed. Filthy gutters are also more prone to rust and corrosion. Consider covering your gutters with a mesh guard or have gutter professionals put a helmet guard over your gutters to close out the leaves before the leaves start to fall.  This water overflow during heavy winter rains can run down your foundation and into your basement creating another set of problems and headaches.

Plants.  Once you ensure that your lawn is well taken care of, it’s time to focus on your plants. Your perennials are starting to fade and will benefit from 0-20-0 fertilizer to give your phosphates a super boost. This will ensure stronger plants with more flowers in the spring.  Also plant your bulbs for springtime flowers. If you’ve never planted bulbs before, select a spot in your yard that gets full sun during the day.

Protect your outdoor furniture, décor, and accessories.  Clean and dry your patio furniture, then cover with a heavy tarp or store inside the shed to protect from the winter elements. Bring your flowerpots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors, as they can swell and become cracked when exposed to low temperatures. Remove your hose, if attached, and store it somewhere to preserve shape and longevity. Shut off the exterior faucets and drain the water from the outdoor pipes to prevent any pipe bursts as well!  Drain outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems and cover them to protect them from the freezing weather to come.

Seal Leaks around the Windows.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, gaps in caulk and weather-stripping account for 10% of your heating bills. Take the time to examine the areas of your home that might be allowing the most air to enter. Weather-stripping is a cost-effective way to reduce your heating and cooling costs.  If your windows are in bad shape, this might be the time to replace some of your windows.  A design/build remodeler can assist you with the best replacement windows for efficiency.

Inspect the Furnace.  Before you crank on the heat, ensure that the furnace is inspected by a professional. An aging furnace can add hundreds of dollars to your energy bill, and it won’t always work effectively. The Maryland weather can fluctuate quickly, so it’s important to schedule an appointment sooner rather than later.  Be sure to check your air filters on a regular basis and replace as needed.

HVAC Tune Up or Inspection.  All furnace manufacturers recommend an annual tune-up by a professional. Consider it the equivalent of getting your teeth cleaned every six months. If you make the investment, you’ll have fewer problems, and a much more pleasant home experience.

Inspect and Clean your Chimney.  Clean out the fireplace, inspect the flue, and ensure the doors and shields are sound. Have the chimney professionally swept if needed. Make sure soot hasn’t built up and birds aren’t nesting. This will improve heating efficiency, ensure carbon monoxide can escape safely and potentially prevent a fire.  Now’s also the time to stock up on firewood!

Fix Cracks in Concrete and Asphalt.  Depending on where you live, these may be the last weeks this year when it will be warm and sunny enough to repair driveway and sidewalk cracks.

Create a Mudroom.  Even if you don’t have a dedicated mudroom in your home, now’s a good time to think about organizing and stocking an entryway that will serve as a “mudroom” area for cold and wet weather. Entryways are drop zones. Car keys, purses, grocery bags and backpacks — not to mention mail, cell phones, and shoes, coats and scarves — all end up being set down in this space.  Put down an indoor-outdoor rug to protect the floor. A design/build remodeling company can build cubbies or bench seats with storage to hold all the winter items you will need.

Once you finish with your autumn home checklist, you can enjoy the season in your warm, comfortable home. As the seasons change, so do our activities and home needs. Even though summer is not quite over yet, it’s a good time to do some seasonal maintenance to keep your home running smoothly. The weather can change quickly and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. A bit of attention now will save YOU costly repairs and aggravation later.  If you need any help with the repairs, reach out to a design/build remodeling company, such as Creative Spaces Remodeling to assist you. 


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