Unlike our neighbors to the north, when Texans say, “winter is coming,” they say it with joy, not dread. As the temperatures finally drop into a reasonable range, there are a handful of things you can do to maintain your home, inside and out.
Here are the top seven home maintenance tasks to tackle this fall so you can cozy up worry-free all winter long.
1. Close the Gaps
Winter may be fleeting in Texas, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have some cold days and chilly nights. So, check all your windows and doors for drafts. You can wait for a windy day or simply conduct a visual inspection. If you can see any daylight through cracks, then you know air is leaking in and out.
To Do: Caulk windows. Install weatherstripping or replace old weatherstripping on doors to keep warm air in and cold air out.
2. Safety Check
Now that it’s almost time to crank up the furnace and fireplace, it’s also the right time to make sure all your safety devices are working.
To Do: Have your furnace inspected. Test your CO2 and smoke detectors and change the batteries.
3. Mind Your Weep Holes
No, I don’t mean it’s time to watch “Marley and Me” or “Titanic.” Not those weep holes. If you have modern sliding or vinyl windows, they have a weep hole feature designed to drain accumulated water out and away. Sometimes those holes get clogged with debris and need a good cleaning to ensure they’re working properly.
To Do: Spray the window exterior with the garden hose and watch for a stream of water to flow from the weep holes. If you don’t see any flow, use an air compressor or wire hanger to free up the holes.
4. Clear Gutters
When a lot of gunk builds up in gutters, it can cause gutter damage which can result in you needing to replace them.
To Do: After the bulk of leaves has fallen, remove all the leaf litter and debris from your gutters to make sure that rainwater can flow freely.
5. Give the Lawn Some Love
Fall is the perfect time to do a little TLC on your Texas lawn. After a hot summer, you may have some sad, thin patches of grass. Remedy this unsightly issue by aerating.
To Do: Core aeration allows the air and nutrients to get into the soil. Follow this by overseeding the lawn. By springtime, your lawn will be thick and green again. This is also is the time to apply fertilizer to your lawn. Be sure to choose the right fertilizer for your grass type.
6. Mower Makeover
Hardworking mowers need love, too. Now that summer is over, your mowing schedule is about to slow down.
To Do: This is the time to set your mower blade a bit lower and add a little fuel stabilizer to the fuel system. Note, if your gas contains ethanol, fuel stabilizers won’t help protect the engine from getting gummed up. You’re better off running the tank dry and then only adding small amounts of fuel as needed until next spring. And take time for a little lawn mower tune-up: Sharpen the blades and change the spark plugs.
7. Tidy and Trim the Landscaping
By this time of year, annual plants are looking scraggly, and trees and shrubs are overdue for some care and maintenance.
To Do: Cut back overgrowth and remove annuals and replace them with winter annuals. Prune the shrubs and bushes.
Cover photo Chris Lawton/Unsplash
Antonio Hernandez worked his way through college as a landscaper, and now has a degree in landscape design. He still finds time to write and for his own garden, in which he plants a large batch of bulbs every fall and heirloom tomatoes every spring.