Updated! Top Fall Home Maintenance Tips for Northern Virginia Homeowners

Top Fall Home Maintenance Tips for Northern Virginia Homeowners_mmk realty

Fall is just around the corner and fall home maintenance should be on every homeowners radar. I have been in the business a long time and time and time again I come across homeowners that need reminders about what they should be doing in the fall. So, I put together a list of the top fall home maintenance tips for Northern Virginia homeowners that should be on everyone’s to do list. With big changes in the Northern Virginia seasons, especially fall and spring, homeowners usually find themselves with a little extra work on the home maintenance side. While these tasks can feel cumbersome, they are critical in the overall maintenance of your home. And while it may be reasonable for some to pay for these services a lot of homeowners take on the tasks themselves. As I have mentioned in the past, in my family we try and make a day of it and find a way to have a little bit of fun in the process. We pick a calm weather day, set aside a few hours, and try and include some fun things like music and hot chocolate to make our responsibilities feel a little less like work and a little more like family time—and yes, we usually jump on our pile of leaves at least once! Besides, by taking on these jobs ourselves, we teach our children responsibility in the process and enjoy the sense of accomplishment we feel from a little honest hard work outside. And do not forget to dress in layers because you may alternate between feeling warm and chilly!

Here are Top Fall Home Maintenance Tips for Northern Virginia homeowners:

1. Get those leaves raked

The easiest way to deal with leaves is to do it when they are dry. It is also best to try and wait until the all the leaves have fallen or you will find yourself rather frustrated by the endless leaves. When it comes time to clean up the leaves, rake or blow leaves is into a pile shaped like a rectangle so they can be easily pushed onto a tarp or for transport or mulching. As you rake, make sure the pile of leaves is low to help reduce your exposure to dust, debris, bugs, and allergens from the fallen leaves—and besides, this method just makes them easier to handle in general.  Mulching your leaves is a great way to make use of natural resources, but may not be a reasonable option for all, in which case transporting them to a special site is usually necessary as many waste management agencies do not accept lawn trimmings and leaves. It can also be reasonable to call a service provider to come out and remove the leaves for you, which is often more affordable then hiring a contractor for the entire job. In this case, you may need to call around because prices vary greatly for this service and be sure to get the leaves as close to your driveway entrance as possible to keep the cost low.

2. Trim overgrown, loose and weak tree branches

If you keep up with your exterior trimming bi-yearly, usually this job is fairly easy, and even fun so long as you do not over do it! Trimming and pruning not only enhances the beauty of most any tree or shrub, while improper pruning can ruin or greatly reduce its landscape potential. For the most part you want a plant to grow naturally because however it is growing is due to the plants goal of finding the best use of light in its given location and climate. Before you begin trimming be sure to remove any dead, broken, diseased or problem limbs by cutting them at the point of origin or back to the nearest and strongest branch. Usually this alone cleans up the tree or shrub quite well however, if you still need to do a little trimming, fewer cuts is usually the best method and try to trim with the natural growth pattern for the best results. Finally as you trim and prune, be sure to take a step back a couple of times to see how things are shaping and to make sure you are not over-trimming.

3. Check for any exterior wood rot and patch holes to keep critters out

This is typically a homeowner’s least favorite responsibility but a very important one. It is very important to regularly inspect the exterior of your home looking for damaged or missing sections of siding, cracks in foundations, loose or crumbling brick and rotted wood especially before fall and winter because critters will exploit these problem areas and use these openings to burrow from the cold. In instances where you discover problems take care of them yourself when possible, but often these jobs do require the help of a professional contractor. To help save on costs, consider purchasing the materials yourself and asking around for referrals. Oftentimes someone in the neighborhood will know a reliable and affordable contractor. Otherwise, checking your local HOA classifieds or searching on Odd Jobs apps can yield some affordable results.

4. Inspect the Roof

Since you are already checking the exterior for wood rot, you would be well served to inspect the roof as well–especially if it has been awhile since you had the roof inspected. That last thing you want is soft weak spots in the roof because those areas can become a real problem in the winter. Roof leaks usually occur at the least optimal time–like during a rain or snow storm. Additionally, vulnerable spots on the roof are great avenues in for critters who are looking for refuge from the cold and a place to have their babies. Believe me, you do not want this to happen because getting rid of pests, especially if they have babies is very difficult!

5. Inspect HVAC systems BEFORE it gets cold

When it comes to your HVAC system, do not wait until it gets cold to have your system inspected because you do not want to be without heat if there is a problem. HVAC inspections are important and really do prevent you from having to pay for more expensive costs in the long run. Additionally, regular service also helps to increase your unit’s service life. It is also important to check and change your air filters regularly, usually every 3-4 months to prevent strain on the system and keep the air clean. Also, when you are taking care of your lawn maintenance, be sure to clean up the leaves around your exterior HVAC unit to keep it running safely and efficiently.

6. Clean the Gutters

The reason why it is so important to clean the gutters at least twice a year is because leaves can build up and clog the downspouts, which can cause water damage to your roof and fascia board, which leads to much bigger problems. Water pouring over the gutters or from leaks can end up next to your home’s foundation or in the basement or other crawlspaces. The easiest way to clean the gutters yourself is to use a hose-end attachment specially designed for gutters can make this project more manageable. However, you will have to use a ladder, making this task a bit risky. If you decide to do this yourself, stand firmly on a ladder, avoid standing on the top highest rungs and not reach past the side rail. It is helpful to wear a tool belt around your waist and use a bucket for collecting gutter debris and another for carrying tools. You can use wire hooks to attach the buckets to the ladder. And, if you have not installed gutter guards, now is the time to do so because they will save you a lot of work down the road.

For more tips and information feel free to contact me and follow me on social media on Facebook @mmkrealtyllc, Twitter @MMKRealtyLLC, and Instagram @mmkrealty.