ATLANTA - As Ben Franklin should have once said: "In this world, nothing is certain but death, taxes, and cleaning your gutters before winter to prevent water damage."
There are many benefits to owning a home. But those benefits come at a price, and one of the costs along the way is the responsibility to maintain your home on a seasonal basis.
With that, here are six fall home maintenance activities to start thinking about in the coming weeks. FOX 5 real estate expert John Adams says these chores are all best accomplished earlier in the fall rather than later.
1. Check for exterior peeling paint
Peeling or deteriorating paint can be caused by a number of underlying conditions, none of them good. But it’s a lot less expensive to catch a problem now than wait until it gets worse.
Walk around the exterior of your home specifically looking for problems. You may be very glad you did!
2. Check your chimney and damper
Make sure everything is in order before the first fire of the season.
Many homeowners love to "bring on the heat" with a fireplace. But it’s easy to forget that the chimney needs maintenance as well.
Creosote buildup can cause chimney fires. You should have your chimney inspected or cleaned after every 70 fires. For less than $100, you can get a top-down inspection. A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8" layer (or more) of buildup, call a chimney sweep.
And if your fireplace does not have a damper, plan on installing one this fall. Otherwise, your heated air is simply going up the chimney and being lost to the outside cold world!
3. Check your roof
Storms, wind, and falling tree limbs over the past year could have done damage that you're not aware of. If you're not comfortable on a ladder or just want a professional eye, call a pro for a free inspection. Drones do it cheaper and better.
Your gutters are your best ally when it comes to moving moisture away from your home, so it’s critical to keep them free of obstruction. (Image by sandid from Pixabay)
4. Seal it up
There are three important reasons to make sure your home is sealed properly: 1) Keeping moisture out; 2) Keeping bugs out; 3) Keeping warm air in. Fall is when bugs start to look for places to live in the winter, so make sure your exterior is free of gaps and holes.
Sealing up holes and cracks can also make your home more efficient—saving you money and keeping you warm and cozy. In most cases, all you need is weather stripping and caulk.
5. Get ready for our first hard freeze
As soon as the temperature dips, it's time to disconnect and drain hoses. This simple task can potentially save you a lot of heartache later. If freezing temps hit, that water can freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes.
Also, make sure to drain your hoses before storing them to prevent cracking during the cold winter months.
6. And, of course, clean your gutters
Metro Atlanta is one of America’s most dense urban forests. We literally live under the trees. And while that is a wonderful thing, you may need to clean your gutters more than once throughout the fall. Your gutters are your best ally when it comes to moving moisture away from your home, so it’s critical to keep them free of obstruction.
If your gutter is home to growing plants that are flourishing, you have a problem. A clogged gutter can overflow INTO your house through the fascia, and cause leaks in the ceilings near the gutters.
After that happens, the fascia can easily become rotten. Take steps now to prevent these issues.
The bottom line is if you are a renter, now is a good time to call the landlord and ask for fall maintenance. But you are the owner, these are your responsibilities.
You don’t have to perform these tasks yourself, but you need to make sure that these little things don’t become major problems. I guess this is what they call the joy of homeownership.