Fall is here and that means the harsh weather of winter is right around the corner. It's time to trade in your shorts for jeans and pile on the layers. Before you head inside to stay warm this winter, here are a few chores that can save you a lot of time, money and headache down the road. Failing to maintain and prepare your home the winter can cost you dearly next spring.
1. Clean around trees. Remove any dropped fruit, dead leaves, and diseased or damaged branches to keep insects from overwintering at your place.
2. Clean up the garden. Dead plants such as tomato vines, for example, harbor pests and should be removed. A compost pile that reaches a high temperature is the best place for them.
3. Drain outdoor water pipes and hoses. To keep your pipes and water lines from bursting during the freezing winter months you'll want to be sure drain all of them including hot tub lines.
4. Cover outside spigots. Covering outside spigots keep them from freezing during the winter months. Insulating covers work great.
5. Put away toys, porch cushions and umbrellas so they aren't ruined by weather. it is wise to put the porch cushions inside before the squirrels or other rodents build nests in the stuffing.
6. Clean the gutters. Clean gutters are needed to handle winter rains. Never let them fill with water and freeze, or they can crack just like the hot tub lines.
7. Winterize lawn equipment. To make your lawn mower last longer, keep it clean and dry over winter. Change the oil so deposits don't settle, and either let it run out of gas or add a stabilizer.
8. Cut the lawn shorter. Longer lawns hold moisture better in the summer, but a shorter cut allows better air circulation for fall and winter.
9. Check your weather proofing. A door that doesn't close properly or a spot of worn caulking can cause drafts and a nasty utility bill this winter.
10. Check chimneys and flues. The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual chimney inspections to avoid costly repairs and possible safety issues.
These ten chores can help the change of season be a beautiful time of year and give you a little peace of mind for the next season's change.