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Pulling leaves out of a home's gutters as part of fall maintenance

Avoid Seasonal Problems: Midwest Fall Maintenance Checklist

It’s time to admit it: summer is over. The days are getting colder, the nights are getting longer, and our homes and businesses are threatened with potential damage brought on by the change of seasons.

In many ways, the problems we see in the fall mirror the problems we see in the spring, but autumn maintenance is special enough to warrant its own checklist. Follow these tips to keep your space safe as we head towards the winter months!

  1. Clean your gutters.
    One of the biggest problems we see in the winter is roof ice dams. These ridges of ice form on the edge of your home or business’s roof when snow melts and the water is unable to properly drain away. By making sure your gutters are completely clear of leaves and other debris before the snow starts to fall, you’ll reduce your chances of experiencing leaks that can lead to expensive water damage. You can clean the average home’s gutters in a little less than an hour!
  2. Seal any holes or cracks in your building’s exterior.
    Making sure your home or business doesn’t have any openings to the outside world serves a dual purpose in the fall: you’ll save on heating costs and prevent pests from sheltering inside your space. Most small cracks can be sealed on your own with a can of foam. If you notice any larger openings or suspect that rodents or other critters have already made themselves at home, it’s a good idea to contact a professional.
  3. Add weatherstripping to your entrances.
    One of the biggest culprits of over-the-top heating costs in the winter is a lack of secure insulation around a building’s doors and windows. You can fix this problem by adding weatherstripping to their frames. It’s also a good idea to use a door sweep in front of particularly drafty entrances. You can buy or make a weighted “pillow” specifically for this purpose, or you can get away with just stuffing a towel or small blanket into the space between the door and floor.
  4. Check your furnace.
    Smart people check to make sure their heating system is working before they actually need to use it. Now is a great time to make sure your furnace is up to par — check that everything is clean and ready to keep you going through the winter.
  5. Trim your trees and shrubs.
    Caring for your trees is one of the most important — and most overlooked — parts of fall maintenance. First, keeping your trees in good shape will make sure their branches don’t break under the weight of winter snow and cause damage to your property. Second, trees are going dormant around this time of year, which means you have the opportunity to trim them without risking diseases like Dutch elm and Oak wilt.
  6. Rake your leaves.
    Raking leaves might be one of the most classic fall activities, and for good reason! It’s not just an iconic way to spend a crisp Saturday — it’s also absolutely necessary to keep your lawn healthy come next spring. Too many leaves littering the ground can suffocate your grass, but clearing the surface before the snow falls will give your yard the best chance of recovering quickly after the thaw.
  7. Clear your walkways.
    We all know how treacherous it can be to simply walk from the car into the house when everything is covered in a layer of ice. Making sure your driveway, sidewalks, and other paths are clear at the start of the season will help you stay safe and make your job of shoveling easier when the time comes.

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