43 Fall Maintenance Must-Dos and One Thing You Shouldn’t Do
With cooler temps on the horizon, it's time to make sure your home is buttoned up and ready to go. Start checking these tasks off your list ASAP.
Get Your Gutters Ready
Check Exterior Caulking and Weatherstripping
Give Your Roof a Once-Over
Fix Driveway and Sidewalks Before They Get Worse
Install Frost-Proof Outdoor Faucets
Winterize Your Gas Grill
If you're not a winter griller, now's the time to pack away your grill before it's covered with a foot of snow. In addition to giving your grill a thorough cleaning to remove grease and food scraps, take these steps to help prevent any unpleasant surprises when you fire up your grill again next spring.
Shut off the gas at the LP tank, unfasten the burner, slip the gas tubes off the gas lines and lift out the unit. Coat the burners and other metal parts with cooking oil to repel moisture that can build up over the winter and to prevent rust. Then wrap the burner unit in a plastic bag to keep spiders and insects from nesting in the gas tubes during the winter. This is a common problem that can make for balky starts, uneven flames or even a one-alarm fire the next time you light your grill.
If you're storing your grill outside during the winter, just keep the propane tank connected (but shut off) and put a protective cover over the entire grill when you're done cleaning it. If you're storing the grill indoors, don't bring the tank inside, even into the garage or a storage shed. A small gas leak can cause a huge explosion if the tank is stored in an enclosed space. Instead, disconnect the tank and store it outside in an upright position away from dryer and furnace vents and children's play areas. Tape a plastic bag over the grill's gas line opening to prevent insects from nesting.
Winterize Your Sprinkler System
Seasonal Battery Storage
Drain Garden Hoses or Waste Money on Replacements
Drain Mechanical Sprinklers or Buy a New One in the Spring
Change Your Furnace Filter
Take a Peek at Your Furnace
Check Your Chimney or Risk a Fire
Stop Airflow Up the Chimney
Check Your Water Heater
Winterize Your Lawn Mower
Store Outdoor Furniture
Take Care of Those Leaves
Deep Clean Rugs and Carpeting
Get Your Snowblower Ready for Service
Get Your Property Ready for Snow
Make a Winter Driving Kit
Cut Your Lawn Short
Fertilize Your Lawn
Don't Let Glue Freeze
Best Way to Water Lawn: Water in the Fall
Build a Mitten and Shoe Dryer
Drill pairs of 1/8-in. holes in a scrap of 2x4 and insert U-shaped pieces of galvanized 14-gauge wire. If you have forced-air heat, drill 1-in. holes between the pairs of 1/8-in. holes using a spade bit, and set the rack on a register for fast drying.
Bleed Hot Water Radiators
When trapped air clogs a hot water radiator, some or all of the 'fins' will stay cold. At the top of the radiator, look for a small valve like the one shown. Take a radiator key, 1/4-in. 12-point socket, or a flat screwdriver (depending on the valve type) and slowly turn the valve counter-clockwise until water starts dripping out. This releases the trapped air and lets hot water into the cold fins. While you're at it, you might as well repeat the process on all of your radiators. Have a cup or dish handy to catch the water.
Clear Steam Radiator Vents
Steam radiators have an air vent like the one shown. Unfortunately, many of these vents get painted over, plugging the air hole. Clear the air hole in the top of the vent with a small wire or sewing needle. If you're still worried about the air vents working properly, consult a hot water/steam heat specialist who can replace the vents.