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10 Fall Home Maintenance Tips for Florida Homeowners

Fall is officially here and that means it’s time to prepare your home for winter. Just like your vehicle needs regular maintenance to run well, so does your home. Even though Florida homeowners generally don’t have to worry about winterizing their homes for freezing temperatures, there are a few basic home maintenance tasks you should perform as we transition from hotter summer temperatures to the cooler snowbird-friendly temperatures in the coming months.

While routine home maintenance tasks may not appeal to everyone, the longer you put off home maintenance projects, the more money you will end up spending on repairs. According to J.D. Roth in Your Money: the Missing Manual, every dollar spent on maintenance saves roughly $100 in future repairs. This is because taking care of small problems now prevents them from becoming larger issues that cost significantly more than the expense of regular home maintenance.

Whether you’re living in your home in Florida or renting it out, these 10 home maintenance tasks will help you get your home ready for upcoming cooler weather.

  1. Clean out your gutters

Summer rain storms often clog gutters with leaves, twigs, shingle debris and sludge. Clogged gutters can lead to standing water that attract mosquitoes and can damage your home’s roof and foundation. Home foundation repairs are among the most expensive, costing the home owner an average of $6,965 or more in water damage claims.

Use a ladder to reach your gutters, preferably with someone supporting you from below. Wear gloves and use a small plastic scoop or spatula to remove the gunk. After you’ve gotten most of the debris out, use a garden hose to flush out anything remaining.

Don’t like cleaning your gutters? Consider purchasing seamless gutters that require very little maintenance.

  1. Check your roof for leaks

Start by spot-checking the ceilings and walls in every room of your home. Look for water spots, stains, bulging areas of paint and musty odors. Then, check the outside of your roof to see if there are any missing shingles or warped areas.

Check your attic storage and look for mold, black marks or water stains. If your attic isn’t lit, use a flashlight to make it easier to see. If it’s not raining at the time of your inspection, enlist the help of a family member or friend to spray water from your garden hose to see if there are any leaks. If you have a sump pump

  1. Clean and organize your backyard

Does your backyard look like a disaster area by the time fall rolls around? Now is the perfect time to get your backyard cleaned up and in tip top shape.

  • Clean your barbeque grill by removing the grills and soaking them in a bucket of warm, soapy water for about 20 minutes. This will loosen up the grease and make it easier for you to scrub them down. Once you’ve cleaned the grills, use your garden hose to remove the remaining soap and grease. If you want a deeper clean, make your own cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. Use the solution to scrub down the grills with a wire brush. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Wipe down all patio furniture and outdoor play equipment to prevent a buildup of unwanted bacteria. Use a vinegar and water solution with a damp cloth to keep them clean and in good shape.
  • Here in Florida it’s common for squirrels, dogs, birds and other animals to cause damage to pool screens that require professional swimming pool enclosure repair. Unless you’re an expert in screen repair, there’s always a chance you might cause more damage than good when trying to fix your screen. It’s best to have a professional come out and complete the repair to ensure it’s done correctly.
  1. Check for pests

Rodents and other creatures might be looking for a warmer place to hide out, and they can cause big problems if one of those places happen to be your garage or home. Check for termites, roaches and other insects as well and call a professional service if you need help. Be sure to check your basement and crawl spaces too.

  1. Inspect your vents and ducts

Check to see that your attic vents, dryer vents and exhaust ducts are clear inside and out.

  1. Walk around your house

Look to see if you have cracks in your driveways or other walkways. This is a good time to make sure no one will trip on broken parts. Make sure garden tools are put away and garden hoses are stored properly.

  1. Prepare your HVAC unit

In order to maximize efficiency, safety and comfort, follow these tips for HVAC maintenance.

  • Replace the air filter to improve the health of your HVAC unit.
  • Clean the air ducts where dust, allergens, mold and other contaminants can collect. If needed, schedule a duct cleaning service.
  • Examine the belt in your HVAC unit to check for cracks or damage. These belts tend to wear down over time, especially in high temperature states like Florida where there is prolonged air conditioner use.
  1. Check your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors

Even detectors that are powered through your home’s electrical system typically have a backup battery that may need to be replaced.

  1. Get ready for fireplace season

If you use your fireplace, now is a good time make sure there’s no soot or creosote accumulation. Consider having a chimney sweep inspect your chimney and fireplace.

  1. Make sure you have fire extinguishers on each level of your home

You should have a fire extinguisher for each floor in your home. Check to make sure the pressure indicator shows a charge and the lock pin is intact.

One final tip: this is a good time to revisit your family emergency escape plan and emergency kit. Make sure everyone knows your emergency exit plan including where to meet once they’re out of the house.

Even though our winters aren’t as harsh as many other places in the country doesn’t mean you should skip fall home maintenance. Proactive care will ensure your home is ready for the winter; these types of preventive measures can save you a great deal of money on repairs over time.

Here at Lanier Upshaw we understand your home is one of your biggest investments. Make sure your home, family and possessions are protected. Contact us here to learn more today