I guess it may look like autumn in many parts of the country, but not here on the Texas coast. We’re still in summer and probably will be for another month before the cool down starts. Our first blue norther will probably blow in around Thanksgiving.
Contrary to popular belief, we do have trees that change colors. This photo is one I took last year that shows the beautiful foliage in my neighborhood. Our changing leaves are most frequently seen on crape myrtles, sweet gum trees, and tallow trees. Although the photo shows only one tree, there will be a few more trees with autumn leaves scattered amidst the massive live oaks that grow here.
Fall Means Winter’s Coming
Now that Fall has, uh, fallen, cold weather will be coming. Many of you will be turning on furnaces and putting away the garden hoses much sooner than we will. Now is a good time to go through a seasonal checklist because there’s more to getting ready for winter than putting away a garden hose and turning on a furnace.
Take Care of Your Home: 9 Things to Do Now
Take care of your home so it doesn’t end up looking like the one at right!
1. Service your furnace and change the filters in the air returns. If you don’t have an annual inspection plan, now is a good time to get one with a reputable heating/cooling company. They usually do a fall and spring check and do it more thoroughly than you can. Ask your neighbors for recommendations because this really is a good thing to pay for.
2. Drain garden hoses. Coil them up, secure with extra long cable ties or twist ties, and store in the garage or a shed until the spring thaw. They will last a lot longer if you do this even in moderate climates like Texas.
3. Clean all gutters and downspouts. Even better, hire someone to do this. This is a dreaded job. Far easier to pay someone a few bucks than to tackle it yourself. In fact, pay someone to put gutter guards on them. We just had that done.
4. Winterize, clean, and store your lawn mower. Winterize usually means draining oil and gas if needed. Wash the underside and remove built up grass “scum.”
5. Check all doors and window seals for cracks in the caulking or in the frame itself. Caulk and weatherize as necessary. This costs little but can save you a lot of money in heating and cooling.
6. Visually inspect your roof. Actually, see if you can take a good set of photos so you can compare the roof aging from one year to the next. (Good reason to buy a drone, right?) If you see any suspiciously dark spots or cracked shingles, call a roofing company. Squirrels
can do a lot of damage to a roof so if you have a lot of squirrels in the area–like we do–check your roof every month.
7. Check out the way your lot drains. Has anything overgrown its spot in your landscaping and now keeps rain from draining away from your house? Rain water should always drain easily away from your house not flow back to it.
8. If you have a chimney, inspect it. Clean out the fireplace if you didn’t do it at the end of the last cold weather. If you burn a lot of “dirty” woods like pine, etc., get a chimney sweep to clean the inside of the chimney. Always check the chimney cap. (That drone would really come in handy!) We found out during Hurricane Harvey that our chimney cap was cracked. It cost us $1,200.00 to repair the cap and the interior damage from a leaking fireplace. Far cheaper and easier to handle small repairs than to let it go and end up replacing the entire roof.
9. Trim overgrown shrubbery and trees away from the roof and exterior of your home. Tree branches scraping against a roof can prematurely age the roof. Clean up all debris. Where home maintenance is concerned, procrastination is disastrous and expensive. Inspect at the beginning of fall and spring. These few things, if done now, might save you thousands of dollars.
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Have a wonderful Autumn!