Give your home a fall tune-up

Like it or not (and I don’t), I have to admit signs of autumn are pushing their way in.

I need a hard hat, so many acorns are cracking down on the patio. Kids are giggling by on their way to school. Breezes are moving in from the north. And, inexorably, the sun is rising and setting later every day.

Now’s the ideal time for a fall home tune-up.

We should still have a few weeks of decent weather before rain, wind and frost set in. So shake off the summer daze and get to it. Even if you’re not into DIY, line up people to help with your tune-up: Ask your neighbours for suggestions, check Beach Metro’s classified listings or do some digging on the web to find what you need.

It’s not fair for me to make recommendations here – I’ll leave that to your friends and neighbours. But I CAN give you a shortlist of things to do. Use it as-is or as a starting place for your own.

1. Have your furnace checked. Winter is nasty, and you don’t want to be left out in the cold. I promise you that at the first cold snap, hundreds of people will be calling service companies to fix their furnace failures. Don’t be one of them. Set up a furnace inspection now.

2. Protect outdoor wood with paint. You can paint until the temperature is as low as around 10˚C, though that’s pushing it. When autumn sets in, your fingers will ache holding a brush. Even worse, paint will become thick as plaster and you’ll end up globbing it on. Winter weather is hard on wood. Paint is your best protection.

3. Clean eavestroughs.The humble eavestrough is part of your home’s first line of defence against winter damage. Let it fill up with leaves and other gunk, and rainwater will overflow – onto brick, wood or foundations. Water created the Grand Canyon, so it can carve its way through your home’s exterior, too. (Wait until after most of the leaves fall for this job.)

4. Fix fences and gates. If you’re one of the Beach’s many dog owners, pay special attention. You may have been propping up your fence with a few two-by-fours, but it’s time to trade up. The same goes if you’ve been making do with a hunk of lattice as a gate. Trust me, you are NOT going to want to be searching for Maxie when the snow and wind are howling.

5. Patch or redo your walkway and steps. Remember last year, when it was such a pain in the, uh, neck to shovel that section of uneven brick? Or when you slid on that bit of broken concrete? This is your last chance to reset brick or flagstones, or to lay concrete before the temperature drops.

6. Light it up outside. Yes, it’s been lovely and bright late into the night for months now. But that won’t last. Some time in the next month or so, you’re going to be stumbling home in the dark, cursing the outdoor light you didn’t fix or install. Take care of it (and yourself) now.

7. Plan for snow removal. We hate to think about it already, but s**w is in our future. Toss out that crumpled shovel and get a new one before they’re all gone. Get something you can use to chip away at ice, too. (DO NOT use a garden spade, unless it’s so damaged that it’s beyond all hope in the garden.) Got aching bones? Pulled muscles? Hire someone else ahead of time to handle the job.

I could go on – but I won’t. You get the message; now get going.

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