Credit: The Family Handyman

Get your gutter clean

Credit: The Family Handyman

Believe it or not: an old plastic spatula makes a great tool for cleaning debris from gutters! it won’t scratch the gutter and you can even cut it to fit your gutter’s shape and mold – something you can’t do with an actual gutter cleaner! The grime will wipe right off the spatula too, making the clean up process an absolute breeze. Ensure you do this during fall, as the rain and falling leaves will make your gutters block much easier.

Check your detectors

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With your furnaces turned on, the windows closed and the portable heaters humming this fall, it’s a great time to make sure your smoke and CO detectors are actually working. Check its batteries and expirations to ensure you are still living safely – smoke detectors are typically okay for 10 years, and CO detectors can last for about 6 years.

Bleed hot water radiators

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Trapped air sometimes clogs your hot water radiator, meaning some of the ‘fins’ will remain cold. Avoid this by finding the small valve (like the one shown) at the top of your radiator, and take your radiator key or a flat screwdriver and turn the valve counter-clockwise until water starts dripping out. This will release the trapped air and will allow hot water into the cold fins. Ensure you do this on all your radiators.

Clean steam radiator vents

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While your at it, clean your steam radiators too! Steam radiators have an air vent (like the one shown), and these may have been painted over which can plug the air hole. Clear the air hole in the top of the vent with a small wire or sewing needle to avoid this from happening. If you believe this hasn’t done the trick, then consult a hot water/steam heat specialist who can replace the vents.

The best way to water the lawn is to water it in the fall

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Your lawn still needs watering in the autumn, even though the leaves are changing and the growing season is winding down, meaning your grass isn’t growing as fast! Watering the lawn in autumn helps your lawn to recover from summer stress and gain strength for the winter ahead. This is especially true if you use fertilizer, as water is necessary for the fertilizer to dissolve and soak into the ground.

Aerate the soil

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‘Aerating’ the soil simply means to make holes in the ground by removing plugs of soil, and it is a way to maintain a healthy, good looking lawn. It relieves compaction caused by foot traffic and will instead create extra pore space in the soil, allowing air, nutrients and water to enter. This all helps the roots to thrive! You should aerate your lawn at least once a year (2-3 at best), and should preferably be done at least once in the fall.

Bring your latex/acrylic paint into your house!

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Paint doesn’t handle well in extreme temperatures, so if you live a cold climate, ensure you bring your latex/acrylic paint into the house! This is because freezing can completely ruin this paint. Along with this, remember to avoid painting at all during the colder months. This is because paint cannot dry properly in freezing temperatures, meaning it will only dry partway and will easily come off when it’s touched.

Keep window wells clean or risk a broken window and wet basement

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If you’ve never had a problem with water in a window well, then you may never think to clean it out. However, if you neglect to clean it out after or before an average rainfall, then the fallen leaves can clog up your gutter and window well, with the leaves preventing any drainage. This can cause the water level to rise higher and higher until the pressure breaks the basement windows, and then gallons and gallons entering the basement – ruining everything in sight. Avoid this and just clean your window wells!

Fertilize in the fall

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If you want the best lawn in town, then you must fertilize it 4 times a year. But if you can only fertilize it once a year, then you can still have a great lawn – as long as you do this in the fall! Choose a fertilizer that’s labeled 4-1-2, or ask an expert at the garden centre for advice about which fertiliser you should use. Apply the fertilizer about 3 weeks before the last mowing of the season. Doing this in the fall provides energy and nutrients for the grass roots as they multiply in cooler weather.

Gutter straightener

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Ice that forms on your roof may come off your roof and therefore bend the spikes that secure your gutters to the fascia board. One easy way to fix straighten them out again is to use a 2-ft. length of angle iron and a link of heavy metal chain. The angle iron and chain link provide sufficient leverage to straighten the spike and pull the gutter back into alignment.