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Jump Start Your Fall Maintenance

A few signs of Fall have been cropping up all over the Northern Virginia area, even though our temperatures may remind us that it’s still Summer. Make use of the nice weather to take care of some needed maintenance around your home, so that you are ready when colder weather arrives. Proper care will help your home run more efficiently, saving you money, and it will also help you protect one of your most valuable investments: your home.

Let the Sun Shine In

As temperatures cool off, you can heat your home naturally by letting in more sunlight. This will help you avoid turning on your heating system and dealing with the associated costs early in the season. So open those curtains and let the sun shine in! For added privacy, you can add sheers to your window treatments, to allow the light in while obscuring activity inside the home. Have black out curtains and other “insulating” curtains do a great job of keeping the heat out when you want your home to be cool (and keeps the cold out in winter), but can work against you in the transition between Fall and Winter.

Give Your Flower Beds Some Winter Cover

Once summer flowers begin to die back or right around the first frost, you’ll want to add a layer of mulch to your flower beds. You don’t necessarily want to do this while the sun is still baking, because you could cook your plants. But by early October, you may be able to start cleaning out the dead foliage and prepping beds for winter. Mulch is important because as it decomposes it adds nutrients to the soil, prevents your soil from eroding away in heavy rain, and acts to suppress weeds. It also prevent the soil from losing too much moisture and acts as a blanket against harsh temperature changes.

Add some potted mums for pops of color in the fall, when the rest of your garden is going dormant.

Cover Your Patio Furniture

You may continue to use your outdoor patio furniture well into October (or later if you enjoy a good backyard fire). However, you do want to make sure your furniture is protected from harsh temperatures and excess moisture. A good quality set of furniture covers can help you protect your investment. Waterproof covers are best, to help prevent rust, and to prevent pooling water, ice, and snow from ruining your grill or your seat cushions.

Get Your HVAC Serviced

We have a tendency to forget about things when we don’t use them, then find ourselves in a pickle when they don’t work when we want them to. Nothing is worse than your furnace giving up the ghost right when temps dip into the single digits. Getting your HVAC serviced BEFORE the first time you use it can not only identify potential problems before they turn into costly repairs, but it can also ensure that your system runs at peak efficiency – which saves you money. So make the appointment definitely by the end of September or early October.

Clean Your Gutters!

We know. This task is no fun. Standing up on a ladder for hours, scooping sludge out of gutters is no one’s idea of a good time on a Saturday. However, clogged gutters have the potential to cause CONSIDERABLE damage to your home, causing expensive roof repairs and water damage inside and outside your home. So make sure your gutters and downspouts flow freely, so that melting ice and rain can drain away properly.

Have Your Chimney Serviced

If you have a chimney in your home, it’s a good idea to have an annual inspection, and, if necessary, have your chimney cleaned before you use your fireplace for the first time. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, build-up inside the chimney can be a fire hazard. If you have a gas fireplace, you’ll want to make sure that everything is working properly to ensure proper ventilation and avoid potential dangers.

Call an Arborist

Winter weather, such as ice, snow, and strong winds can cause a lot of damage to trees. Falling limbs, consequently, can cause a lot of damage to your home, your cars, and any other structures on your property. Have your trees inspected, and have any dead or weak limbs removed before bad winter weather begins. Do this before all this leaves have fallen off the tree, as this makes it easier to identify dead wood.

Do an Energy Audit

If you haven’t had an energy audit conducted on your home, now is the time to do it. This will give you time to schedule or perform any necessary maintenance before you have to start using your heating system. A basic audit will cost you round $250, which just includes a visual inspection. More extensive audits cost more, but they will really identify areas where your home is leaking energy. Check out the Fairfax County website for more information on energy audits, resources to find local contractors, even resources to help you do a DIY audit.

Stop Leaks Around Windows and Doors

Even without an energy audit, there is a high likelihood that your home is leaking air around windows and doors. This causes both your furnace and your A/C to work harder and wastes energy. According to HouseLogic, an average home loses up to 30% of its energy this way. You can run a fresh bead of caulk around windows and door frames, install weather stripping around doors and windows, and use threshold sweeps to block air from going under exterior doors.

Check for leaks with a stick of incense. On a breezy day, hold a lit stick of incense up to your windows and doors (make sure they are all closed first). Watch to see if the smoke moves. A lot of movement indicates you have air movement between the window or door and the outside of the home.

When it is time to sell or buy a home, having a local team you can rely on will make the process a smooth one. Call the Realtors® who love where they live and understand the local real estate market. ADMC Realty Group happily serves the communities in and around the Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas. From start to finish, we’re here to help with all your Real estate needs. Give us a call at (202)596-8101 or email us at [email protected]

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