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Last Minute Fall Renovations
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Essential Last-Minute Fall Renovations That Last

Check out some last minute fall renovations to get in before winter comes!

Youíre starting to put the plants in your yard into hibernation, and before long you may have to dig out that snow shovel. But what else do you really need to do before winter arrives?

Itís likely that there are many little maintenance projects youíve contemplated performingóthe tasks you know conscientious homeowners should perform. But in this economy, itís certainly easy to ask ďDo I really need to have that inspected or fixed, or can it wait?Ē And with winter coming, that question has probably become ever more disconcerting.

So, here are the projects you need to look into doing before winter hits:

Your Doors and Windows Ė Inspect the rubber or vinyl door seals (the squishy bit thatís usually black) and caulking around each of your doors, making note of cracks, tears, or missing pieces. If this seal isnít airtight, you will lose a lot of money on your energy billónot to mention youíll be colder! Inspect the caulk and seals around the windows, too!

Wood Decks Ė If you have a wood deck, inspect the individual planks and beams. If any are weak or rotting, replace them and stain/seal the deck. Do this now, because waiting for spring will only allow winter moisture to make it worse.

Tree Limbs Ė The problem of unattended tree limbs is twofold: if a tree branch is too close to your house, squirrels and other such creatures may burrow in through the roof. And of course there is the obvious fact that all it takes is one over-laden heavy tree branch in the wrong place to ruin a car, a garage, or the best-laid greenhouse and garden shed plans. So check around your property for tree limbs in problem places, and, if necessary, call in a qualified tree surgeon to amputate.

Pipes Ė This can be problematic depending on how cold winters are in your neck of the woods. Either way, go through and inspect the pipes, major and minor, in your home. If you see cracked or old pipes, now is the time to replace them.

Now is also the time to consider waterproofing your basement. If you do have to save that project until next year, or if you want extra protection against cracked pipes and basement floods, here are some steps you can take to protect your pipes:

Unscrew hoses from any outdoor faucets to prevent freezing.

Any large, exposed outdoor pipes should be wrapped with pipe insulation or insulation tape (or both, depending on how cold it gets).

If youíre worried about interior pipes (like those underneath your sink) freezing, the easy solution is to wrap extra housing insulation around them and secure with tape.

If subzero temperatures hit, keep kitchen and bathroom cabinets slightly open to get room-temperature air circulating around the pipes, and keep the water barely running at all times (running water is harder to freeze)

The Roof Ė This is not somewhere you want to find a leak in mid-winter. Inspect your shingles for blistering or other signs of wear outside, and the trusses and roof itself from the inside of your attic. If it looks like it might be a problem, call in an expert because it probably is. Fixing and cleaning up after a problem that has developed into a serious leak is far more expensive than nipping it in the bud. So now is the time to replace trusses and shingles if youíve been thinking itís about timeóor if it caught you by surprise.

The Water Heater Ė Even if you canít recall it making any unusual cracks, pops, or gurgles, check on it. Unhappy is the man or woman who wakes up to find that, try as they might, thereís no hot water. Unusual sounds mean itís time to get the sediment drained from the bottom of the heater (and prolong your heaterís life!) Also, itís a good idea to check for leaks or other things that could cause problems later, such as wiring issues. And if itís old enough, donít wait until after a cold shower to call for a replacement (it can take days to replace).

The Furnace Ė You know it would be absolutely miserable to have this break in the middle of January; your house chills out a little too much and all the repairmen get busy in a hurry. So check to make sure the area around the pilot light is clean and everything is in good working orderóand replace it if itís over 20 years old

Once youíve made sure these items are in order, any other renovations can probably wait until spring.

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