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KATHY'S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - FALL MAINTENANCE THAT’S INEXPENSIVE AND SAVES MONEY DOWN THE ROAD

Clear all vegetation that is along the foundation. This causes problems in three areas. Vegetation like this is an open invitation to vermin and insects to move right in. Roots can grow and cause pressure and cracks in the foundation. Number three is water retention. Water needs to flow away from the foundation, not pool around vegetation and cause foundation problems. Fill in low spots around the foundation to further encourage water running away from the foundation. Extend downspouts to bring roof runoff further away from the house to discourage water running back towards the foundation. Install splash blocks to keep water from splashing back.  

There are several things we can do to extend the life of our roofs. One of the most important is keeping the gutters clean and flowing. Clogged gutters cause water to pool and splash back and over time will damage the shingles and cause leaks and worsen ice damming. We usually keep an eye out during heavy rains. You can tell right away when gutters are overflowing and not much is coming out the downspouts. So you might have to clean them twice in the fall, just make sure the last time you do them is when all (or almost all) the leaves have fallen. Check the roof while you’re up there. Make sure flashings are sealed and replace shingles as needed. Trim trees near the house and roof. They can cause damage in wind storms and during heavy snows. Termites and other wood destroying insects can also use overhanging branches as a highway to your home.  

Clean around the exterior air conditioning compressor. Fallen leaves tend to collect around this unit in the fall. Compressors need to have good air flow in winter as well as summer. Do not cover!

Seal asphalt driveways. This will deter water seeping into the driveway to freeze, expand and deteriorate the surface. Apply deck preservative to protect the wood from the harsh winter elements.

Check all the exterior doors and windows for caulk deterioration. A simple bead of caulk around windows and doors will go a long way to keep cold out and reduce energy costs. Make sure your caulk is rated for exterior use.

Again check all outside drains, now and through the winter. Clogged drains cause water to pool and seep into basements and foundations causing no end of damage. I remember the words an old Home Inspector told me years ago, “Water is not your friend!” You need to keep it away from the foundation, roof, gutters, windows and doors to keep your house in good repair.

Next week indoor maintenance.   

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:21 AM by Dean's Team

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