Autumn begins this weekend, and a number of things need to be done around the house this season according to Ryan Fillinger, vice president of marketing and sales for A. Fillinger Inc., a fourth generation family business, ACE Hardware store, and custom cabinetry and millwork company.
The to-do list covers both the home and landscape. “Many of the items on the autumn checklist are in preparation for winter,” Fillinger said. “It’s easier to do these projects while the weather is still mild.”
•Deal with leaves. “After a few days, a thick layer of leaves will smother the lawn and block sunlight,” he said. Homeowners with large yards and a lot of deciduous trees may have to start raking earlier and more often. “If raking or blowing leaves becomes difficult, consider getting a mulching mower.”
•Clean the gutters. Clean gutters look nicer, help prevent ice build-up on the roof, and reduce the risk of leaks and water damage. Don’t forget to check the downspouts, too.
•Plant grass. The lawn is very active during the cool weather seasons. “If you need to plant grass, do it soon,” he said. “As we get closer to winter, it may be best to hold off until spring.” It’s also a great time to plant bulbs for spring.
•Trim trees. “Walk around and trim any branches that could knock out power or cause problems during winter storms,” he said.
•Weatherproof. Gaps around doors and window sashes should be weatherstripped, and gaps between permanent building materials should be sealed with caulking.
•Fertilize. In early fall, apply fertilizer to stimulate root growth. In late fall, apply a winterizing fertilizer that builds resistance to the cold and provides nutrients to extend the green period in the fall.
•Clean the chimney.“Don’t take chances with creosote,” he said. A professional cleaning at least once per year can keep your fireplace working safely.
•Replace the furnace filter. Replacing the filter is an easy way to improve air quality and even save money on energy usage.
•Make repairs. Check the state of your sump pump, window/door screens, exterior walls, roof, and porch/deck.
•Goodbye, lawnmower. When the lawnmower is done for the year, drain the gas and give it a thorough cleaning, sharpening dull blades and replacing the spark plugs and air filter as needed. “While you’re at it, drain and store the garden hoses,” Fillinger said.
•Hello, snow blower. Fill the snow blower with gas and start it up to make sure it’s in good working order for winter. “Also check your shovels,” he added. “And keep your eye out for good deals on salt or sand for the driveway. It’s best to be ready for the big storm ahead of time.”
•Replace batteries and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Established in southeastern Wisconsin in 1938, A. Fillinger Inc. was one of the early ACE Hardware affiliates and has more than 20,000 products on-hand. The millwork division specializes in custom cabinetry and mouldings. A. Fillinger is located at 6750 N. 43rd St. in Milwaukee.
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