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Not-so-scary essential fall home maintenance

Not-so-scary essential fall home maintenance

Get over your fear of tackling your home maintenance list with these essential autumn repairs you can complete before the trick-or-treaters arrive.

​Halloween is a time for ghoulish delights, not homeowner frights, but that's exactly what your home might deliver. And when you have expected guests popping in for treats, you don't want to worry about the tricks your home might pull - now and in the coming months. So we've put together a checklist of not-so-scary home maintenance you can do - and should do - before All Hallow's Eve to avoid costly repairs and safeguard your candy-craving guests.

Hocus pocus - outdoor focus

​These outdoor repairs might seem like witchcraft, but you can complete them all in one warm weekend with time to spare for an apple cider doughnut.

Whisk away unwanted twigs 

Banish trees and shrubs for touching your home, especially those rubbing against your roof. Plants help uninvited pests reach and enter your home, and trees can rip up your shingles and clog your gutters, leading to leaks. So cut away unwanted branches, and consider calling a professional to check the integrity of your roof before winter arrives.

Swap out your screens

​Hang on to that summer warmth by removing screen doors and windows. This simple task will help your house retain more heat from the sun (free of charge), and if you have single-pane windows, swapping out your screens for storm windows can also increase your home's heat efficiency. You'll be nice and roasty, toasty warm even when the temperatures start to dip.

Make your gutter and downspout dirt disappear 

​We can hear your moaning - and not in a Frankenstein's monster kind of way. But cleaning your gutters and downspouts prevents water damage to your roof, siding, and even your home's interior. Do it yourself with flexible "wands," high-pressure nozzles, and even robots! (Just make sure to avoid a nasty - and painful - ladder accident.) Or call a professional who can make all the leaves and dirt disappear, just like magic.

Driveway reparo

Since winter is coming, you'll need to fix those cracked driveways and walkways now. If you leave these issues for the cold months, water can seep into your concrete area, freeze, thaw, and eventually expand, creating a frighteningly costly display. Asphalt driveways tend to be more resilient to this type of cracking but are prone to frost heave (when moisture in the soil freezes and thaws, causing your asphalt to buckle). You can repair your driveway almost as easily as Ron repaired Harry's glasses with a scraper, leaf blower, filler rope (for big cracks), and caulking.

Enchanting interior essentials 

​These quick, interior repairs and service items can be completed before you have to run out for another bag of candy, and some might even save you money.

Cast a spell on your ceiling fan 

​You want to know that the cool breeze across the back of your neck is from a poltergeist, not your ceiling fan. With your fan turned off, use a ladder to reach the small switch on the side that changes the way your fan runs - from counterclockwise to clockwise. This simple action sends the warm air flowing up and keeps the cool air from blowing down (on you).

Lower your heating bill by replacing your old weatherstripping - no trick!

​This is one sweet deal. In less than 10 minutes, you can seal your door by pressing the adhesive edge of the weatherstripping into the molding along the doorway. Cut away excess stripping and voila! You'll enjoy reduced airflow and fewer drafts. Complete weatherstripping on your windows with the help of a peel and stick roll. Depending upon the choice of weatherstripping, including felt, rubber, and even metal, you may see savings in your heating bill up to 30 percent.

Carve out some time for your emergency equipment  

​Prevent a true nightmare by checking the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon dioxide monitors every month to make sure they're working properly. Keep extra batteries on hand to avoid disconnecting your detectors for any length of time, and also, inspect your fire extinguisher to make sure it's properly maintained. Though you might pretend to be a firefighter for Halloween, you'll want to make sure you don't need a real one on the scene anytime soon.

'Tis the season to inspect your HVAC

​Before you flip the switch that magically turns your air conditioner into a heater, call a professional to inspect and service the system. This helps to ensure that the heat will be there when you need it. After all, one of the most frightening nightmares you can have is a cold winter's night.

Now that you're set for Halloween, get up to speed with more tips and tricks for your home, so you can host this year's Thanksgiving meal with peace of mind. Sign up for vipHomeLink now with a free 90-day trial for more ways to keep your home safe during the holidays and all year round.

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