The days are getting shorter, but that’s no excuse to let important home projects fall by the wayside. Fall is the perfect time to complete home-related projects. The mild, pleasant temperatures reduce the physical stress of working outdoors, and it is the last chance for many to make needed repairs before inclement weather arrives. Knock these projects off the to-do list this month, and you’ll be able to give thanks knowing your home is ready for whatever lies ahead.

Keep Gutters Clean

The leaves, pine needles and other debris piling up in the gutters have to go. Gutters are highly ineffective when clogged with debris from nearby trees. These obstructions cause gutters to collect and hold water and prevent them from funneling moisture away from the home. Clogged gutters should not be ignored because they can damage fascia boards, cause mold growth and create foundation issues.

Winterize Irrigation Systems

Irrigation systems are in serious danger if not drained properly. Water left in the lines will expand as it freezes and can cause the pipes to burst. To ensure all water is cleared from the pipes, use an air compressor to force water out of the system. This process, known as “blowing out,” should be done by a professional. The amount of pressure needed to blow out the water will vary from one system to the next, and if not done correctly, it can cause considerable damage to the pipes and other components.

Clean The Chimney

Floors aren’t the only things that need to be swept from time to time. Chimneys also need a good cleaning. Over time, a combustible material called creosote can build up inside the chimney. If this catches fire, it can cause major damage to the home and result in serious injuries or even death. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once a year to ensure they are free of creosote and are ready for use.

Check The Roof

Roofs will last a long time, but they will not last forever. Eventually, the roof’s shingles will begin to wear, causing them to curl, chip or go missing. All are very bad signs and should be repaired immediately. Damaged roofs can allow rain or melting snow to infiltrate the house, which can cause thousands of dollars of damage. Use binoculars to visually scan the roof from the ground. Also, check the gutters and downspouts for roofing granules. Finding an abundance of granules is a sign the roof will need to be replaced.

Get Snow-Removal Tools Ready

Snow-removal tools will not be doing anyone any good if they are buried in the corner of the garage when the frozen stuff starts to fall. Get ahead of the game, and pull out all snow-related gear so it can be easily accessed and properly inventoried. Salt and sand should be well stocked and stored off the ground in a dry location. Snow blowers should have their oil and spark plugs changed, and the engine should fire up easily and run smoothly. Remember, last year’s mega snow in Hampton Roads started falling Christmas night. So, if you’re short on supplies or any equipment needs repairs, take care of it now.