The United States has five major climate zones, so maintenance for a home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, differs wildly from one in moist, sub-tropical Palm Beach, Florida. The Sunshine State also has to contend with hurricanes and annual average precipitation of about 54 inches.
Muggy Florida summers make almost any outdoor work unbearable. Fall, however, is a perfect time to give your home a seasonal tune-up. To help you get your home ready, we've put together eight helpful fall home maintenance tips specifically for Florida homeowners.
#1 Check Your Disaster Supply Kit
When hurricane season ends on November 30, it's important to check your disaster supply kit and make sure you're ready for the next season—or any unexpected weather events. If you don't currently have a disaster supply kit, stop putting it off and make one! Since Florida is the most hurricane-prone state in the U.S., it's critical to be prepared at all times. Here are ten essential items to include in your disaster supply kit:
- 2-week supply of medication
- Battery-operated radio
- First aid kit
- Important documents (including your homeowners insurance info)
- Nonperishable foods
- Water (1 gallon per person)
- Pet supplies
- Solar-powered phone case
Download your complete disaster supply kit checklist from Florida Division of Emergency Management.
#2 Maintain Your Swimming Pool
Florida pools are in use year-round, so it’s hard to find a perfect time for maintenance. If you have a pool, you should do a thorough inspection at least once a year—and fall is as good a time as any. Make sure to clean your pool thoroughly, including debris traps to prevent leaves or any rubbish from building up and clogging your pool’s filtration system. Inspect ladders, handrails, diving boards, and other pool equipment for loose parts or any deterioration.
Keep in mind some pool issues are difficult to spot if you're not a professional. A certified expert can check your pool's plumbing and water pressure and identify leaks or drainage issues. They can also check motors, pumps and electrical parts like lights and wires.
(If you have a pool, check out our 9 Essential Summer Pool Safety Tips for Florida Homeowners)
#3 Care for Your Yard
If you have trees or shrubs on your property, you should add trimming and pruning to your fall to-do list. After hurricane season, there could be broken branches in your trees, which is why fall is the perfect time to trim and prune them. You should remove any branches that could potentially damage your home. Pruning dead branches also helps your trees' overall health, making them more resistant to storm damage in the future. And now that rainy season is over make sure you are watering and fertilizing your grass.
#4 Make Exterior Repairs
Many Floridians mistakenly forget to inspect their house after hurricane season. The tiniest of storms can cause damage to your home. Take a walk around your property and inspect your roof, siding, and foundation. Look for any small gaps where critters could enter your home. The smallest crack can welcome a ton of un-wanted guests into your home.
#5 Power Wash Windows and Siding
Consider power washing your windows and siding to improve your home’s appearance. The fall provides more comfortable outdoor weather than the hot and humid months of July and August. When done appropriately, a good power wash can banish health hazards like mold and mildew. Power washing can also get rid of buildup and debris, giving your home a renewed look.
#6 Paint Your House
If you want to paint the exterior of your home, fall is a perfect time! It's best to paint the outside of your home when temperatures start to drop. Plus, there are fewer chances of rain, which can really mess up a paint job. And your house will look its best for the upcoming holiday season.
#7 Check Your Alarms
Now is a great time to check your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms—and put in fresh batteries. If you do not own a carbon monoxide detector, you should strongly consider purchasing one—especially if you have oil or gas-burning appliances. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless byproduct of burning oil or gas that can be deadly.
#8 Clean Your Grill
Now that temperatures are becoming more bearable, you'll probably be using your grill more often. Make sure it's in tip-top shape! A dirty grill not only makes your food taste bad, but it also creates a fire hazard. Remove all grease and fat build using a grill brush. Try and use a bristle-free brush because bristles can easily break free and land on the grill, creating a possible choking hazard.
To prevent any other fire hazards, make sure your grill is in a location far away from your home or shed. You should also check your propane grill's gas tank hose for leaks before using it. Wash the hose with a light soap and water solution. If there is a leak, gas will escape from cracks and form new bubbles on the hose's surface. Smaller bubbles indicate a minor leak, while larger bubbles indicate a more significant leak. If this happens, turn your grill off and replace the hose.
Weather-wise, fall is the perfect time to give your Florida home a checkup. Staying on top of the little things now can help you to avoid costly damages in the future. And if you follow these fall home maintenance tips, your home will be running more efficiently for the year.
Need to get your home ready for the new season? Check out our Fall Home Maintenance Checklist!