Get those fall chores checked off your list

After a long, hot summer, we have been jolted back into the blustery reality of a Grays Harbor fall!

Even though we are officially in fall, if you act quickly, you have time to get your home ready for fall and winter weather. At the very least, now is the time to put away the accoutrements of summer and prepare to hunker down for winter.

Here is an autumn “To Do” list from us here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen to get you started.

Put away all the yard furniture, ladders and anything that can blow away or be ruined by wind and rain.

Keep your blower and rake handy for the falling leaves that will continue to plug the street drain in front of your house. Keeping the street gutter and drains clear as a top priority until the leaves are done falling will stop any water from backing up in front of your house.

Check windows and doors for cracked or crumbling caulk. Invest in a 35-year paintable caulk so you don’t have to do this chore again soon. Take a wet finger to smooth the caulk lines.

Take the last opportunity of decent weather — if it comes — to scrub mold off your home’s exterior.

Protect under-house or exposed water pipes with pipe sleeves or insulation.

Check the dryer’s vent flapper and screen for lint buildup. Does the flapper door work properly? This can be a secret passage for critters!

Check all outside lights. With days getting darker earlier, it’s a safety issue to have them in working order. Consider converting to LED lighting.

Change the self-closer on your screen door to the winter setting. This will close the door more quickly and help prevent a wind-damaged door — and cold air from coming into your house.

Lubricate your door hinges and locks with silicone spray.

Cut vegetation back from your house. Doing so will help prevent mold and mildew, which can gnaw away at the integrity of your home.

Do you have moss or other vegetation growing on your roof? Now’s the time to tend to that with a stiff nylon brush on a long pole. Powdered or liquid “Moss-Off” will kill and prevent future growth for a year or two.

Check your roof for missing or damaged shingles. Examine roof penetrations and flashings. Call a roofer or handyman if needed.

Make sure your chimney is clear of bird nests and soot. Call a chimney cleaner if you need to.

Clean the leaf screens in your gutters and water test both gutters and downspouts.

Place splash blocks or pipe extensions at each downspout. They help convey the rainwater away from your foundation or basement. They should be at least 2 feet from the foundation, but 10 feet is better.

Clean out any driveway drain boxes and make sure they drain properly. Adding a mesh screen helps keep debris out of the system.

Move any woodpiles so they are at least 20 feet from your house to discourage the migration of pests into your cozy abode.

Clean your window and window tracks. (We gave instructions a few weeks ago on how to do that.)

Pay attention to the main heating device of your home. Does it need to be cleaned serviced or replaced?

How are your door mats and floor mats — inside and out? Good mats can prevent a lot of dirt from coming inside as well as soak up water that can create inside moisture issues.

Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is executive director. This is a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for all residents of Grays Harbor County. For questions about the ductless heat pump program or home repair, housing counseling for renters and landlords, homebuyer education and buying, call 360-533-7828, listen to the extension picks that will best help you and leave a callback name and number. Due to Covid-19, our office is not currently open for a visit, but we will call you back.