Consumer Reports

Fall Chores You Can't Afford to Ignore

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Fall is the perfect time to make those necessary home fixes that may have slipped through the cracks over the summer but should definitely be addressed before winter. Not sure where to begin? Consumer Reports reveals the fall chores you can’t afford to ignore.

Some chores can save you money in the long run, starting with your lawn. Consumer Reports suggest you avoid leaving matted leaves on the grass.

Use your lawn mower’s mulching mode to return nutritious bits of leaves and grass back into the soil. Plus it saves your back from raking.

You’ll also save money on leaf bags come spring, and patching the lawn.

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Leaves don’t just fall on your yard. Leaves, sticks, and other debris can clutter gutters, causing rain to overflow and pool around your home’s foundation, and even seep inside.

And if the water in your gutters gets cold enough to freeze, ice dams can form, which will force water back under your roofing shingles and even cause drips inside the house.

The safest way to clear gutters is from the ground using a wand extension for your hose or even an attachment for your leaf blower or wet vac. Never go on the roof to clean your gutters.

And to protect your foundation, make sure your gutters drain at least 5 feet from the house.

Take some time to inspect your roof. Use binoculars to look for shingles that appear cracked or curled.

Small leaks can damage the wood sheathing and rafters, and your home’s interior. Consulting a professional can save you money down the line.

A pro can inspect the flashing around your chimney and any skylights, and catch any leaks before they get worse.

And finally, don’t forget to close your hoses to avoid the risk of a burst pipe in sudden freezing weather. Shut off inside valves, then drain any leftover water from the outside spigots.

Consumer Reports says this is also the time of year to replace those furnace filters. Dirty air filters can restrict heat airflow in your house and lead to expensive repairs.

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