Fall Projects: Hot Tips and Tools for Cooler Days

Filed in Home Maintenance by on September 10, 2016
As the temperatures begin to cool, thoughts turn to fall cleanup, winterizing chores and readying your home for the spring’s rising temps and the eventual return of an easy summer at the lake lifestyle.
leaf-guardGuard Your Gutters
Consider the installation of gutter guards from industry leaders such as Leaf Guard or Gutter Helmet. Both products are designed to rid homeowners of the dreaded chore of cleaning out the gutters. If you’ve ever done it, you know how unpleasant a chore it can be. There are many products on the market, some DIY options and others that require professional installation. Those with mesh-type screens have a tendency to catch pine needles and are less effective in our woodsy northern areas.
These two products work using surface tension that causes the water to cling thereby discarding any debris it was carrying; and allowing only the water to flow into your gutters.

Single family home in suburban Philadelphia. Yellow Norway Maple leaves and tree

Leaf Management

With all those leaves coming off your roof instead of into your gutters, you’ll need to manage them once they hit the ground. Whether your choice of tool for managing them is a rake or blower, we’ve selected a couple of great tools to help you get the job done quickly.
The Dewalt Blower Cordless Electric Brushless Blower, rocks an air volume of up to 400 cubic feet per minute at 90 miles per hour. With a variable speed trigger and speed lock, a brushless motor that maximizes efficiency and durability, as well as a fan design that maximizes air output and run time, you’ll be the man (or woman) in charge of this year’s leaf management tasks.
If manual labor is more your style, a dual tine rake might be the just the tool you need. The innovative design of this 26-inch True Temper model is ideal for those who want to rake faster, and frankly, we don’t know anyone who prefers to rake slower. The dual tine design quickly rakes through leaves and
grass with a clean sweep. The large head size makes quick work of the task, while the included detachable hand rake gets into tight spaces easily. A comfort grip textured
handle allows for better control and eases strain on hands and arms. Rake
Patching Bare Spots
If we’re lucky weather-wise this fall, you may have time to get in a little patching of the lawn after the leaves have been cleaned up and before the snow begins to fall. Pennington’s One-Step and One-Step Complete will have your lawn patched in as little as two weeks.
A combination premium grass seed and professional-grade fertilizer (and mulch) is contains technology to ensure better growth of beautiful, healthy, thick grass.
Plant for Spring Color
Is it already too late in the season to patch that lawn? Consider turning that space into a perennial and bulb garden. Perennials and bulbs both work very well planted in the fall and then left, with the right mix of soil amendments, for a long winter’s nap.
We’ve selected three Zone 3-hardy tulips to bring bright hot summer hues to your spring garden. Divide a few of your existing perennials, such as hosta, daylilies, bee balm and peonies, add the tulips and you’ll have a spring garden that will be the envy of your neighbors. And… you’ll be benefiting the perennials by dividing them. We call that a garden win.
tulip-2Carnival de Rio Tulip
Almost candy-striped in appearance, this modern Rembrandt tulip, Carnival de Rio, sports flamed bicolor pattern in red and white. Blooming mid spring, this variety will produce an abundance of cut flowers.
tulip-kievKiev Tulip
Kiev sports huge blooms of bright red with sunny yellow edges that sit atop purple and green mottled foliage. Very impressive! A Greigii tulip, these are low growing but the blooms are very large in proportion to the rest of the plant. Blooms mid to late spring.
tulip-parrot-kingParrot King Tulip
The most flamboyant parrot tulip — the king of all Parrots — deserves its name. As blooming begins, the yellow-orange frilly edges of the petals offset an emerald green midrib; with maturity, the petals become solid yellow with red feathery edges. During the day, they fully open in a dramatic display and then close at night. Blooms mid spring.
Dig and Divide, Pot and Plant
With all that planting and dividing, you’ll need the right tools. The landscapers’s tool called a Hori Hori isa cross between a knife, a trowel, and a saw. This efficient tool can be used to cut roots in the ground, divide plants, and dig out weeds, and of course, for digging and potting plants.
For the serious gardener, or one who simply likes using the best tools, a hori hori will help you get a lot of work done with just a little effort.
Once you’ve finished all those outdoor projects, there’s still a few to be done inside before you can sit back and enjoy the beauty of our northern winters with a good book (or game) beside a warming fire.
Mind the Heat
Change furnace filters or check the status of your unit’s permanent filter. Be sure to review your furnaceor heat exchanger’s manual (or local service provider) for seasonal maintenance requirements, but don’t forget to change the filter too. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand. As heating season begins, it’s important to keep all components of your system in t op working order. A little maintenance now could avoid or reduce a costly repair later.
Disposable fiberglass filters trap very little of your home’s debris, but they get dirty surprisingly fast. Installing an electrostatic filter can up the cleaning power to nearly 90% of debris and are better at controlling pollen, mold and bacteria. Genuine HEPA filters remove 99- plus percent of particles in your home’s air.

man caulking window during the day

man caulking window during the day

Stop Leaks

Caulking windows and doors where leaks can steal up to 30% of a home’s heating (and cooling) efficiency pays big dividends. It’s a good idea to seal up gaps with caulking or weather-stripping in corners, where pipes and wire exit the home, places where air might be escaping (or coming in), but one
of the biggest culprits in energy waste, are doors and windows. Those windows were caulked when they were installed, but if it has been a while, you might want to look them over closely or do an incense test to see if they are leaking.
More information about incense tests can be found numerous places online.
If you do re-caulk, make sure you but the right product for your pro ject and follow the manufacturer’s instructions in order to get the most benefit out of your time.
Clean, Cover and Store Deck Furniture
That deck and outdoor furniture you spent all summer relaxing on needs a little TLC before it’s stored away for the season. Whether you have an indoor storage spot for them, or have to leave them outdoors for the season, be sure to clean them well of all debris, then consider a cover such as the Veranda line from Classic Accessories. This line features heavyweight Gardelle™ woven polyester fabric and special water-repellent and resistant undercoating.
Air vents reduce condensation and wind lofting and there are padded handles for easy fitting and removal. The elastic hem cord with toggle allows adjustment for a custom fit. The covers are available for tables, sofas, loveseats, lounge chairs, sectionals.

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