Football games. Pumpkin picking. Apple cider. Halloween. Fall is so much fun! If you can squeeze a little preventive maintenance in between all the activities, you can help keep your home in top condition. Now is a good time to check the following areas of your home...and a way to make the chores a little more fun.
- Pick a Saturday when you don’t care who’s playing - or a Saturday when your favorite team has a night game.
- Talk your neighbors into doing their fall maintenance on the same day so you’ll have some company.
- Go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients to make hot mulled wine. You’ll need 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups of water, 2 cups of cranberry juice cocktail, the peeling of half a lemon, 6 allspice berries, 12 whole cloves, 2 bottles of Claret or Burgundy wine and 6 cinnamon sticks.
- Do not make the hot mulled wine yet. Proceed instead to checking your home.
- Since the day is early, start with the roof. Are flashing and shingles secure?
- Gutters and downspouts. Are they free of debris?
- Exterior wood. Is it thoroughly sealed? Do any areas need to be caulked?
- Fireplace and chimney. Do they need to be cleaned?
- Windows and doors. Is weatherstripping tight?
- Electrical system. Are smoke detectors and circuit breakers in good working order?
- HVAC. A pre-winter check by a licensed HVAC contractor is always a good idea. Replace furnace filters...and write yourself a note to change them monthly during winter months.
- You’re almost finished, but don’t start the hot mulled wine yet!
- Plumbing. Does the main shut-off valve operate freely?
- Sump pump. Is it free of debris?
- Foundation. Does the soil around it drain away? If you have landscaped during the summer, be sure to maintain the grade away from the foundation.
- And an early winter tip: Salt wreaks havoc on concrete. When you travel salted roads, the runoff can damage your garage floor. Best to park outside until the car’s washed!
Congratulations! You finished!
Now you can start the hot mulled wine! Combine all ingredients in a large pot except the wine. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil slowly for about 15 minutes. Add wine and heat thoroughly but do not let the mixture return to a boil.
Since this makes a pretty good amount, you should have plenty to share with your neighbors who've been sharing these dreary chores with you! Have them bring hearty hors d'oeuvres - you'll all need to eat!
Put your feet up and relax - you’ve earned it!
- Betsy de Parry, VP Sales and Marketing