How often do you think about the wonder that is your home? Think for a minute about all that your home does for you day in and day out. When it rains, it gives you shelter and keeps you dry, even in the fiercest of thunderstorms. When it gets cold, your home insulates you and keeps that warm air inside. It also keeps you protected from harsh winds, pests and all manners of outside debris.
But your home cannot do it all alone. It’s up to you as a homeowner to help keep your home in good condition so it can continue to keep you safe. While it does mean that housework is almost never done, doing a little bit of work at a time will almost certainly ensure that your home always stands up against the elements.
As the seasons start to change, it’s time to do a little extra work to protect your home from the elements. Here’s how to protect your home — and how a regular gutter cleaning service can help.
Protect your lawn
When the weather cools down, the plants around your yard and your lawn start to prepare for the cold days ahead. That’s good news for you. It means less hard work around your lawn — as long as you’re ready to do a little work right now.
First, start to let your grass grow a bit longer. Adjust your lawn mower so the blades cut less grass off the top and limit the number of times you cut your grass per week. You may not like longer grass, but you’ll like it less when you know the hard work it’s doing.
In the wintertime, longer grass will lie dormant on your lawn. It won’t grow as quickly, if at all, and when the weather warms up in spring, it will bounce right back. If you cut your grass too short, then it will almost certainly die over the cold months, and you’ll have to reseed everything in the spring. Reseeding can be an arduous job, so it’s better to keep your grass a little longer in winter and save yourself the hassle later.
It may be your first instinct to start trimming your trees and bushes right away, but fall isn’t always the best time to trim trees. In Texas, the coldest winter months are actually a better time to prune and trim trees. If you have any trees that look like they could be dead, then you shouldn’t wait to take care of them.
If you have patio furniture, small fountains or other decorations outside your home, it’s time to bring them indoors. That could be in your tool shed or garage or even your pool house. The cold weather and strong winds can damage your outdoor furniture and decor, so it’s better to bring everything indoors when needed.
Seal your driveway
Your driveway a massive asset to your home, and even though it’s made of concrete, it can be damaged. If your driveway has cracks, water can get inside and expand and contract when the weather gets warm and cold. Those expansions can cause the cracks to get bigger and inevitably lead to a very expensive repair.
Before that happens though, you can protect your driveway by sealing it. You can pick up a seal at any home improvement store and do the work yourself.
- Step 1: Clean off any debris or dirt from your driveway. It needs to be clean before applying the seal.
- Step 2: Trim any shrubs or bushes so the leaves or sticks don’t fall on your driveway.
- Step 3: Start at your garage or carport and start pouring the sealer in 6-inch wide puddles. Use a squeegee to spread the sealer down over your driveway from the garage to the street. You only need a thin layer so don’t overdo it.
- Step 4: Once the first layer is on, add a second layer — this time going from left to right. The coats should overlap and cover your entire driveway.
The whole process shouldn’t take much longer than a few hours, and with that little bit of work, you’ll ensure that your driveway stays in good condition all winter long.
Sometimes, the elements you need to protect your home from are other people. Crime exists everywhere, even in the nicest of neighborhoods. So it’s up to you as a homeowner to protect your home from anyone who might want to break into your home or garage.
The first thing to know about deterring crime is that most people who want to commit a robbery as looking for the least resistance. Think unlocked cars or unsecured garages. These allow robbers to get in and out without having to break anything and risk the noise. So your first task should be to secure all entrances to your home and property. Repair any locks and replace when needed. Make sure the locks on windows work, and if you have windows near the ground, such as basement windows, consider adding extra locks or bars that slide in behind windows. These will stop windows from sliding if an intruder happened to get it open.
Car thefts and break-ins are favorites among robbers, especially when owners make it so easy. You should also secure your car, so remember:
- Park it inside your garage and close the door at night.
- If you do park your car outside, make sure it’s locked. That may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t lock their cars and suffer the consequences.
- Clear any valuables off your seats if your car is parked outside. It takes less than a minute to break a window and snatch a laptop or a wallet. Hide them under a seat or take them inside.
Once you have the basics secured, there are other things you can add or do around your home to protect it. Consider a few of these:
- Install a Ring video doorbell: These doorbells notify you when they detect movement near your door. It’s an easy way to check who’s knocking at the door, and it can help you catch anyone who might try to steal a package from in front of your home. Sometimes, having one of these is enough to convince robbers to choose a different home.
- Set your lights on timers: Even when you’re not home, you can make it look as if you are. If a robber is considering your home, he or she will probably move on if you look like you’re home. With a timer, you can control when your lights go on.
- Repair your outdoor lights: Robbers don’t want to be seen, so the brighter your outdoor space, the better. Make sure your doors have working lights nearby. Motion-sensored lights will work especially well to deter anyone sneaking around spaces you can’t easily see from a window.
For a little extra security, consider putting a “beware of dog” sign somewhere on your property — even if you don’t have a dog. Robbers don’t like to bother homes with dogs. They make too much noise, and they have teeth. Even if you just suggest that you have a dog, it may be enough.
Remember, robbers want to take as few chances as possible when committing a crime. Make it a little harder on them, and they’ll probably go looking elsewhere.
Inspect your gutters
If there is going to be a problem with your home, then there’s a good chance that it’s going to start with your gutters. In a way, your gutters are like the veins of your home — and if there’s a clogged gutter or something else wrong with them, then you may need to take action immediately.
Clogged gutters can cause all sorts of problems. When leaves, sticks and other debris get in the way, they form a dam and trap the water in the gutter. That can cause major problems.
First, the still water will become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, everyone’s most hated pest. Mosquitoes love to lay their eggs in standing water, and when they hatch, you may have whole swarms of them hanging around. If you like sitting outside on cool nights around a campfire in your backyard, then you will not want to make a hospitable environment for mosquitoes.
Second, standing water will almost certainly overflow at some point, splashing against your house. Now your home is built to stand up to a lot, but the wood of your home cannot stay consistently wet, especially if you have a wooden frame as many homes in Houston do. Wood that stays wet will begin to rot, and that’s not good for your home. Rotting wood will need to be replaced, which is a cost unto itself, but in the meantime, it can open holes in your home.
Any hole in your home is something to be concerned about. Holes from rotting wood will let the water right in, creating water damage in your home that will need to be replaced. They are also a doorway for most pests who would love to make a home inside your attic. Pests from insects to live animals can get into your home from a hole in the wooden frame, and when they’re in your attic, they can cause a lot of damage before you even notice that they’re there.
So while you’re inspecting your gutters, it’s also important to go in and inspect your attic as well. Look for any weak or wet spots that may come from water outside and make any repairs necessary. And while you’re at it, you might consider installing insulation in your attic, if it isn’t already insulted. Attic insulation is actually one of the best home improvement projects to tackle because it has the best return on investment.
Schedule a gutter cleaning service in Houston
Before the weather gets too cold, it’s important to schedule a gutter cleaning service in Houston to ensure your home stays in good condition all winter long.
Now you could clean your own gutters, but a gutter cleaning service in Houston will save you time and ensure a job well done. Moving bit by bit around your home can be an arduous task. Without a gutter cleaning service in Houston, it will be up to you to move your ladder (you do have one, right?) around your home and clear away all that debris that’s caught in your gutters. Even once it’s all out, the debris will still need to be recycled, composted or disposed of in some way.
But when you schedule a gutter cleaning service in Houston, all that hard work can be done by an expert. A gutter cleaning service expert will have all the right tools to get the job done, so if you don’t have a tall enough ladder, that’s okay. Your gutter cleaning service expert will clean out the gutters, dispose of the debris and notify you of any problems he or she might notice. Having an experienced eye look at your gutters can help you spot problems that you might have otherwise missed. In this way, the gutter cleaning service almost pays for itself.
A gutter cleaning service should be done once towards the end of fall. By that time, all the leaves will have fallen from the trees, and your gutter cleaning service expert will be able to get all the debris out at once. As an added benefit for you, you’ll only have to schedule one gutter cleaning service.
Your home does a lot for you whether you notice it or not. If you want your home to keep doing its job, then you need to do your part to keep it in good condition, and that means scheduling a gutter cleaning service in Houston.
So tell us: How do you prepare your home for fall? Share with us in the comments and let us know if you have any questions about a gutter cleaning service in Houston.