Fall has officially, well, fallen! Part of welcoming this new season means putting into action a list of “to-dos” that will help you gracefully transition your home into autumn, prep it for winter, and prevent you from uncovering a mess next spring.

I call it season savvy DIY and it’s all about taking on a few important, but easy, jobs to get your home ready for fall and in check for the coming cold weather.

Here’s MY go-to list:

Summer Wrap Up

Clean and Protect You Patio Furniture

patio furnitureThe “elements” will cause your outdoor furniture to age more quickly if left unattended. Hose and wash down furniture with a product like Simple Green (no toxic run-off). Check for rust or paint chips – scrape any loose paint or rust, then spray paint the damaged spots with exterior paint for wood, metal or plastic. Cover or store furniture in a shed or garage. In an enclosed space, use a product like Damp Rid to help keep moisture at bay, which will lessen the likelihood of those moldy spots from growing over the winter (cleaning helps that too).

Bye-Bye BBQ

GrMagic-Stoneease left on your BBQ will not only attract pests, but left over months can clog and even damage burners. Take apart the burners, heating plate, grill, etc. and scrub everything down. Use a de-greaser like Formula 409 (inexpensive and very effective) and a scrubbing stone like Magic Stone on stubborn parts. Let parts soak in a bucket of soapy hot water if grime is really baked on. Of course, empty and clean the drip cup/pan. Wipe down the exterior too. Cover and if possible, store it in an enclosed place.

Trim & Pull

Trim trellises and all overgrown vegetation. The less leaves hanging around, the less will end up in your gutters. Pull out annuals and especially vegetable plants – vegetable plants left in the garden over the winter can become a haven for insects and disease to take root.

Fall House Prep

Clean Gutters

gutter guardClean gutters and drains of leaves, twigs, and debris to ensure that rain water (and ice!) will end up where it’s supposed to.

If you live in an area with many trees I recommend installing gutter mesh to reduce gutter debris build up.

Change Air-Filters

Start the fall season with clean air filters to optimize your heating system and help prevent interior air from becoming “stuffy”. Dust off grills and registers.

Professional System Check

Before turning on the heat, now is a good time to have a pro come in for an annual system check. I always like to do this before cold weather sets in so I’m not faced with a no-heat crisis when I really need it. I also recommend having a pro check your chimney for any leaks or blockage.

Drain and Shut-off

frozen burst pipeShut off the water to your outdoor hose bibs and faucets, then drain the lines to help prevent freezing and line bursts.

Same thing applies to your sprinkler system – there will be drain valves that you can manually open in order to drain the remaining water in the lines once you’ve shut the water off.

And with that we can all confidently say, “Goodbye summer… hello fall!”

Norma sig

Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.

Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.

Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.