It’s November, which means increasingly cold temperatures, peak football season and the prospect of the holidays right around the corner. Why not stay warm and take care of several indoor chores that should be completed annually?
- Lubricate door locks. Use a tube of graphite dust and squirt directly into the locks. Using the key, turn the lock several times to spread the graphite. Do not use an oily lubricant, which, over time, may cause the lock to stick.
- Lubricate squeaky door hinges. Using a hammer and a nail set, tap the hinge pins until each is raised an inch or two. Put a few drops of oil on the exposed part of the pin and tap back down. When done, swing the door back and forth a few times to work the lubricant in.
- Replace bathroom caulk. Inspect the caulk around bathtubs, showers, and counters. Using a putty knife with a hook on one side, scrape out any damaged or discolored caulk. Replace with fresh indoor bath caulk. Allow ample drying time before using shower or tub.
- Clean faucet aerators. Each faucet has an aerator screen that unscrews from the spout. Over time, alkaline deposits can build up on the screen reducing water flow. Unscrew each aerator and drop it into a small cup of vinegar. The vinegar will dissolve alkaline deposits from the aerators, restoring unrestricted water flow.
If you happen to live in a warmer climate, a few outdoor chores may remain on your chore list.
- Store outdoor recreation and yard items. Choose a sunny day to pack and store outdoor recreational gear such as volleyball nets and croquet sets. Cover or store outdoor furniture. Clean and cover the grill. Drain and store garden hoses and put insulating covers on faucets. In the coldest climates, September might be a better month to complete this task. In the deep South, you can oftentimes get away with waiting until nearly Thanksgiving.
- Rake and compost leaves. When the leaves have finished dropping, rake them together and mulch in your flowerbeds. Mulch provides an insulating cover for the roots of your landscape plants.
- Mulch beds. If you don’t have enough leaves to rake into the flowerbeds, put down a four-inch layer of bagged mulch to insulate roots and preserve moisture.
- Roof and gutters. Using a ladder (or binoculars from the ground), inspect your roof. Hire a licensed and insured professional to secure any loose shingles and flashing. Clear debris by sweeping valleys and behind chimneys. Clear gutters of leaves and twigs. Seal any openings around eaves and flashing to prevent animals from nesting in your chimney or attic.
- Furnace inspection. Make sure the heater is ready to perform for the cold months ahead by scheduling a visit from a heating specialist. He or she will inspect the heat exchanger, furnace burners and air handler for readiness. (Many companies offer an annual package deal that includes the fall check along with a similar spring tune-up of the air conditioning unit.) Depending on where you call home, this chore can be done in September, October or November.
- Along with inspections, be sure to regularly replace the filters on your air conditioning and heating intake vents. A filter clogged with dust makes the system struggle to draw air, overworking it and wasting energy. Depending on the quality of filter purchased, these should be changed monthly or quarterly. Do yourself a favor and put this task on your calendar so you don’t forget.
- Caulking and weather stripping. Inspect the caulking around the outside of windows and doors and check the weather stripping. This is especially important in older homes. Replace any caulk or stripping that is old, cracked and pulling away from the frame. Open windows and vacuum out the bottoms of the frames. Do it yourself or call in a professional, depending on your level of expertise.