No matter who oversees fall cleanup in your household, you need to put safety first when attempting DIY things like gutter cleaning, insulation, and more. After all, you don’t want to add “hospital visit” to your to-do list, right?
Get ready for winter
Fall cleanup is an important part of preparing for winter weather. You don’t want to wait until the first snow to get the leaves cleaned out of those gutters. And taking care of the exterior of your home could save you money on energy and repairs later. Before you get the ladder and pruning shears out to tackle all your fall yard jobs, make sure to take proper precautions:
Leaf duty. Big piles of leaves on the driveway, in the yard and in your gutters can be hazardous. Use a rake or leaf blower to keep the driveway clear, especially if you expect rain or snow. Leaves can create a hazard that may have your family and guests slipping and sliding on their way into your home.
Get at those gutters. Gutters full of leaves block the flow of water, whether it comes from rain or melting snow. Before you climb your ladder to remove them, however, make sure to wear appropriate shoes and clothing and have someone hold the base of the ladder steady on flat ground. Don’t carry heavy equipment up the ladder with you.
Prune with care. Need to clear away some dead branches of trees or landscaping? Keep an eye out for power lines when trying to trim back larger vegetation. Survey the area before you begin noting any branches that look like they might fall or be difficult to remove.
Take care of your tools. Make sure all equipment is stored properly for winter, in a covered part of your home or yard where they won’t get wet. If you use power cords or gasoline powered tools such as a lawn mower, use extra caution to ensure they don’t present a danger to you or members of your family.
It’s not just about getting the outside of your home ready
Your home’s interior could also use some attention before the chill of winter sets in. While you may be mostly focused on making sure the growing pile of leaves doesn’t take over your entire life, leave a little extra time to check in with your major appliances (such as the furnace and water heater). It’s a good idea to have those checked yearly by a trained professional to ensure they are working properly. Not only will this save you the headache of repairing your heating system during the winter, but it will save you money on your energy bill.
It wouldn’t be fall without fire safety
Who doesn’t love a cozy fire to warm the chilly fall and winter nights? When you and your family settle in for hibernation this season, make sure to take proper precautions when it comes to open flames and other home heating methods:
- Purchase a fireplace screen to keep sparks from flying.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Keep candles away from kids and pets, and don’t leave them unattended.
- Change smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries.
- Use caution with space heaters.
Getting into the swing of fall means welcoming the chilly weather and doing heaps of yard work. Before you dive in, however, exercise the proper precautions so that a trip to the emergency room doesn’t end up becoming your main priority.