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Eight Essential Fall Home Tasks

By Michelle Hopkins Sep 29, 2014

Fall is in the air and with it comes vibrant red, orange and yellow foliage and cooler nights. It’s also the season when you need to spend a little time outdoors to prepare your home for the chilly temperatures ahead. With the heavy wind and rainfalls we experience on the West coast, a little fall clean-up will go a long way to avoid potentially expensive repairs or nasty slips.

REW spoke to Carole Briggs of Gardens of Eden Plantscaping and Mora Scott, media relations at BC Hydro.

Garden Clean-up

Taking a little time to prepare your garden for winter will make spring garden clean-up a breeze, says Briggs. First off, remove any dead foliage and annuals out of the ground. Then, it’s time to add new organic rich soil to ensure that you will have a healthier growing garden next spring.

“It’s also the time of year when I recommend fertilizing the lawn to strengthen your lawn’s roots and kill any weeds,” says Briggs.

Trimming Branches

Typically, pruning trees is a spring job. However, if there are trees growing too close to power lines, both Briggs and Scott advise hiring a professional skilled at maintaining healthy trees and plants and who are able to identify hazards created by vegetation.Falling branches and toppling trees can be prevented with regular maintenance.

Sprinklers and Outdoor Faucets

Before the first frost, disconnect your garden hoses and blow them out. Winter temperatures can freeze the water trapped inside your hoses, which can cause your indoor pipes to burst. Briggs suggests it be done in October or early November at the latest.

Gutters and Eaves

When cleaning the leaves off the gutters, pay particular attention to the downspout. If leaves and debris are clogging it, water won't drain properly and – along with mildew and mud – you’ll end up with sagging gutters.

However, Scott cautions against using a metal ladder near power lines when cleaning out your gutters. A fiberglass ladder is a better solution in this situation.

“It is also much safer if you have someone with you anytime you are up on a ladder,” adds Scott.

Sidewalks and Driveways

Make sure to check your sidewalks and driveways for any cracks as water can seep through and freeze, creating larger cracks. Invest a little time now to fill in the cracks to avoid falls or more high-priced repairs later on. Not only that, clearing your sidewalks and driveways regularly throughout fall will help prevent a nasty slip.

Chimneys and Fireplaces

Although most of today’s homes are equipped with gas or electric fireplaces, there are still many Lower Mainland homes with wood-burning ones. A chimney is essentially an exhaust pipe, which funnels away soot, smoke, gases, hot ashes and sparks. A fall sweep should be an essential part of your yearly home maintenance.

If you have a gas-burning fireplace, when was the last time the flue was swept? Has it been tested to ensure that no cracks or faults have occurred? Are dangerous gases escaping? Experts suggest your chimney should be swept once a year, or if it’s used daily, then twice a year.


If you want to extend the life of your roof one of the easiest and most important things you can do is regularly inspect it. When examining your roof you want to pay close attention to any leaves or other debris. The problem with leaves and debris collecting on your roof is they start to gather water or moisture which will begin to break down the shingles. Debris can also collect in valleys which will eventually prevent the proper flow of water away from your roof and into your roof gutters.


During the colder, wetter months of the year, weather causes the most power outages in BC. From mid-November to mid-February, storms hit BC more frequently.

  • More than half of all electricity outages in BC are caused by trees.
  • In addition to causing power outages, trees too close to power lines create safety hazards such as a risk of fire.
  • BC Hydro reminds customers to never approach a downed power line. If you see one, call BC Hydro immediately at 1.888.POWERON.

Taking some time for those important outdoor fall jobs will not only save you money but potential accidents, but will allow you to rest easier at night knowing your family is safe.

Michelle Hopkins
Michelle Hopkins is a Vancouver-based freelance writer with extensive magazine, newspaper and online writing experience in home décor, new home developments, culinary adventures, wine, travel and more. Michelle writes for many notable publications including Real Estate Weekly and other Glacier Media Group publications, Western Living Magazine, Vancouver Magazine, Home Décor & Renovations, to name just a few. Michelle is passionate about anything to do with real estate.
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