Fall Maintenance Tips From Your Trusted NH Home Inspectors

By PHS | November 6, 2017

Pull In The Welcome Mat!

As a NH Home Inspector, we are frequently asked “what is the best way to get my house ready for winter”? Tracey, our office manager, shares some useful fall home maintenance tips.

I don’t know about you, but I am already missing summer.  I may not love those 95 degree, 100% humidity days, but I will still take them over a cold, blustery winter day… Which is exactly what I start dreading the first day I concede to the fact that I HAVE TO put a sweater on.

I truly believe that I am powered by the sun, so while we still have warm, sunny days I am happy to be out in the yard soaking up the last of the toasty rays (before I disappear into the house to hibernate until spring)!

Working here at Premier Home Inspection Services for the last few months has given me an opportunity to become more aware of things that I hadn’t given much thought to prior.  Observing a home inspection with Nick, I was able to absorb a lot of helpful hints so I am going to discuss some end of summer tasks we should consider doing to help minimize unwanted guests from getting the wrong idea.

Did you know that you should maintain at least a one foot distance between the foundation of your house and a mulched garden bed?  I did not!  Thinking about it now, it makes complete sense.  Who wants to provide a perfect living environment for termites and carpenter ants (as well as a host of other critters you don’t want in your home) directly beside/touching your house.  The moisture and wood make a perfect welcome mat to trouble!  As much of a hassle as it will be to pull my garden beds back, the effort now will hopefully prevent a costly pest control bill down the road.  And since I am going to have exposed earth when I pull the garden back, this is the perfect time to pick up some stone (which is fairly inexpensive at local landscape supply stores) to create a drip edge where the garden was and to refresh the existing drip edge that I have barely given a thought to for the past 20 years.


While you are working right there around the perimeter of your house, this is also a good time to take notice of trees and shrubs that might be touching or too close to the house.  After all, you don’t want to provide a welcome ladder to bugs, or worse still, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons… If you notice that you have branches that require attention and you can reasonably trim them back without putting yourself in danger, now is probably a good time to be doing that.  Just recognize your limitations and call a professional if the job is too big for you! A final thought on trimming your trees and shrubs before I move on… Most everything we plant close to our homes and in our yard is decorative in nature and we have planted it because we value the flowers, fruit or foliage.  You DO NOT want to trim everything in the fall.  You only want to trim the items that benefit from late summer/fall pruning or branches that could create problems before the appropriate time of year to trim them.  For example, if you prune your forsythia bushes this time of year rather than right after they finish blooming in the spring, you will be chopping off the buds for all those gorgeous golden blooms that you will be desperate for after months of dirty snow.  As tempting as it can be to do things when the temps are comfortable, just be aware of the pruning requirements before you start.  It’s better to be safe than sorry!


Now as we finish wandering the perimeter of the house looking for our unintentional “welcome” to pests, realize that a mouse can enter your house from a dime-sized hole.  If their head can fit, then their whole body can.  Makes you think twice about those small openings that you thought weren’t really a problem! I still laugh when I think about the first time I saw a mouse in my house.  How could I have a mouse in my house!? Wasn’t that something that only happened with old, drafty farmhouses or hoarders? Not people who lived in new, clean homes!  Funny!  Well, my house is no longer new but thankfully being pro-active has provided me with only a rare occasion mouse in my house (although my cat has left me MANY partial mice on the doorstep!).  Despite it being an uncommon occurrence, it only takes the scritch scratch sound of something in the wall this time of year to lead me to sleepless nights wondering what it was, how can I get rid of it and what can I do to turn my house into Fort Knox against all unwanted pests. Mice can and will chew through most anything to find a warm, cozy home.  This is something we will want to think about as we go around the house caulking, sealing and patching the cracks and holes that we find.  The best advice that I have found is steel wool.  This is the one thing that really stops mice in their tracks.  You never want to pack steel wool near wiring or electrical components because that causes a fire hazard, but in areas other than those, it will provide great results.

Now that we have pulled the welcome mat away from the pests, lets enjoy the warmth of the sun through the cool crisp air and spend some time taking in the beauty of our spectacular NH fall foliage (…before we have to rake all the leaves!)

These and other helpful tips are provided courtesy of your friendly neighborhood NH Certified Home Inspectors. Feel free to share!

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