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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

October 13, 2020 - 8:00am --

Fall is really a beautiful time of year, the warm glowing colors, the crisp mornings and in our case, baby calves to watch run and jump in the fields.  It’s been a long time for me since science class so I found the following information a great reminder when it showed up in my email this week.

Why do leaves fall?  If they stayed on the tree it wouldn’t be good for the tree.  When cold weather comes, the cells in the leaves would rupture, making them useless for photosynthesis, in which light energy is converted to chemical energy and keeps them alive.  If the leaves didn’t fall, they would increase the stress on the tree’s limbs when snows come, causing many of the limbs to break.  So we get the color in the leaves as the weather begins to cool and the chlorophyll production stops, revealing the reds and yellows that have been there all along.  Then we get to enjoy the colors as we travel with the realization that next spring we will see the blossoms and leaves begin the cycle once again.

While I love the colors of the season, the falling of the leaves prompts me to think about the clean up around the home that needs to be done.  Here are a few items that might need attention if you are a homeowner this fall.

  • Have your furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company.  The guidance is every year for an oil furnace and every other year for gas furnace.  Change the filter before turning on the heat, and order new ones if needed so you have a supply to change according to your owners guide. Make sure all vents/registers, in the home are clear and clean.  Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.
  • If you have a chimney, with a working fireplace or woodstove, it’s also time to have it cleaned and inspected for safety.
  • Cleaning out the gutters is essential after the leaves come down so the weight doesn’t cause damage to them through the winter snows.
  • Check the downspouts and splash blocks. Water should flow freely away from the home, with no ponding or erosion around the foundation.
  • Check the smoke alarm and carbon-monoxide detector and replace batteries
  • Weatherize with caulking, weather stripping, or sealing around windows, doors, etc
  •  Remove screens, and if they need cleaning or repairing, do it now so they will be ready in the spring.
  • Check your sump pump and make sure it’s in working condition
  • Take a walk around the house and make sure siding is in good condition, and caulk or repair as needed.
  • Unhook water hoses from outside faucets and drain sprinkler systems.  Wrap pipes with heat tape if pipes are exposed to winter weather.
  • Vacuum radiator grills on refrigerators and freezers for them to work efficiently.
  • Check basement drains or outside entrance to be free from debris.
  • Clean and put away patio furniture and grills
  • Seal decks or other wooden structures, inspect for damage or rot to repair
  • Check exterior lights and replace as needed.

Your home is an investment, and taking care of the little things will help to prevent the big expenses in the future.  Take a walk and do an inspection with a list to follow up on - you will be happy you did in the long run.  If owning a home has been a goal for you and your family, I would like to let you know that we will be having a series of classes beginning in November (10,17,24 and Dec 1) at 5:30 to share information on becoming a home owner.  If you would like to know more details, please contact the office at 330-264-8722 or my e-mail at