Deal Diva: Fall chores you can't afford to miss

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Outdoor chores that will pay off for your home and your wallet. WMBF Deal Diva Christel Bell gives tips that will help you take care of a few fall chores to save you thousands of dollars in repair costs. Fall is the best time to get your house in order, because come winter, small problems can turn into an expensive nightmare.

According to Consumer Report, fallen leaves can kill grass, and leaf piles can also attract rodents, but using leaf bags means work, and waste if those bags go to a landfill. But according to Consumer Reports, try to make the most of your lawnmower's mulching mode. Ground-up leaves can actually feed your lawn and save money on the cost of leaf bags. 

After the storms, our area has seen, there's no telling what may have been blown around your home, so clear the gutter clogs. 
Stuffed gutters with leaves, pine needles, and debris can force water to pool around your home's foundation, and seep inside, according to Consumer Report. The end result, if the water freezes in the gutters, can create damaged roof shingles and leaks. 

Roof leaks can eventually damage the wood sheathing and rafters below the shingles, and that could lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. You can use binoculars to spot cracked, curled, or missing shingles safely from the ground.

According to Consumer Reports, the swiftest savings come from sealing air leaks in your home's walls, windows, and especially its duct work.
You can try to use a combination of caulk, foam board, expandable sealant, and weather stripping to plug leaks around windows, doors, electrical outlets, and other openings in your home. Leave the duct insulating and sealing to the professionals, but plugging leaks could lower your annual heating and cooling bills by $400, according to Consumer Reports. 

"You can not have a problem for 20 years, but the next fire you have in your fireplace could catch something on fire," explains Matthew Terry, owner of Coastal Chimney, a chimney cleaner business located in Surfside Beach. 

Near a wood-burning fireplace or stove may be a good place to nestle, but creosote buildup can block the flow of smoke and cause chimney fires and carbon-monoxide poisoning. Terry says even unused chimneys can develop cracks that weaken the structure.

"It's always good before you start burning each year, go ahead and have your chimney cleaned and inspected. You know the national fire prevention association recommends every year, you know, whether you're using it or not," said Terry. 

Terry says this is often the time of year when business picks up, and having a professional clean and inspection may run you a couple of hundred bucks, but Terry says that's a better price than paying an estimated $5,000 for a cracked chimney, or worse, a house fire.

"There could be things between here and up to about the flue liner, that you don't see with the naked eye unless you're getting your head and your torso up in the fire place," Terry says. 

It's also a good time to replace your furnace filter; a dirty filter reduces heat and airflow, and that can lead to costly repairs in the future. 

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