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Fall Maintenance

The brisk air outside means goodbye summer, hello fall.

But before you sit back and enjoy watching the leaves change, carve a jack-o-lantern or plan Thanksgiving dinner, Danny Lipford, host of "Today's Homeowners," says the fall is a good time for millions of Americans to get outside and provide some important maintenance to their homes and property.

He stopped by The Early Show on Tuesday to give tips for a fall maintenance, from properly storing your lawnmower to cleaning and repairing your gutters.

Trim Back Trees and Hedges
Not only will you have less leaves to clean up, but, Lipford says, if you trim back your trees and hedges at the beginning of fall, you will be less likely to incur any potential damage to your property from branches that fall during inclement weather.

Apply Fertilizer to Your Lawn
Once the growth of your grass slows down and you are fairly certain you will not have to cut it again, Lipford says this is an excellent time to apply fertilizer. Fertilizer is strong with nitrogen, which will strengthen its root system to combat against weeds in the spring. Lipford suggests checking with your home center for the proper blend for your grass and your part of the country.

Store Your Lawnmower Properly
Once you have cut the grass one last time and have applied the fertilizer, Lifpford suggests taking a few minutes to properly store your lawnmower until the spring. He says either completely remove all fuel by either running or draining the gas tank, or add a conditioner. Next remove the spark plugs and then wipe the machine clean of all grass and debris. This will not only extend the life of your lawnmower, but it also make it easier in the spring when it's time to start mowing the lawn again.

Caulking and Weatherstripping
If you were to measure the total space of the cracks, gaps and holes around the perimeter of an average home, Lipford says you would find a hole that is roughly three feet square. Imagine how much heat can escape through a space that large. To prevent the loss of heat through these spaces, Lipford recommends inspecting the perimeter of your home and apply caulking or weatherstripping wherever necessary. The key places to inspect are around hose bibs, dryer vents, windows and doors.

Inspect Your Roof
If you are not yet ready for a new roof but suspect you may have some loose or damaged tiles or shingles, Lipford says you should consider having a professional come out to inspect it. If you are fairly handy and are comfortable climbing the ladder, you can simply purchase some roofing cement to fasten down loose tiles and prevent more serious damage from occurring. Also, if you have a fireplace, be sure to check for gaps around your flashing.

Clean and Repair Gutters
Dirty, clogged gutters can cause a myriad of problems during the winter months including flooded basements as well as damage to your foundation and landscaping. To clean, simply remove all debris so that water can drain properly and consider installing gutter guards to prevent additional debris from building up.