The fall season here in Tampa isn’t like anywhere else in the United States. Residents and visitors alike tend to enjoy balmy temperatures that average in the low to mid 80s for most of the state. And although hurricane season and stormy weather can persist until late November, Floridians won’t have to worry about the colder temperatures, falling leaves, and frost that attack neighbors to the north. Still, every homeowner can use the changing seasons as a reminder to perform inspections, make repairs, and engage in general maintenance. In addition, fall heralds the coming of a few fun and festive holidays that homeowners may choose to celebrate with decorations. Home and condo owners alike, need to be aware of restrictions surrounding such events so that they can remain in compliance with their CC&Rs, avoid fines, and refrain from upsetting their neighbors along the way.
Many home owners observe an annual checklist for home maintenance and repairs. Fall is an excellent time to perform a variety of preparations for cooling temperatures and inclement weather. Even though leaves don’t tend to prove problematic during Florida’s fall season, it’s still a good time to check drainage around the home, including gutters, downspouts, patio drains, and any drainage ditches on or near the property. These can get clogged with all kinds of detritus swept around by wind and rain, so it’s best to clear them at least annually to avoid clogs, leaks, and other damage.
This is also a good time of year to perform biannual HVAC maintenance, check weather stripping, inspect the roof, and clear away dead brush or overgrowth, amongst other maintenance tasks. Home and condo owners should also keep an eye out for pests that tend to find their way inside during wet weather. The first Sunday in November marks the end of daylight savings time, and in addition to rolling back clocks, you should take this opportunity to perform fire safety checks in the home. This means testing smoke alarms (and replacing batteries if necessary), checking levels on fire extinguishers, and running fire drills with the family. There may be other tasks to add to the annual checklist, such as cleaning the flue, flushing the water heater, or snaking the drains, but these tasks could also be performed at other times of the year.
The fall season also marks the passing of two major holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving, not to mention the onset of the busy holiday shopping rush. Homeowners should take this opportunity to contact their Community Association to learn about rules regarding holiday decorations. In most cases, displaying decorations is encouraged so long as neighbors aren’t put out (by loud displays or holiday lights so bright they can be seen from the International Space Station). And frequently, decorations are restricted to the month in which the holiday occurs, although it depends entirely upon each association’s policy.
This is also a great time for you to think about undertaking a major, whole-home cleaning. Those who want to participate in the charitable side of the season can not only clear the clutter from your home before the holiday season, but you can also donate canned goods, gently-used items, and other unwanted housewares to charitable organizations.