Mint Hill Fall Home & Garden Guide

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MINT HILL, NC – Fall: it’s the perfect time for sweaters, pumpkin-spiced lattes, football, and bonfires.  But the change of seasons is also the perfect opportunity to take care of much-needed routine maintenance in your home.  Here’s what the professionals suggest to give your home some love inside and out this fall.

Declutter: out with the old, make room for the new!

“Fall is a great time to purge!” says Jenifer Shaw, owner of Jenuinely Organized.  As you start switching out tank tops and shorts for jeans and sweaters, consider selling or donating items you didn’t wear this summer. Fall is also the perfect time to evaluate the toys in your house.  “Get rid of the things your kids have grown out of or don’t play with,” encourages Shaw.  “Get your house ready for new things that might be coming into your house in a few months for the holidays.”

In a year where we’ve all spent more time at home than usual, there’s no time like the present to think about general decluttering as well.   “When your house is cluttered, your mind is cluttered!” says Shaw. Dispose of expired medicines and pantry products.  Evaluate the items in your garage and your kitchen; get rid of things you don’t use, and make sure things you use all the time are easily accessible.  If you need help getting organized, contact Jenifer Shaw at (781) 820-5325.

Check your windows: don’t let heat escape

Light leaking in between windows and frames is a sign you need window repair
Light leaking in between windows and frames is a sign you need window repair

With temperatures cooling down, fall is a great time to evaluate your windows and doors.  Of course, there are some obvious signs that your windows need repair, like cracks or visibly rotten sills, but John Clanton, owner of We Fix It since 1969, also recommends you take a close look at your door and window frames.  “If you see daylight from the inside, you need to put in some weather stripping or do some caulking,” says Clanton.  If you need help with window repairs, contact John Clanton at (704) 578-6264.

Consider grading and driveway repair

Driveway cracks can be a sign of a more serious problem
Driveway cracks can be a sign of a more serious problem

Everyone knows that fall is prime time pruning back perennials and seeding your lawn.  But what about preparing your lawn for seed?  If your yard has swells or uneven terrain, Bill Blythe Grading can help level it out before you seed this fall.  Fall is also a great time for homeowners to evaluate any cracks in their driveways.  “Most people have cracks in their driveways,” says Blythe’s secretary, Betty Wheeler, but it’s concerning if you also happen to have big trees near your driveway.  “We tell people, don’t plant big trees beside your driveway.  They may be OK right now, but when the tree is fifteen years old, well, a root will find water.  If the water is on the other side of the driveway, that ruins the concrete.  It’s uneven; it’s a trip hazard and a liability issue.”  If you think your driveway or grading needs attention, call Bill Blythe at (704) 622-6460.

Weather-proof your roof!

“Don’t let roofing issues rob you of heat and money this winter!” says Karrie Fasching of Waynco Roofing.  Overflowing or leaking gutters, water trickling from downspouts during downpours, rotting fascia, missing or loose shingles, and interior staining near vent pipes can all be signs that your roof needs attention.  “Improper home ventilation is the primary cause of ‘leaking energy’ and is the main cause of early aging of any roof,” says Fasching.  Fall is also a great time to take care of overhanging branches that drop leaves and debris on your roof.  If your roof needs attention, contact Waynco Roofing at (704) 814-9566 for a free quote on roof replacement.  Waynco Roofing also offers free GAF “System Plus” warranty upgrade and gutter cleaning with GAF “Timberline” HDZ shingles.

Get your plumbing inspected

Fall is the perfect time for an inspection of your water heater, toilets and faucets
Fall is the perfect time for an inspection of your water heater, toilets and faucets

“Fall is the perfect time to do an annual inspection of your water heater, toilets, and faucets,” says Chris Lovick, owner of FATman Plumbing.  “We will do a complete checklist with options for repair or replacement if needed.”  For October through December, FATman Plumbing is offering this fall special for only $99.  Contact FATman Plumbing at (855) 328-8626.

Consider changing your smoke detectors

Replace your smoke detectors every 8-10 years
Replace your smoke detectors every 8-10 years

“Tech in smoke alarms changes every couple of years or so,” says Greg Bartholomy, owner of GB Electrical Services, who compares smoke detector technology to cell phones.  “Who walks around with a cell phone that’s ten years old?” he asks.  Yet, it’s common to keep smoke detectors for that long or longer.

New smoke detectors can prevent nuisance tripping and detect different types of smoke.  A sophisticated, interconnected system can not only alert you to the presence of smoke much earlier but even tell you which smoke detector is going off, information that is critical when every second matters.  Bartholomy refers to a YouTube video that demonstrates how long it takes for a typical living room to reach “flashover,” the point at which the room gets so hot that everything bursts into flames.  With furniture from the 1960s, it took 17 minutes for the room to burst into flames. 

 “The same room with today’s materials and furniture took two minutes,” says Bartholomy, pointing out that with today’s open floor plans, fire also spreads faster.  “It’s significantly different.  People don’t realize how fast fire spreads through someone’s home.  It really matters with smoke detection that you know when the fire is starting, and you really need to get out of the house as quickly as possible.” 

Bartholomy recommends you replace your smoke detectors every 8-10 years, noting that a yellow tinge is a sign of age.  GB Electrical Services is offering 15% off smoke detector systems for the month of October.  Give them a call at (980) 500-2378 to find out how you can make your home safer.

Inspect your HVAC

Have your HVAC unit inspected before it gets cold
Have your HVAC unit inspected before it gets cold

Everyone thinks about getting their HVAC system checked out when it gets cold, but Bartholomy counters that now is a perfect time.  “There’s a lot of things they can catch right now during a general cleaning and inspection,” says Bartholomy.  “It’s not cold now, and they’re not really that busy.  It’ll be harder to fit in when they’re overwhelmed and your heat is already on.”

GB Electrical doesn’t handle HVAC units, but they do get a lot of calls around this time of year from people plugging in space heaters.  “What people don’t realize is that those heaters use a tremendous amount of power,” says Bartholomy.  “Using just three of those in a home costs just as much if not more than running the whole heating system, and when they run two of them on the same circuit line, their breakers tend to trip.  People don’t realize how much energy those little space heaters use!”

While Bartholomy can’t inspect your HVAC unit, he can help with a host of other electrical problems, like circuit breakers that are tripping randomly, major appliances running off extension cords, and loose or worn outlets.  With less daylight on the horizon, it’s also a great time to think about installing outdoor lighting or replacing existing fixtures with more energy-efficient LED options.

Refresh your mulch

According to Phil Carter of Metrolina Mulch, any time is a great time to put down mulch as it helps plants retain moisture and protects root systems from both extreme cold and heat.  However, there are a few reasons you might consider replacing your mulch in the fall.  Mulch is like a blanket for root systems, providing the warmth they need to stay healthy.  Young root systems are particularly vulnerable, so you might want to consider mulching if you’ve recently planted.  Second, people think about watering their plants in the summer heat, but plants need moisture year-round.  Winter’s colder temperatures can be just as drying as summer’s heat, and mulch helps plants retain much-needed moisture throughout the winter.  Contact Metrolina Mulch for all your mulching needs at (704) 888-1822.

Thinking about selling?  Fall’s a great time.

According to Anna Granger, owner of 1st Choice Properties, this fall is a great time to sell your home.  “Right now, we have a really strong seller’s market in Mint Hill,” says Granger.  “The inventory is very low, and the demand is extremely high.  My last listing went under contract in two days!  There’s never a blanket answer,” she cautions, “but in general, if the house is in a good location, if it’s in good condition if it has a lot to offer – it is a good time to sell.”

If you’re hoping to put your home on the market this fall, Granger recommends that you focus on inspecting things like the crawl space, the foundation, and the roof.  “The future buyer’s home inspector – that’s what they’re going to focus on,” says Granger.  “If you have those receipts, they’re going to instill confidence in the buyer.”  Furthermore, Granger recommends staying on top of routine seasonal maintenance, like having your HVAC unit serviced.  “All of these things you can do proactively will instill confidence in the buyer that you’ve taken care of your house,” adds Granger.

If you’re thinking of selling your home in the new year, fall is the perfect time to spruce up your curb appeal by aerating, seeding, and adding plants.  If you’re looking forward to a sale in the new year, Granger also recommends that you start decluttering now.  “Start slowly, room by room,” she suggests.  “It takes time!  Don’t put that off.”  Most importantly, if you’re hoping to list in the new year, Granger suggests you call your preferred realtor now and get their opinion on what needs to be changed or updated.  “Let’s say you want to list in March,” says Granger.  “That gives you four or five months to get things done, but don’t focus on the wrong things.  Get a realtor in there now so you’re not spending money on things you’ll get no return on.”  If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market soon, call Anna Granger at (704)-650-5705.

Own vs Rent

If all this yard work and home maintenance is getting you down, you can always consider a community that takes care of it for you!  Ardmore at Price in Downtown Waxhaw, for example, offers an easy, maintenance-free lifestyle.  “Your weekends will be free from doing yard work and home repairs!” says Director of Marketing Jessica Davis.  “We provide a maintenance-free lifestyle so you can relax and spend your weekends enjoying all that Downtown Waxhaw has to offer!”  For more information about Ardmore at Price, contact Leasing Consultant Hailey Hill at (704) 893-9496.

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her eight-year-old daughter Hannah and her six-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: