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Get These Fall Projects Done on Saturday so You Can Watch Football on Sunday

Each year, as summer passes into fall, the leaves change color, the weather turns cooler, and pumpkin spice appears in every food imaginable. And it all signals the return of one very important thing: Football! But if you've let your home or yard sit unattended, then you might find yourself pulled away from the game to deal with a maintenance emergency. Instead, a little bit of planning can let you knock out the chores ahead of time, allowing you to focus on the game. Here are 10 projects that you can wrap up in a day or less, so you can settle in to your favorite football-watching chair without a care in the world.

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Family Handyman

Gutter and Downspout Maintenance

Broken, clogged or damaged gutters are a major source of water infiltration for homes of all sizes. This is especially true during autumn, when leaves and tree debris are at their peak. Eliminate the worry and allow yourself the freedom to relax and enjoy the football game by cleaning out your gutters and downspouts well in advance. Luckily, gutter and downspout maintenance is relatively straightforward. You can easily knock it out before kickoff!

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Leaf Tarp

Leaf Collection

Of course, leaves don’t collect only in the gutters! Leaf collection is an ongoing concern throughout fall, and those leaves can cause problems for your lawn, garden and flowerbeds if you ignore them. Layers of wet leaves can be breeding grounds for mold and mildew, causing long-term issues for your yard. So, instead of looking the other way, use this overview of ways to deal with leaves like a pro, and get this chore tackled in short order.

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Family Handyman

Caulk Touch-Up

Over time, exterior caulking wears out from exposure to the sun and elements. When that happens, it will need to be scraped out, and a new bead set in place. A visual inspection of the caulk around your windows and trim doesn’t require much effort, and can be done on an impromptu basis. If you also have caulking in areas like concrete cracks or on your roofing, be sure you look them over as well. The repair is quick and easy, and is perfect for football season, as the weather is not too hot, and not too cold.

Proper caulking technique isn’t difficult, but it can be a bit of an art. The first time you try it you may end up with a gloppy mess, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be you’ll become a pro in short order. To help you get there, here is a collection of Family Handyman’s top caulking techniques.

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Family Handyman

Repair Window Trim

While you’re inspecting the caulk around your windows and doors, be sure to inspect the trim as well. Exterior casing is fairly sturdy stock, but over time it can give in to the forces of nature. If you see any sign of weakness or discoloration, press on the surface with your finger or a hand tool. If there’s softness or give in the wood, you know it’s time to make a repair now, instead of letting it become a football-interrupting emergency.

Depending on the extent of the damage, you may be able to cut back the damaged material and patch with Bondo or a similar product, or you may find that it’s easier to remove the trim entirely and put in new stock. Check out this Family Handyman article about repairing the rotten wood for tips on how to get the job done quickly.

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Family Handyman

Antenna Adjustments

Whether you receive an over-the-air signal or pay for premium cable, you’ll definitely want to make sure that your TV is working at peak efficiency before it’s game time! Let’s face it: it doesn’t matter if you want to watch the news or football, there’s no point in struggling through bad reception. Take care of external coax lines now, before the weather turns even colder and you’re fighting snow and slush as you make your repairs.

Learn how to achieve the best possible signal with this article on replacing bad coaxial connectors, and your stress level will drop significantly. There’s nothing worse than having the TV freeze in the middle of the big play!

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Family Handyman

Winterizing Your Yard

As the summer months draw to a close, our outdoor fun transitions from splashing in a pool to bonfires and crisp autumn nights. But don’t forget to winterize your yard for the harsher weather of fall and winter! This normally includes protecting plants and any water features that could potentially freeze or suffer in cold weather. Luckily, Family Handyman has you covered with great how-tos for protecting in-ground pools and sprinkler systems.

Get your yard protected now—football season will be far more fun when you know you don’t have to worry about frozen pipes or stagnant water.

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Family Handyman

Patch Roof Leaks

Is there anything worse than being interrupted in the middle of a football game by the sound of dripping water, or the site of an ugly brown water stain on your ceiling? Once water penetrates your home, it immediately begins to do damage. While no one can eliminate leaks with 100 percent certainty, take these easy preventative measures to reduce the chance of water damage and leave you with more time to root for your team.

Unfortunately, even the best laid preventative maintenance can’t protect your roof from every possible water penetration. If you have any hint of a leak, it’s important you tackle that job immediately. Here’s how to identify, find, and repair a roof leak in record time.

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dfh17sep026-274936616-10 trim trees pruningRobert van Esch/Shutterstock

Trim Tree Branches

If you have trees on your property—and especially if you have trees with branches that extend over your home — it’s important to cull any dead branches before winter winds and snow snap them off. One of the advantages of doing this in fall is that as the leaves thin out, it’s easier to see through the foliage to identify any dead limbs, but enough leaves are still present that all the branches don’t look dead.

Reducing the amount of dead, overhanging branches is an excellent plan for preventing home disaster. Plus, you’ll have less yard trash to collect, and avoid the potential headache of a large limb falling onto your home in the middle of a football game.

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mouse in compost pileLorenzo Sala/Shutterstock

Pest Prevention

Autumn is the time of year that pest activity spikes in the home. Many pests and rodents look for ways to escape the dropping temperatures of fall, and your home is a prime target!

Eliminate access for these critters, and make sure that the ones who do get in don’t raid your pantry and ruin your football tailgating plan. Use these fall pest prevention tips, and you won’t have to worry about critters showing up to watch the game with you.

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Cookie Studio/Shutterstock

Outdoor Entertainment Prep

Football game day is great, but it’s even better with friends! Put together an incredible choice of tailgating foods for your friends with these 12 tips for planning the ultimate backyard barbecue.

But the game day barbecue can come with a significant pitfall: Running out of fuel! Avoid this hazard by converting your propane grill to run on natural gas. You’ll need a plumber to run the gas line, but you can make the grill conversion on your own, and it makes a great Saturday project that will ensure your football Sunday barbecue runs smoothly.

Dan Stout
With over a decade spent on residential and commercial construction job sites, Dan Stout has the hands-on experience to speak to builders, contractors, and homeowners with the voice of authority. Much of his work centers on demystifying the building industry by simplifying construction jargon for homeowners and laying out best business practices for contractors. Dan's non-fiction has appeared on numerous blogs and vendor websites, while his prize-winning fiction has been featured in publications such as Nature and The Saturday Evening Post. His debut novel Titanshade is scheduled for a 2019 release from DAW Books.