Your Fall Home’s Maintenance Check List-Don Of All Trades

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. Keep your home warm  and running efficiently with our fall home maintenance checklist. It’s time to get your home ready  for winter.

Most of the tasks listed below are well with-in the average home owners ability. But if you decide on hiring a professional to take care of them, it’s worth the expense. You will save time, money and perhaps even your life.

Fall Home Maintenance Check-List
  • Roof Inspection
  • Chimney
  • Gutters
  • Doors & Windows
  • Exterior Hoses
  • Driveways & Walkways
  • Air-Conditioning Maintenance
  • Outdoor Furniture
  • Furnace Maintenance
  • Wood Burning Stove Maintenance
  • Smoke Detectors
  • General Clean Up
Roof Inspection

Make sure the roof is in good condition. Check for loose or missing tiles and for any cracks in the chimney. If you’ve been putting off the task replacing the shingles over the last few years, well now’s a good time to get them replaced. Hire a professional roofing contractor to patch up any gaps and replace shingles.


Implementing a chimney maintenance plan is always critical for insuring the safety of your home and family. The function of a chimney is to carry dangerous fireplace, wood, oil or furnace and boiler gases safely out of your home.   Chimney fires are entirely preventable with proper care and cleaning. Inspect the exterior of the chimney for sings of damage. Have the flue inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep.


Check the gutter systems outside your home. Be mindful for any broken or leaking gutters, and repair them as soon possible. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and to water in your basement. Clear out any leaves and other debris that tend to collect over the summer and fall seasons and have them covered with mesh guards to keep debris from returning. Doing this will reduce the risks of leaks and blockages during freezing weather.

Doors and Windows

Fall is a great time to get out and  check the caulking around doors and windows. Proper caulking keeps moisture away and helps with drafts issues. Again caulking makes your home more efficient and helps prevent mold.

Drafts through your front doors don’t  seem as much of a problem in the summer months, but the truth is it can be.  If your weather strip allows a ¼” opening around a door, it’s like a hole in the wall that is 4” x 4”.  Drafts don’t seem as noticeable  the summer months  because the  air flows from cold to warm which is why it’s more noticeable in the winter season.

On that note,  the best course of action would be  replace the weather strip on your door. You can do this by going to your local building supply company and purchase a weather strip that is  similar to what is currently on your door.  If you don’t see one that is similar just buy a “universal” type and install it on the door frame.  Every little bit of money saved on the Electricity Bill is a good thing and you may be pleasantly surprised next summer when you notice a difference of savings  in your electricity  bill since your doors will seal better!

Exterior Hoses

Commonly Known as hose bibs or sill-cocks, the exterior faucet needs to have its water supply turned off inside the house, and you also need to drain water from it by opening up the exterior faucet. You may also want to consider an insulated cover for the hose bib. Your garden hoses should be disconnected from the sill cocks or outside faucets and drained if stored outside.

Driveway & Walkways

Damaged walkways, drives, and steps are a hazard year round, but their dangers are compounded when the weather turns icy. Fixing problems in the fall is also critical to preventing little problems from becoming expensive headaches.

Look for cracks more than 1/8-inch wide, uneven sections, and loose railings on steps. Check for disintegration of asphalt, or washed-out materials on loose-fill paths.

Most small jobs are well within the ability of a do-it-your self, but save major repairs for experienced hands.

Air-Conditioning Maintenance

Central Air conditioning systems : Take a hose with the spray head set to “jet” or the highest pressure you have and clean the fan blades and condensing coils of clear of debris and dirt. Left unprotected the condensing unit can be damaged by wet leaves and debris that contribute to rusting and freezing of internal components. Although these units are designed for outdoor use, covering them with a breathable waterproof cover made for that purpose will extending the life and efficient performance of the unit.

Outdoor Furniture

Any outdoor furniture and garden accessories, lighting, should be stored in a dry place such a shed or a garage. If you lack storage space and have the room, you may even use space in your basement to protect your items from the winter elements.

Furnace Maintenance

Fall is a perfect time to clean or replace your furnace filter. Reusable filters can be washed down and re installed. Disposable filters should be replaced with a new one. Dirty filters lower your HVAC system’s efficiency so it’s a good idea to change them accordingly.

Once a year, it’s a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early fall, before the heating season begins.

Here are signs that you should have an inspection performed sooner:

Noisy Belts– Unusual screeches or whines may be a signal that belts connected to the blower motor are worn or damaged.

Poor Performance– A heating system that doesn’t seem to work as well as it once did could be a sign of various problems. Your heating ducts might be blocked, the burners might be misadjusted, or the blower motor could be on its last legs. One check you should be sure to conduct: Make sure your furnace filter is clean.

Erratic Behaviour– This could be caused by a faulty thermostat or a misadjusted furnace.

Wood Burning Stove Maintenance

Wood burning stoves are a great way to add atmosphere and warmth to your home. But regular inspections are needed to ensure that these devices don’t become a safety hazard. Here’s how to check them.

 Cracks in stovepipes attached to wood stoves can release toxic fumes into your home. Throughout the heating season, you should check for corrosion, holes, or loose joints. Clean the stovepipe, and then look for signs of deterioration or looseness. Replace stovepipe if necessary.

 Smoke Detectors

Test your smoke alarm monthly and clean it every 6 months.  Mark it on your calendar so that you don’t forget.  Things to remember when testing your smoke alarm:

  • Ensure that power is being transmitted to the alarm and that it will activate in the presence of smoke.
  • Test your smoke alarm by pressing the test button.
  • Even alarms with a pilot light that indicate power is being transmitted, should be tested regularly.
  • Battery-operated smoke alarms will warn you when batteries need replacing.   Despite this, make it a habit to change the batteries yearly.
  • When you’ve been away from home for a few days, check your alarm on your return to ensure it is working properly.
  • Remember, your smoke alarm can’t protect you if the batteries have been removed or a plug has been disconnected.
  • The lifespan of a typical smoke alarm is about 10 years, but some models last as little as 5 years.
  • To clean the alarm, open the cover and gently vacuum the interior of it.  Frequently, the alarm will sound while the unit is being cleaned.
General Clean Up

Rid your home of accumulations of old newspapers and leftover hazardous household chemicals. (Check with your local Municipal Hazardous Waste or Special Waste Agency about the proper way to discard dangerous chemicals.) Store flammable materials and poisons in approved, clearly labeled containers. Keep a clear space around heaters, furnaces, and other heat-producing appliances.

Have a question about your home improvement? Leave a comment below!

aframe sign photo shop flyer

See Also:

Don Of All Trades Helping Hands Building Trees of Hope Program

Helping Hands Buidling Trees Of Hope

Please donate to our Helping Hands Building Trees of Hope benefiting Herizon House

Every gift is a gift of hope. Your donations make a difference in the lives of women and children who are survivors of violence and abuse that are provided with a place of safety, support and hope at Herizon House women’s shelter.

You can help improve the lives of abused women and children in the  community. Please visit community page to find out how you can make a difference.

Thanking Michelle Medeiros, Owner and Principal Designer of House Dreamer who made a contribution to our Helping Hands Building Trees of Hope Program.

hh-Michelle Medeiros

6 Reason Why You Should Install Hardwood Flooring

Flooring upgrades including renovations are one of the most cost-effective home improvement projects you can do, notably when you upgrade to hardwood flooring.

Many Durham Region and Greater Toronto area homeowners have transformed their homes with hardwood flooring specifically because of its benefits.

Consider these 6 reasons to install hardwood floors in your home in the Durham Region area and then call Don of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services at (905)- 259-5249 to request a complimentary on-site estimate.

Solid Oak Flooring

Photos courtesy Don Of All Trades


Hardwood flooring can transform your ordinary everyday space into a living space-a special room where you can truly enjoy spending your time in.

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Photos courtesy Don Of All Trades

Visual Appeal

Hardwood flooring provides an ageless look to any Durham Region home. Its is conveniently available in a multitude of styles and colours that you can easily customize your hardwood floor to compliment the existing features in your home.


Monticello Brand Solid Oak Flooring

Photos courtesy Don Of All Trades


With correct installation and maintenance, hardwood flooring will quite possibly last the life of your Durham Region home. Contact Don of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services for an occasional hardwood floor refinishing and enjoy your floor for many years to come.

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Photos courtesy Don Of All Trades


Hardwood flooring is one of the most-cost-effective materials you can use to upgrade your home in Durham Region. Installing wood floors immediately adds value to your home and the low maintenance qualities of hardwood flooring saves you money year after year.

Monticello Brand Solid Oak Flooring

 Photos courtesy Don Of All Trades 


Hardwood flooring is naturally strong and resilient, providing your Durham Region area home with a surface that is less vulnerable to scratches, dents and other imperfections.

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Photos courtesy Don Of All Trades

Manageable Maintenance

Choosing hardwood flooring makes keeping a polished, clean floor in your Durham Region home, simple. The low-maintenance qualities of hardwood flooring enables you to enjoy a beautiful floor with very little effort.

 Monticello Brand Solid Oak Flooring

Photos courtesy Don Of All Trades

If you are interested in upgrading the look and value of your home in the Durham Region and Greater Toronto area, with hardwood flooring, contact Don of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services today at (905)- 259-5249 for more information and request a complimentary on-site estimate.

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Photos courtesy Don Of All Trades


Have a question about your current flooring or any other home repair? Leave a comment below.

Subscribe to our You Tube Channel to view more of our latest projects. 

Don Of All Trades Helping Hands Building Trees of Hope Program


Please donate to our Helping Hands Building Trees of Hope benefiting Herizon House

Every gift is a gift of hope. Your donations make a difference in the lives of women and children who are survivors of violence and abuse that are provided with a place of safety, support and hope at Herizon House women’s shelter.

You can help improve the lives of abused women and children in the  community. Please visit community page to find out how you can make a difference.

Exterior Painting-Getting Ready To List Your Home

If you are considering selling your home there are few  home improvement projects that have as great an impact as a new coat of exterior paint on your home.  Modifying or at the very  least,  refreshing the exterior paint on your home completely revitalize the look of your home and makes it more attractive to potential buyers.

It’s the first thing buyers notice when viewing a home and exterior paint also…

  • adds value
  • is attractive to a buyer
  • painting is a relatively inexpensive repair that goes a long way
  • fresh coat of paint goes a long way with buyers
  • paint and flooring are 2 areas that buyers highly evaluate when home shopping
Getting this house ready to list.


Fresh paint adds curb-appeal. Even if your home is well-taken care of,  chipped paint and a not so well-taken care of exterior could give potential buyers the illusion that the interior / structure is not well taken care of and scare people away.

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That being said, if you’re planning to put your house on the market in the near future, you’ll also want to consider which shades will attract the broadest range of buyers.

Exterior Painting- Getting Ready to list.
Exterior painting Getting Ready to list.

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You want a look that is warm and inviting.


Exterior Painting-Getting Ready To List
Exterior Painting-Getting Ready To List

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Our clients chose these exterior paint colours and what a difference it made. It gave their home a new look that is charming and inviting.

If you are interested in upgrading the look and value of your home in the Durham Region and greater Toronto area,  call Don of All Trades Professional Home Maintenance Services at 905-259-5249 today for more information and request a free on-site estimate.

Have a question about your home improvement? Leave a comment below!


Watch our latest Solid Oak Hardwood Flooring video.

Please visit community page to find out how you can donate.
Don Of All Trades is giving back to our community. Please donate to our Helping Hands Building Trees of Hope program benefiting Herizon House, a not-for-profit, charitable organization that provides a place of safety where women and children will feel accepted, supported and empowered as they move towards living their lives free of violence in Durham Region.


Forest Lake 2015 – Thanks For The Memories

It had been 3 years since my wife and I had actually taken any kind of holiday. The stresses of work and life  were starting to take its toll and we needed to get away for a while. Just some one on one time to stop re-connect and  recharge our batteries.

We got an incredible opportunity to spend a 1 week holiday at a friends cottage in Sundridge, Ontario.





Sundridge and surrounding area is the hub of the Almaguin Highlands Region of Parry Sound District and is  located 2 ½ hours north of Toronto along Highway 11 on the shores of Lake Bernard with a population of approximately 1000 residents.

The village has long been known as “The Pearl of the North” to residents of central and northern Ontario.

Being a tourist destination in both winter and summer, with boating and snowmobiling as the main attractions. Algonquin Provincial Park is also accessible near by.

Visit  The Village Of Sundridge official website at to find out more.


 Departure Day

After a week of organizing  and packing items we would be using the entire week including books, bug spray, clothes, toiletries, food and the  hand written map our friend had made out for us (just in case),  we finally packed our car.  Our GPS system, a gift I received for my birthday from my kids earlier this year, was also programmed with the coordinates and it was the first time using it.

We left house at 9:25am, stopped for very Large Size coffees at Tim Horton’s as this would be a 3 hour drive.  Not long after 10 minutes into the  drive, our GPS system directed us to make a right onto Myrtle Road. I knew something wasn’t right so we made the decision to override these directions and follow the hand written map.

About 2 hours into the drive, I  took the wrong exit on Hwy 11 towards North Bay. We got off highway and now realized we were lost. At this point we followed the GPS directions that took us through the rough back roads. Everything came to a standstill as we were  stuck in traffic in the town of Huntsville for about 40 minutes due to a town festival going on.

Luckily, the GPS system got us back onto Hwy 11 North bound and at our final destination on Forest Lake Road.

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Graven Hurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, Burk’s Falls townships we passed by as we were driving towards Sundridge, Ontario.

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We couldn’t  help but notice the incredible landscape driving north off Highway 11.







Next Stop, Sundridge, Ontario!

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Back roads leading to the cottage.

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We finally arrived at the cottage at 1:20pm. We opened the doors and our mouths dropped at how beautiful this place truly was. The cottage had all the amenities of home and so much more including huge windows, from floor to ceiling over looking Forest Lake.

Closing my eyes and just…listening

The sounds I hear all around me…

The sound of the leaves blowing in the trees.

Waves hitting the boats on their docks.

Children in the background laughing and having fun.

Sounds of tools and machinery clearing land for new cottages to be built.

Loons on the lake

Birds-Blue Jays, Robbins, Chickadees, Cardinals, Finches

Dogs barking


Boats and skidoo.

ATV, and vehicles occasionally driving by.

My Observations

What I see..

Variety of trees-maple, birch, blue spruce, pine and some 80 feet tall!

A creepy looking log cabin we call Jason’s House from the movie Friday the 13nth :), includes outhouse.


Bugs-strange looking bugs that come out at night and attach themselves to windows that I have never seen before.


Water plants-lily pads.

Fire- pit,  picnic table, seating area made from logs.

Bear Sightings






Interesting note alerting the neighbours about bears in the area.


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Catching up on one of my most favorite things to do…fishing.  These Small and Large Mouth Bass would have made a great dinner but I decided to release them  back into the lake.

I found out from the locals that some of the fish species in Forest Lake are Northern Pike, Small  Mouth Bass, Large Mouth Bass, Lake Trout and White Fish, just to name a few.

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Of course, then there’s the really BIG one that got away! I managed to real in a large white fish about 3 1/2 feet long.  As soon as I grabbed its tail, the fish completely lost it, broke my line and managed to swim away with my hook and leader still in its mouth. Too bad.

Dining In-Life is Good!

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Enjoying the beautiful sunny and breezy weather with some good food and good wine overlooking beautiful Forest Lake.

Sight Seeing

It was the perfect day to do some sight-seeing and as we drove into town along Main St., we stopped off to admire Beautiful Lake Bernard including the Children’s Centennial Garden, the Northern Tryp Tich Sculpture and the   Hope and Memory Garden.

Lake Bernard

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Children’s  Centennial Garden  on Lake Bernard

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Northern Tryp Tich Sculpture located at Lake Bernard

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Lake Bernard is the largest fresh water lake in the world without an island. It measures 2.5 km across and 7 km long. It is also a deep lake, charted to the depths of 150 feet but rumoured to have deeper areas of up to 400 meters, leading to speculation that the lake may have been formed by a meteor. The village of Sundridge lies on the northern shore of this clean, clear lake and is 6 km west of Alqonquin Park.

Some of the fish species include small mouth bass, lake trout, white fish, yellow perch and rock bass.

Once, many years ago, Lake Bernard was primarily used as a logging lake and today, one may still see many logs which have become waterlogged and sunk at the bottom of the lake.

Another interesting surprise to the lake  are the alleged sightings  from locals and cottagers  of the mysterious and elusive “Bernard Monster”. Though many sightings have been claimed, no one has been able to get a good photo of the Bernard Monster; however, in 2013 a photo was taken which shows the beat.

Local Shops in Town

Driving 15 minutes from the cottage to the local town was a treat as we got the opportunity to shop and admire all that this town had to offer.



The Red Brick Cafe & Gift House, located at 93 Main St, was one of the first stops we made.  The Red Brick café offers a variety of specialty coffees, drinks and baked goods  and it’s  a great place to relax, read, or visit with friends and they are the only wireless cafe in Sundridge.

The Village Bins your Local Bulk Food Store located at 91 Main St. in Sundridge was another great place to find great goodies. This store offers a variety of products in bulk from baking ingredient’s, candy, dog biscuits, snacks and more.

Sebastian’s Meats & Delicatessen, established since 1817 offers a variety of cold meats and everything ready for the BBQ. ‘s the go-to place for fresh meat. We were met with a smile from Sabina and they offered such great customer service.



Sundridge Food Land was the only grocery store in town. Located at 10 John St., we were pleasantly surprised to find out that it was open 24 hours, 7 days a week. We found it to be clean and the staff were friendly. Prices of the food was a little more expensive than our own grocery store at home but they did offer hot ready-to eat items such as whole chicken and had a deli and bakery.


Tucks Bait & Tackle Shop located at 88 Main St. is a family owned and operated bait and tackle shop located in sunny Sundridge.  They are conveniently open at 5:30am to satisfy  angler with live bait and fishing accessories setting you up for a great fishing experience. We stopped in and asked about what types of fish are in the lakes and what were the best types of bait to catch them with. I purchased some worms and was eager to get back to start some more fishing. Tucks Bait & Tackle Shop also announced that they have extended their hours to be open 24 hours on Friday’s, Saturdays and Sundays.


Cox’s General Store, located at 21 Main Street, Sundridge is one of the only variety store in town that offers everything you need including movie rentals, (yes you don’t find these around anymore), fresh coffee, snacks, milk, lottery tickets and more. They even sell worms and they always have a special every week posted outside where anyone walking or driving by can see.  The staff give great service and are very helpful. If you’re ever in the store, check out their local community board. Here  we found cottages close by for rent, items for sale and even local events going on in the town. Residence in the area say its the best general store in town.

Happy Ending


A small bird smashed into one of the large cottage windows and stunned itself. If was struggling to fly. Fearing it would further injure itself, I caught it in my hands and placed it into a small cardboard box for a short time so it could calm down. We are happy to say that this little bird appeared ok and we happily let it go.

An Unexpected Visitor

At approximately 3:30pm, on Monday, while on the deck, we were both a little surprised to notice a dog that casually came up the steps and walked over to us. I was a little nervous not knowing if this dog was friendly and commented to my wife not to get too close. Of course, she welcomed this dog and immediately approached it. The dog wagged it’s tail and was actually happy to meet us.

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Thinking he was lost, I called the owner’s phone number on his tag. It turns out that this dog’s name is Dexter and he lived close by. Dexter  makes frequents  visits to this cottage whenever the owners are around.  I was informed that this dog would go home when he wanted to. Well, it turns out our guest kept coming back every day, earlier and earlier and stayed later every night we were there. We both didn’t mind the company and Dexter would get up occasionally if he smelled or heard something in the bushes. My wife was extremely happy because after that note regarding bear sightings, Dexter kept an eye out for strange animals. It put her mind at ease.

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On the last evening of our holiday, Dexter stayed with us until 10pm before he finally went home. He never came back Saturday morning before we left. My wife was a little upset and she was hoping to say good-bye to Dexter before we left. We did leave a note along with some treats we bought for letting the cottage owners know that they were for Dexter. He truly is a great dog. We called him The Keeper of Forest Lake.”

Howling Sounds While Fishing

Tuesday heard strange howling sounds while fishing from one of the cottages close by. We recorded them on our I-phone and found out that it was quite possible that it was a wolf. What an experience to be able to hear something like this!


 Board Games


The cottage had a supply of board games and we decided to play Monopoly which lasted 3 hours with Dan winning….of course.

 Forest Lake

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My wife woke up at 4:30 in the morning and managed to witness and capture photos of the mist slowly forming on Forest Lake. It crept in slowly through the trees and onto the lake forming into a fog and slowly disappeared as mysteriously as it came just before the sun came out. Marvelous experience.

Star Gazing


There was one particular evening where the stars were so bright and appeared so close, we could almost touch them. We even saw the Big Dipper.

Gift Shopping


We were in search of a thank you gift for our friends for letting us stay at the cottage for a week. We drove into town and found a Huge yard sale. None of the items had prices on them. Instead all interested buyers made a donation in support of a local animal shelter in the area. I  thought this was such a great idea! We managed to find a thank you gift and some great finds for ourselves!

 Thanks for the Memories


We had an incredible and relaxing holiday. Sad that our vacation had come to an end but are very grateful  we had an opportunity to stay here over the past week.  So many great memories to share with our friends and family. Will definitely consider coming back To Forest Lake next year.


Dexter never came by to visit on the morning we were leaving to drive back home. We didn’t get a chance to say good-bye but we did leave a note and some treats on the counter for him as our small way of saying thank you. We are going to miss him and are glad we got a chance to meet him even if it was just for a little while.


If you may be considering a trip to Sundridge, Ontario I have created a list local businesses in the area along with their website information in order to provide you with some suggestions and ideas of great businesses and restaurant’s to visit while you’re in town.

Other Local Points of Interest

Places To Eat:

Marc Anthony’s Restaurant Pizzeria

Hwy 124, Sundridge, Ontario


Blue Roof Restaurant

Hwy 124/Page St, Sundridge, Ontario

705-384 -7300

Patty’s Double Decker Take-Out

Hwy 124, Sundridge, Ont.,


Bernard’s Bistro On The Lake

93 Main St., Sundridge, Ont.


Antonio’s Grill Subs & Ice cream

South River


Sherri’s Diner

Hwy 124 South River


Places to stay:

Mary’s Hide Away Four Season Rental

Spring Lake Road



NorthRidge Inn & Resort

Lake Bernard



Caswell Resort Hotel

77 Main St., Sundridge, Ont.



Winter Activities:

ChocPaw Expeditions

Dog Sled Trips

1 Industrial Park Road

South River, Ont.,