Change is in the air during the fall season, whether it is in the color of leaves or in the length of daylight hours. During this time, homes will face drastic weather changes as summer gradually fades.
Don’t wait until the weather gets cold to prepare your home for the wear and tear of winter.
Prepare your home for the colder days ahead, before snow creeps into the forecast.
Below are some simple home improvements and cleaning tips you can do this fall:
1. Check your plumbing
Make sure all pipes in vulnerable places, such as basements and crawlspaces, are properly insulated to prevent damage during the colder months.
Nothing’s worse than trying to repair water damage in freezing temps!
2. Check for drafts
During the winter, windows and doors are notorious for allowing drafts into the house. Besides wasting money by removing warm air from your house, drafty areas also make living in your home uncomfortable.
Fortunately, most of these problems can be resolved using weather stripping and/or film wrap products. If you’re dealing with uneven windows and doors and you don’t plan to repair or replace them yourself, it may be time to call in a pro to help.
Reversing the direction of your ceiling fan is a lesser-known way to control airflow in your home. The ceiling fan should spin counterclockwise during summer months to push cold air down. Use the fan’s reverse button in the fall to make it run counterclockwise. This will pull cold air up and keep the room’s lower half warm.
3. Change Alarm Batteries
Fall is a good time to replace batteries in smoke and fire alarms. You and your family will have peace of mind knowing that your emergency alert equipment will be on hand in the event of a fire.
If you have any fire extinguishers in your home, now is a good time to check their expiration dates. If your fire extinguisher is nearing or has already passed its expiration date, now is the time to replace it.
4. Check drainage
The foliage is beautiful, but those fallen leaves can be annoying. To prevent damage to your home’s exterior, unclog your gutters to ensure any snowmelt drains efficiently.
While you’re cleaning out the gutters, take a look at your roof. If you’re unsure what to look for, contact a professional. The time to make any repairs is right now, before your home’s roof is covered in a foot of snow!
Also, before the temperature begins to drop, drain outdoor hoses and faucets to prevent them from freezing, bursting or breaking.
5. Get the HVAC system in order
Make sure your heating system is ready for the first frost.
To guarantee you’ll be toasty warm within minutes of starting up your furnace, make an appointment with your HVAC professional this fall, before you need to use your system.
While you’re at it, check your heating system’s filtration system – experts suggest replacing the filter every two to three months to prevent buildup.
6. Outdoor maintenance
While you’re cleaning debris from your home’s gutters as noted earlier, trim any branches that could become a hazard should they be loaded down with ice and/or snow.
To extend the life of your outdoor furniture and/or appliances (shiny, stainless steel grill?) invest in heavy-duty, waterproof covers designed to withstand the elements.
It is also time to store away other lawn ornaments, such as ceramic flowerpots and/or solar lights, to prevent damage.
Repair any cracks in your driveway and/or sidewalk. Water – or snow – seeping into cracks in pavement will only cause them to expand and even crumble.
If you’re not ready to repave these surfaces, concrete sealer can be obtained at most hardware stores. This product will prevent water from damaging your surfaces further until they can be repaired or replaced.
7. Prepare for winter by stocking up on snow supplies
Have you ever been running late and couldn’t find your scraper after a snowfall?
Fall is the time to stock up on snow supplies such as a shovel and sand for the driveway and a sturdy scraper for your car’s windshield.
If you’re not fortunate enough to have a covered parking space or garage, look for windshield covers that are designed to cover your windshield from end to end, to help prevent snow and ice buildup.
Consider packing a winter emergency car kit if you live in a remote area, including items like snacks, a flashlight, blanket, ice scraper, jumper cables, and other vitals.
8. Clean your fireplace
Make sure your fireplace’s base is thoroughly cleaned before you turn it on for the winter.
Consult a chimney sweep to ensure all equipment – including the flue – is safe and working correctly before using it.
9. Beef up your insulation
- ⬥ Check for drafts in every room
- ⬥ Check your recent energy bills. Have they spiked more than normal?
- ⬥ Do an insulation test – or hire a pro to check for you
If your home doesn’t have a tight seal, it will be prone to drafts, which will cause you to use more energy to keep it warm. Make sure your attic is sealed properly to reduce your heating costs in the fall and winter.
10. Fix or upgrade your home’s exterior lighting
Finally, inspect your home’s exterior lighting around the following areas:
- ⬥ Driveway
- ⬥ Patio, deck and porch
- ⬥ Stairs and steps
- ⬥ Swimming pools
- ⬥ Walkways and pathways
- ⬥ Fountains and water features
During the fall, the days will get shorter, so make sure your exterior lights are shining bright to prevent slipping and falling in your yard, driveway, or anywhere else outdoors.
To avoid tripping hazards, avoid crossing walkways with electrical cords if you wish to upgrade or create a festive environment with string lights during the holiday season.
For more tips on managing fall home maintenance tasks, review these blogs.