The seasons are changing yet again. Soon we are leaving summer behind us and entering fall. Fall is a season of transition from the warmth and bright days of summer to subdued and sleepy days. Most often, we feel the change of seasons in the air. The hot, dry summer becomes musky. The leaves start to change color and drop. Our gardens experience their last hoorah. Even our pets notice the changes.
Fall is an opportunity to prepare our home for the coming cold months. Every region experiences a shift in weather conditions from one season to another. Some areas experience ice storms and others flooding. Fall home maintenance is determined by those regional weather conditions. Here a ten ways to get your home ready for fall regardless of where you live. Use the transitional weather of fall to prepare your home for a warm and snug winter.
Check all the home’s windows and entries for good weather stripping. Repair or replace any stripping that is damaged or worn. The weather stripping helps keep heat in your home and prevents the cold from entering. Gaps in doors and windows are big energy wasters. Caulk exterior cracks wider than a nickel.
Schedule a fall checkup for your heater. A technician will inspect the furnace and make sure it is operating efficiently. They will also change the furnace filters for optimal energy efficiency. Do not forget to change the air intake filters throughout your home. These are the areas your furnace draws air to heat. Clogged or dirty furnace filters are less energy efficient.
Clean the Gutters
Though it is not glamorous or fun, cleaning the gutters is important. Remove leaves, sticks, and other debris from the gutters. Check for and fix any cracks or breaks in the gutters. Add downspout extensions to direct water three to four feet away from the foundation.
On the Roof
While you are on the ladder cleaning the gutters, take a look at your roof. Inspect flashings for breaks or cracks. Look for loose or missing tiles. A handyman or roofer can be of big help in these situations. If you have a tar and gravel roof, blow off leaves and debris (not the gravel though) to prevent moisture.
Sump pumps remove excess water from basement areas. They are important in those regions where excess ground water enters the structure. Test your pump, have a tune up done, and prepare it for action.
Clean the Chimney
Schedule a chimney sweep to clean the chimney and inspect. Annual cleaning helps prevent attic fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and roof fires. A regular inspection helps ensure the chimney is in good working order and safe to use.
Clean the Garage
Clean and organize the garage by hanging bikes and storing summer toys. Place outdoor furniture cushions and hammocks on shelves. Store lawn games in bins on shelves. Beach chairs will easily hang from the garage walls or stack on shelves. Don’t forget to clean the garden equipment. Clean grass from the lawn mower. Remove the blade for sharpening. Do the same with the weed whacker. Clean shovels, trowels, and rakes. Store your garden tools neatly on the walls.
As fall and winter days grow shorter it will become darker earlier each day. Inspect and upgrade outdoor lighting to keep you safe as you make your way into the home in the dark. Focus on energy efficient LED and CFL bulbs. Inspect lighting along paths, motion lights, and lighting at all entryways. Don’t forget to check your garage lighting too.
Putting the Garden to Bed
Putting the garden to bed is an old phrase describing preparing the garden for fall. Remove plants such as tomatoes, peas, beans, and squash. Leave carrots, potatoes, and turnips to harvest throughout winter. Remove weeds or unwanted plantings. Gently till the ground and incorporate manure and compost. Cover the soil with mulch or straw to prevent soil loss.
In some areas of the country, people battle ice and snow daily during the fall and winter. Stock up on salt for de-icing, snow shovels, and outdoor wear. Summer isn’t over quite yet. But the fall season is just a few weeks away. Taking the time to plan your fall and winter maintenance now will help you enjoy the coming seasons. Rather than scrambling to get the furnace repaired or fix a leaking roof during a winter downpour, prepare your home now. You won’t be on the roof trying to find a leak in December. Instead, you will be in front of the fire, enjoying a winter evening with your loved ones, watching a movie.