Whether we like it or not, fall will be here before we know it. The evenings are already getting cooler, the kids are back to school again, and pumpkin spice lattes are just around the corner. Now is a great time to start preparing your home for fall and winter, before it starts getting colder. Here is a list of things that you can do now to save yourself time and aggravation later.
Prepare Your Landscaping
Take this time to give your landscaping some quick maintenance. Remove dead plants and dead tree limbs. Make room for mums and other fall plants you want to have this season. Plant bulbs for your spring garden. Tulips, daffodils, and irises are popular spring flowers that can be planted in the fall as the soil begins to cool usually in September and October. You also will want to fertilize and treat your lawn so you will have lush green grass in the spring.
Clean Gutters or Install Gutter Guards
Late summer and early fall are good times to clean your gutters before the next round of fall leaves start to fall. You will want to make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris to help prevent rainwater, snow, and ice from damaging your roof and foundation. If you want to take it a step further, install gutter guards to help keep leaves and sticks out of your gutters with less maintenance in the future.
Get the Fireplace Ready
If you have any type of fireplace or wood stove, now is a good time to have it inspected and cleaned. The Chimney Institute of America recommends an annual chimney inspection performed by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep to help prevent chimney fires. Have your chimney, ventilation, and the fireplace/stove itself inspected and maintained properly. Even if you have a gas fireplace, an annual inspection is important for keeping your home safe and preventing fires.
Check Your Home for Drafts
Take time to do a quick inspection of your home for drafts and points where outside air may enter your home and fix them before the winter air hits. A drafty door will be both uncomfortable in the cold weather and costly on your heating bill. Places you will want to check are:
- Outdoor Water Faucets
- Exterior points where siding meets
- Exterior area where the foundation meets brick or siding
- Indoor Electrical Outlets
- Switch Plates
- Utility Entrances
- Dryer Vents
- Attic Doors
Fix any of these areas that may have a draft. Make sure your pipes, exterior faucets, windows, and doors are all well insulated.
Seasonal Maintenance on Furnace
It’s better to find out now that your furnace needs to be fixed than on the first cold day! An annual inspection and maintenance of your furnace will not only help make sure you have heat in the winter, but it will also make sure your furnace is running both efficiently and safely. An HVAC professional can inspect your furnace and recommend any repairs, filter replacements, and/or air duct cleaning that may be needed. This will prolong the life of your furnace and keep you warm and comfortable in your home this winter.
Maintain Seasonal Equipment
We may still have a few more weeks of grass cutting in the future, but soon the time will come to put the lawnmower in the back of the garage and move the snowblower to the front! At the end of the summer season, clean your summer lawn and gardening equipment and prepare it for storage until next spring. Popular Mechanics recommends removing both the gasoline and the battery from your lawnmower. Gasoline that sits in an unused lawn mower can cause damage. Drain and use all of the gasoline so it is empty before storing it away. Removing the battery and bringing it indoors can prolong the life of the battery as well. Now is also a good time to sharpen blades and make sure your equipment is in tip-top shape for spring.
Once you have your summer equipment ready for winter storage, take out your winter equipment and make sure it is in working condition. Get gas for the snowblower. Have your ice scrapers, deicer, and salt ready for the first winter’s snow. This is a great opportunity to quickly reorganize the garage or shed as you prepare for the next season. Once winter hits, you can breathe a little easier knowing you’ve done your best to prepare your home for the winter ahead!