This week marks the beginning of autumn. Fall brings with it cooler nights and fires burning in the fireplace, hearty soups simmering on the stove for Sunday dinner, crisp air on evening walks with the dog, and cozy sweatshirts watching an afternoon of kids' soccer.
Fall is a favorite season for many people, but it is also a great time to weatherproof your home for the upcoming winter season. It’s best to run through a series of checklists now while the weather is still pleasant, instead of waiting until the first frost strikes.
Touch up any exterior paint.
Fix cracks in the driveway and sidewalk.
Check roof shingles.
Replace screens with storm windows and doors.
Clean out your gutters.
Clear lawn and prepare landscape.
Remove fuel and drain water.
Check for interior air leaks.
Inspect and service your heating systems.
Test your home safety system.
Read on to learn more.
Start on the outside of the home. Do an overall scan, checking for cracks in the foundation. Caulk any areas of the home where the masonry meets siding, where pipes and wires enter the home, and around windows and door frames. This is an inexpensive fix that can help not only seal your home so that cold air doesn’t seep in, but it can also help keep water out of cracks, which could cause mold, or if frozen could expand and cause damage.
As you continue to inspect your home, watch for peeling paint, which is a sign that your paint is deteriorating. This is more than just a cosmetic flaw. If it is not corrected, it can lead to costly repairs in the future.
Take a walk down your driveway and sidewalks and look for cracks, which will only get worse during freezing weather. Take the time to clean out any cracks, repair them with filler, and coat them with a commercial sealer.
Continue your inspection up onto the roof of your home and hire a certified roofing specialist to ensure there are no missing or loose shingles.
Once the temperatures drop far enough that you will no longer be opening your windows, you should remove your screens. Make any necessary repairs to the screens and spray them with a protective coating before storing them in a dry area. Once screens are removed, install storm windows and doors. While we are talking about doors, consider weather-stripping your garage door to prevent drafts.
After the leaves have fallen, be sure to clean out your gutters and downspouts and also flush them with water. Make any repairs, including tightening of brackets, now.
You should also clear the leaves off your lawn and reseed dead areas.
Consider planting spring-flowering bulbs and deer-proofing your plants by covering them with netting and chicken wire. You should also fertilize the lawn with a high phosphorous mix in preparation for the spring.
Remove any fuel from gas-powered equipment like lawnmowers and prepare them for storage. Drain water from your garden hoses and store them for winter and be sure to shut off outdoor water valves in preparation for cold weather. Make sure you are all set for ice and snow removal, too.
There are several maintenance items for the interior of your home, too. Check around your doors and windows for air leaks simply by moving your hand around the frame. Seal any drafty areas with weather stripping or caulk.
You should also have your heating system inspected and serviced. This is the time to inspect your fireplace and also replace dirty furnace filters. Another good tip that is often forgotten is to change the direction of your ceiling fan so that it pulls air upwards and redistributes the warm air from the ceiling.
Also, now is a great time to plan for safety with a home safety check. Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Inspect or install fire extinguishers, review fire escape plans and rid your home of any fire hazards.
With some simple preparation, we can be ready for all that fall has to offer, from football to frosty nights.
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