Take Care of Your Home Before Winter
When the weather starts to get crisp and cool, a different set of home maintenance tasks comes into play. HWA has compiled a handy Fall Home Maintenance Guide to help you protect your home systems, control your energy bills and keep your living spaces warm and comfortable. Put these tips to work in your own home and reap the benefits!
- Clean Up the Outside Autumn is the time to prepare the outside of your home for winter. Make sure to keep your gutters and downspouts clear of falling leaves and debris. This home maintenance step helps to avoid stagnant water in your gutters and keep your roof in great condition.Before the winter weather truly begins, trim your trees and hedges. This will help to prevent potential damage from ice and snow storms. When you’ve finished with yard work for the season don’t forget to stow your garden hoses and drain the fuel from gas-powered equipment like lawnmowers and leaf blowers. It’s time to store them safely until usable again.
- Prep Your Rooms Now that you’ve taken care of your yard, it’s time to make sure your rooms are ready for the coming winter weather. A simple home maintenance tip easily forgotten is reversing the direction of your home’s fans. Running them clockwise helps to pull cool air up and keep your rooms comfortable. The use of fans at a slow speed can even help you use your furnace more effectively.Another easy home maintenance tip is to switch out your bedding. As the cool fall air brings colder nights, use a thicker blanket and opt for flannel sheets. Warmer bedding helps reduce your need to crank up the furnace and leads to energy savings for you!
- Check for Drafts When the weather cools, you may notice drafty spots around your home. Pinpoint these areas and plug the leaks by filling in cracks with caulk or foam insulation. Even a small leak can make a noticeable difference in your monthly energy bills.During this draft audit, inspect your weatherstripping around doors and window frames. This helps to prevent cold air from getting inside of your house. Checking to see that it’s intact is an easy step to eliminating cool drafts in your home. If the weatherstripping is worn out, simply replace it!
- Winter is Coming – Prep Now!Now is the time to get your furnace tuned up before winter. This is one of the most important fall home maintenance tasks you can do. Your furnace does a lot of heavy lifting in the winter months to keep your family warm and cozy. A successful tune up can make your system more energy efficient all season long, and it’s also a great opportunity for a trained professional to catch small problems before they worsen and turn into major repair expenses.If you have a working chimney, have it professionally inspected and cleaned before your first fire of the season. Also, stock up on a full season’s worth of firewood by early fall, and stack it neatly outside your home. During the winter, restocking your firewood supply can come at a steep price.
This is also a good time to focus on fire safety. Frequent use of your furnace and chimney can increase the risk of a house fire, so take the time now to test every smoke alarm in your home and replace the batteries. This small home maintenance step will not only give you peace of mind when using your chimney but also keep your family safe should anything happen.
Check the insulation in your attic, and replace or add more as needed. This is an essential step in any fall home maintenance guide – insufficient attic insulation is one of the biggest sources of heat loss during the colder months.
- Protect Your Pipes Make sure your plumbing pipes are well insulated before the first freeze. Pipes can be prepared with insulating foam, heat tape, or even with layers of rags or newspapers.If you experience a deep freeze and are still concerned about your pipes freezing, you can turn the faucet on until it just begins to trickle. The slight flow of water is often enough to prevent freezing. For your interior sinks, be sure to open the cabinet doors below so your heated indoor air can reach the pipes.
After the heat of the summer, it can be tempting to just enjoy the crisp coolness of fall. However, taking the time to follow these home maintenance tips helps prepare your home before the cold weather arrives.
Source: Home Warranty of America