Fall is intended for pumpkin patches, hayrides and tailgating, but before you can select which pumpkin to carve, you must first prepare your home for fall, even if the fall foliage hasn’t arrived. The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll be enjoying the festivities and crisp weather- and handling unexpected repairs and emergencies. We promise that an early start will save you time and money down the road.
Each respective section of the home requires its own individualized breakdown come fall, and the exterior of the home is exceedingly taxing and demanding, so let’s begin there. Priority number one is replacing missing, damaged or loose shingles on the roof to avoid potential damage to the attic, ceilings and insulation. Show your gutters some TLC by cleaning or replacing them, surveying for leaks and installing gutter guards to prevent backups (clogged gutters can flood the interior and damage the exterior). Afterwards point downspouts away from the home, walkway or driveway or any obstructions; and while you’re at it examine the siding of your home and take note of any cracks or holes. To ensure you’re sitting cozy by the fire when the temperature drops, inspect and clean the chimney and fireplace professionally, especially a wood fireplace, and stock up on firewood before demand spikes. Before the temperature drops however, clean on and around outdoor AC units since any blockage can increase energy bills by 30%.
Equally critical is turning off, draining and insulating faucets and exterior wall water pipes to prevent frozen or burst pipes. Disconnect hoses from their spigots and store them in a dry place. After, direct your attention to servicing the sprinkler and irrigation system, which might need draining. Helpful tip: mark sprinkler heads near snow removal areas so that they don’t get destroyed in a snow shoveling accident. Trim the landscape by cutting bushes and trees with damaged limbs that are in close proximity to your home or power lines. Then it’s time to fertilize the yard so winter damage and spring weeds will be minimal. Consider also repairing cracks in your driveway with concrete crack sealer. Water freezes and expands in cracks, enlarging the crack which could lead to concrete crumbling. To round out the process, clean, store and cover outdoor furniture; organize the shed and move winter items towards the front; and close down your pool for the fall season.
Hopefully now, the interior will not seem as daunting. The most essential task is to feel for drafts around doors and windows which can be solved by caulking or weather stripping. Or you can rearrange couches towards the fireplace and away from drafty areas, which will tempt you less to crank the thermostat. Consequently, inspect your furnace for leaks, heating efficiency and change the filters and stock up on extras. However, also change the filters on your AC unit. Clogged filters put more strain on your unit, which can increase the temperature and the number of repairs needed and ultimately shorten the lifespan. Heavier, darker curtains also insulate the home, keeping it warm. As a safety precaution, remove screens if your climate receives lots of hail; install storm windows and doors; run a carbon monoxide test; replace batteries in the smoke detector and run a test; and buy supplies for potential power outages from an early snowstorm or hurricane.
In the garage it’s in your best interest to service your summer power equipment so that they will be ready come spring: empty the fuel, clean the tools, sharpen blades on the lawn mower and change oil. Don’t forget to service your winter equipment now too, like snowblowers so when snow starts falling you won’t be out of luck. Likewise, test your generator now, not when the first power outage happens. After completing this checklist, your next worries should only be deciding how to carve your pumpkin or how gigantic to make your leaf pile.