Read our guide to prepare your home for Winter during the Fall
As the Summer winds down, many of us are thankful that our air-conditioners and lawn mowers successfully made it through another hot season. That moment of tranquility is nice, but don't let it last too long: the snow, ice, and cold will be soon upon us. Luckily, homeowners have a little buffer in there in the cool Autumn season. Fall is a great time to wind down your home from the Summer, but at the same time get prepped for the upcoming Winter.
That is your best approach to Fall maintenance for your home – storing the things you don't need anymore, while getting ready for any turmoil the Winter throws your way. Here are some more specific ways to hunker down for the Winter while making sure you're still ready to roll with the heat next Spring:
Put Away The Summer
In a few short months (weeks!) you'll be longing for the chance to cut your grass again instead of shoveling snow, but for now, it's time to store your mower, blower, weed whacker, etc. safely. Drain the gas, change the oil, change the air filters, and clean off debris to make sure these items fire up again without effort in the Spring. Another crucial area that must be tended to is your outdoor water spigots. You should unhook your hoses and turn off the outdoor water supply. Failure to do so can cause a pressure back-up that can burst the pipes even inside the home.
Clean and Inspect
The second part of Fall preparation is an outdoor cleanup. The most important area that should be free of debris is your home's gutters. All the falling leaves of Autumn have a knack for finding their way into your downspouts and nestling in your gutters which will lead to ice buildup and flooding around your foundation (and into your basement) in the Winter months.
You will also want to inspect your roof. If you have curling or buckling shingles you still have time to replace them before Winter. Dips in your roof may indicate rotted sheathing and these spots are prime areas for snow and ice to settle. That additional weight could topple your roof altogether but will at the very least almost assuredly leak. You should also inspect for displaced flashing around the chimney, skylights, and near where two sections of the roof meet.
Increasing Fall/Winter Energy Efficiency
Your furnace is about to become the star of your home from about November to April so it's important that it's cared for before the first cool night. You'll definitely want to get comfortable changing the filter as it's something you should be doing up to every 30 days for the next few months. It also never hurts to have a professional perform an inspection (in fact your warranty may require it) to clean all the debris off from downtime and to fix issues when it's 15°C instead of -20°C.
Part of your fall maintenance energy efficiency routine should also include sealing up any gaps inside or outside the home. This could include cracks in the foundation or siding which may invite rodents in for a Winter nesting or gaps around windows and doors which will drive up your heating bills. You'll want to attach any storm windows you have and possibly wrap the interior of the windows in plastic for an extra barrier. Also, make sure to switch your ceiling fan to the opposite direction so that it sends warm air back into the room. You can also use this time to insulate the pipes in your basement or utility room and on exterior walls to prevent them from freezing and to save energy.
Make Home Improvements
The Fall season also provides an opportune time to make some home improvements. The lower humidity and cool temps for example create arguably the best time of the year to paint the exterior of your home – a project with one of the best ROI percentages in the industry. You can also do some proactive curb appeal by aerating (after raking) your lawn so that it soaks up nutrients above the frost line all Winter long.
These tips will get you there, but it's very important to stay on top of your home issues throughout the Winter just in case some problems do arise. Other than that, enjoy the Winter – the big thaw will be here sooner than you think (hopefully!)