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There’s nothing quite like the weather in autumn. With the heat of summer finally breaking, it’s time to start enjoying more time outdoors and keep the windows open. With favorable weather, it’s easy to forget the cold and dark nights of winter looming ahead.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take during the fall to help prepare your home for the harsh conditions of winter. Here’s a list of basic home maintenance tasks you can do now to get ready for the coming cold.
Did you know that ceiling fans are reversible? (Don’t worry if you didn’t—
many people don’t!) By switching the direction the blades spin, you can control the airflow the way you want it, but be sure to clean your blades if you do. Hot air rises, so when your fan blades spin clockwise, they’ll push the hot air down and help distribute it around your home. This will make the heating process more efficient and could save you some money.
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Most HVAC systems require minimal maintenance, but a yearly checkup before their operating season is recommended. Have a licensed professional inspect your furnace in the fall before you need it. With unexpected cold snaps, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your furnace is ready for action.
Failing to clean out your gutters can lead to massive problems come winter. If your gutters aren’t flowing freely, water can build up and freeze during the winter, damaging them and other areas of your home. Roof leaks and other water damage are common with dirty gutters, so when the last leaf falls, make sure to clear them out.
Reseal Windows and Doors
Drafty homes can make winter miserable and cost you a fortune on utility bills. In the early fall, seal up any windows or doors with caulk or silicone on the home’s exterior and interior. Weatherstripping is also a valuable tool in keeping the cold outside where it belongs.
If you live in an area with cold winters, you’ll want to make sure your lawn irrigation and outside spigots are fully drained. Protect your garden hoses or place them in storage to prevent damage.
Consider buying insulators for all exterior water spigots and add insulation to your valve boxes to prevent damage from freezing. Installing new systems at adequate depths will help you avoid problems in the future.
Mowers and Blowers
As the growing season ends, it’s important to prepare your mower for a long season of sitting. Add stabilizer to your fuel tank or, better yet, get the fuel tank completely empty after your last use. This will help critical parts from becoming damaged.
This is also a great chance to get your snowblower ready for the impending winter weather. Make sure your oil is fresh and parts like spark plugs don’t need to be replaced. Making sure your machine is fine-tuned before you need it can save loads of stress when you do.
If your home has a fireplace, you’ll want to make sure it will burn safely through the winter. Consider hiring a chimney sweep and having it inspected for signs of damage. Cleaning the fireplace itself will also help keep you safe and will make future cleanups easier. Fireplaces are a big reason for home fires during the winter, so use the fall to make sure you’re ready to go.
Fall is the best season for preventative home maintenance. You’re less reliant on A/C than the summer months and can prep your winter systems without being rushed. Make a checklist and spend the autumn months getting your home prepped for the cold.