How to Prepare Your Home for Fall and Winter
It’s time for sweater weather, boots, and pumpkin spice. We may be ready for fall mentally, but our homes need some sprucing up as well. We’ve got some tips on how to prepare your home for fall and winter. So you can feel truly safe and warm while you are cozying up to the fire this season.
Fire Place & HVAC Maintenance
Speaking of warm and cozy, this is a great time for a fireplace inspection and cleaning. Be sure the damper functions correctly, check that the flue is free of debris and that you can see sunlight at the top of the chimney.
If you have a heating and cooling system, now is an excellent time to schedule an appointment to get it checked and tuned up for the coming season. A checkup can run between $50 to $100, but the peace of mind is priceless. Does your HVAC include a built-in humidifier? If so, ask the contractor to replace that filter as well.
Remember to change your filters regularly. This is an essential step in keeping your system functioning properly.
How to Seal Your Home for Winter
Sealing your home is a must! It can help save you money by preventing air leaks that waste energy and help prevent moisture from getting into your walls. Pick a few caulk tubes that match your home’s interior and exterior colors and seal up cracks around windows, trim, pipes, etc. Be sure the temp is above 50 degrees (this will help the caulk flow smoothly). This is also an excellent opportunity to check and, if needed, replace weather stripping.
Garden Hoses, Plants, and Sprinkler Systems… Oh My
Remember to Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets to prevent damage if the temperature drops below freezing. For extra precaution, turn off all shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets to guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet. Don’t forget to drain the garden hose and store it in your garage or shed.
Fall is the time to prune plants and trees. Keep limbs and branches a minimum of 3 feet from your house. This will help keep moisture from dripping onto roofing and siding and prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.
Buried irrigation lines can freeze and lead to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads. To keep pipes from freezing follow the steps below.
Steps for prevention:
- Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.
- Shut off the automatic controller.
- Drain water from the system by opening the drain valves.
- Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them. Replace once dry.
- You can also hire a pro to do this for you.
Clean Out Your Gutters
Ice dam prevention can be simple. Once the leaves are gone from your trees, clean out your gutters to reduce the risk of ice dams. Check your gutters and make sure they aren’t sagging and trapping water. Tighten, repair, or replace any gutter hangers and downspout brackets that need it. Downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from the house to prevent foundation problems, if needed, add downspout extensions.
Perform A Roof Inspection
Conduct a visual inspection of the roof from the ground, grab binoculars to get a closer look for steep roofs, or climb on up for a better view, if you are able to do so safely. Check for missing, damaged, or loose shingles. If you have a flat roof, be sure to remove leaves and debris. In case you need it, here are 5 reasons you should check your roof to make sure it is ready for fall.
Safety Device Maintenance
Replace batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices. Test them to confirm they’re working correctly in case of an emergency. Have an evacuation plan and walk through it with the family to make sure everyone understands it.
We hope these tips help you and your family answer the question of how to prepare your home for fall and winter. For an in-depth look at fireplace safety, check out our blog on Fireplace Safety Tips.