With the arrival of chillier days, football watching and pumpkin everything, it’s time to think about getting your home ready for the winter months ahead. Check these easy to do tasks off your fall home maintenance checklist starting today.
Interior Fall Home Maintenance:
Conduct an energy audit. Through visual inspection and thermal imaging, a certified auditor can assess your home’s current energy efficiency. They will also provide you a list of recommended improvements you can make, such as upgrading to ENERGY STAR appliances, adding insulation to the attic or sealing air leaks.
Seal air leaks. While it’s well-known that homes require adequate levels of insulation to mitigate heat loss through your home’s walls, ceilings and floors, the concept of air sealing is often less understood. Air leaks can be found around windows, doors, attics, lighting fixtures, outlet, and vents. Some measures you can do include:
- Caulking around windows and doors
- Installing foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates
- Installing weatherstripping around windows and doors (include the garage door)
- Replacing door bottoms (thresholds) with those that feature pliable gaskets
Declutter closets and garage. Free your closets and/or garage of things you rarely use or items that have lost their novelty once and for all this fall. When it comes to decluttering these spaces, it’s important to have a game plan in mind, and to set up organizational systems that are sure to eliminate clutter.
Start by sorting all contents of these spaces into three piles; toss, donate/sell, and keep. It’s a great idea to increase shelving and use bins in the closets. In the garage, install wall and overhead storage. Items infrequently used, such as holiday decorations and camping gear, should be stored further away than those you use more often.
Install a programmable thermostat. Save on home heating and cooling expenses with a programmable thermostat. For as low as $40, programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. You can do the same on the weekends. That way your air conditioner or furnace isn’t running all day, costing you money when the house is unoccupied.
Replace furnace filters. This easy task allows your HVAC system to operate more efficiently, ensuring better heat distribution. Use high-efficiency filters labeled with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of 11 or 12. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time.
Schedule heating system maintenance. Making sure your furnace is cleaned, maintained, and in working order before you need to turn on the heat will save you money on energy and prolong system life. Annual servicing of your heating system is affordable – typically less than $100.
Exterior Fall Home Maintenance:
De-gunk your gutters. Once most of the leaves have fallen, clean out gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters during rainstorms can cause water to pool, causing damage to your roof, siding or foundation. You can hire a professional for this project or do it yourself. Either way, make sure the gutters are not sagging, and that all brackets are tightened.
Trim tree branches. Fall is a good time to trim tree branches, when dormancy has set in. It’s a good idea to trim branches back 8-10 feet away from your home, so they don’t damage your roofing or siding in windy conditions, cause moisture problems or make it easy for rodents to sneak into your house and raid your pantry. Always use clean landscaping trimmers to prevent the spread of disease.
Stock up on winter supplies. If you live in an area of the state that experiences blistering cold, snowy winters, it’s a good idea to stock up on some essentials in the fall. Some things you can include:
- Pack emergency kits for both your home and car
- If needed, pick up a bag, or two of pet and plant safe ice melt
- Check the condition of snow shovels, ice scrapers, and sleds; replace as needed