The summer heat may be getting its last few gasps of life, but very soon the leaves will turn, cooler temperatures will take over and everything will come in the flavor of pumpkins. You may be ready for all that, but is your home? Just as you might take the time to switch out your warm weather clothes for sweaters and jeans, your home needs some attention too.
Feel the Heat
You certainly don’t want to find out you’ve got a broken furnace once the temperatures turn frigid. Now is the time to have a professional come in to service your furnace to be sure it’s ready when you need it most. You’ll also want to give the filter a once-over to see whether or not it needs to be replaced. If your furnace runs on oil or propane, have the tank topped off so it’s ready to go.
Fireplace owners should clean out old ashes and check the damper handle and springs to make sure they work properly. If it’s been more than a year since you’ve had your chimney cleaned, fall is the perfect time to call your chimney sweep to eliminate any build-up which can be hazardous if you let it go too long.
Don’t forget to do some basic maintenance on your water heater. Drain it and clean it of rust and debris. Consider replacing a very old or very rusty water heater with one that’s more energy efficient.
Your air conditioner has worked hard all summer, but before you put it to rest for the season, you should clear any leaves and debris from the condensing unit. Use your garden hose on its highest setting to clear the blades and condensing coils of dirt and debris. Then cover it with a breathable, waterproof cover that can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores.
Generally, homeowners are advised to clean the gutters at least twice a year: in spring and in fall. An abundance of leaves and other debris will keep rain from flowing freely through the gutters and into the down spouts, causing mold and mildew to build up and damage the gutters. If moisture freezes in clogged-up gutters, it could ruin them to the point of needing to be replaced.
Windows and Doors
Take a look at the seals around all windows and doors, replacing those that have cracked from heat or age. For older windows, plastic coverings help to eliminate drafts and keep your heating costs down. You might also consider using a heavier drape on older windows to give extra protection against the coming cold nights. An easy and inexpensive way to deal with air leaks around the door frames is to replace the weather stripping on the sides and bottoms.
-Lawn: Spreading fertilizer will help protect your yard from the harshness of winter and keep spring weeds at bay. Visit your local garden center to get advice on the best kind to use and the best time to use it. Keep leaves raked too, especially if your home is on the market.
-Patio/deck: Wash, dry and store all furniture in a dry place to protect it from the elements. Or, if the climate allows, cover the furniture instead. For decks, it’s always a good idea to give it a coat of sealer before the winter settles in.
Spending time preparing your home for this change in seasons is worth the effort. You can enjoy the cool, crisp days knowing your home is ready for the cold nights to come.