Organizing And Preparing Your Home For Fall
You may be sad to see summer go, but we know plenty of people who prefer the crispness and the colors of fall. As your lazy poolside afternoons are traded for evening inside by the fireplace, take a few simple precautions to make sure your home is prepared for the changing seasons.
Here are some essential pre-fall prep steps you should consider for your home:
- Planting for Fall – Planting for a fall garden is a great way to start preparing your yard for the dormancy of winter. Choose vegetables that mature quickly (about a month) and that will thrive in cooler, pre-frost conditions, such as kale, lettuce and beets.
- Prepare your Firewood – Before you bring your firewood in from the porch or garage, make sure it’s ready to come inside by carefully checking for bugs (termites, carpenter ants, and powder post beetles). If you find evidence of insects, burn the wood immediately (outdoors) or just move it all far away from your house, and leave it to rot. If the wood is deemed bug-free, sweep out your fall storage area, and restack it with this year’s wood on the bottom, and last year’s drier wood on top.
- Clean and store outdoor summer items – Take care to drain garden hoses, clean patio furniture and summer toys, and cover them before you store them, so they’re clean and ready to go next year.
- Clear Rain Gutters – A pre-season cleaning will make subsequent cleanings throughout the colder months go much easier.
- Protect underground sprinklers and septic systems – Flush them out before the cold sets in by blowing air through the pipes to remove any standing water. This can prevent the costly repairs incurred when underground pipes freeze. This is also a good time to pump septic tanks, before frozen ground and snow cover makes it difficult to reach.
- Seal and protect points of entry – Have a look at all your external doors and windows to see where drafts could be a problem. You can hold a candle near the frame (from inside the house) and if the flame flickers, it’s probably due to a draft. Replace any worn or ineffective weather stripping to prevent drafts and the inflated heating bills they can cause. Remove window and door screens to prevent winter damage and make any necessary repairs now, before you store them away. While you’re at it, give the external window a good washing too.
- Seal your driveway – Protect it from the elements now, and it won’t look so weather-beaten when the warm weather returns.
- Make sure everything you need is in top working order before you need them – Have a pro inspect your furnace now, instead of waiting for the first cold snap of the season. Buy enough furnace filters for monthly changes to ensure maximum comfort and energy savings. If you have gas heat, have a pro check the pilot light, burner and chimney flue, where carbon monoxide byproducts exit your home, to make sure it’s venting properly and protecting your family from carbon monoxide collecting in your home. Drain the sediment from your hot water, too.
- Change Your Filters – Central air systems are either dirty from constant use, or stale from sitting idle, and could be collecting mold and mildew. Replace the air filters to prevent from circulating dirty air around your home. If you have baseboard heat (forced hot water heating) have it checked and have anti-freeze solution topped off to prevent heating pipes from freezing when the heat is not in use. Also, use a simple vinegar solution to rinse humidifier filters and water basins.
- Winterize your air conditioning – Cover your outdoor central air unit for winter and remove window units to prevent warm air from leaking out and drafts from seeping in.
- Get the carpets clean – October is a great time to schedule a professional carpet cleaning because the warmer afternoons can help carpets dry quickly. It’s also a nice way to prepare your home for upcoming holiday guests and entertaining.
Did we miss anything? What is your best pre-season tip to prepare your home for fall? Share the tasks you love (or dread!) in the comments below, and let’s help each other get ready for an outstanding autumn this year.