You may be ready for fall, but is your house prepared? These tips will help you get your home ready for the wetter autumn weather in style —and may save you some money too! Learn what projects will ensure your house makes a smooth transition from summer to fall.
Reprogram the Thermostat
Change your temperature settings to make your home ready for the colder weather. Make sure the house is warm when people are active (mornings and evenings). But don't be afraid to lower the temperature by several degrees or more when the family is away or sleeping. Even smart programmable thermostats may need some help figuring out your winter schedule!
Clean Your Furnace and Switch Out Your Filters
Check your furnace for soot, ignition problems, pilot light health, and the state of other components to make your home ready for fall. Also, clean up dust and grime and arrange a professional inspection for anything that worries you. This is also a great time to switch out your filters since clean air is important when the house is closed for winter. You may also need to winterize your outdoor air conditioner unit, depending on the type of system you have. This usually involves cleaning your coils and covering the unit to protect it from the elements.
Look for Gaps and Cracks in Your Insulation
Make your home fall ready and fix insulation issues before the cold weather arrives. Take a trip up to your attic/crawlspace during the day and look for rays of light in the corners. The only light should be coming from your attic vents and corners should be well-protected with insulation. And do the same thing with your ductwork. Have a partner shine a light in your vents and see if it shows any cracks while you watch from the crawlspace. Those cracks will cost you warm air!
Clean, Inspect and Prepare Your Fireplace
Is your fireplace and home ready for these colder months? Be sure to clean out your fireplace, check your chimney for blockages and make sure that your damper is working smoothly. If your chimney is coated in soot or forming tarry creosote residue, you will need to clean the chimney thoroughly to prevent fire hazards. For gas fireplaces, vacuum out any dust and check that the pilot light is properly turned on.
Switch to Warmer Bedding and Clothes
Bring out your seasonal bedding and clothing and pack up your summer wear for next season. Remember to keep your clothing somewhere safe from outdoor pests and extreme temperatures. It's a good idea to do this early so you have a chance to wash and freshen winter items before using them.
Prepare Your Outdoor Furniture
Wash your outdoor furniture and bring in any sensitive cushions or fabrics to get your home ready for fall. This is true even for durable outdoor padding, as it can develop mold issues over wet seasons. If you get a lot of snow, consider storing chairs and tables in a shed for better protection. Remember, mosaic tables can be particularly vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Plus: Make your own durable PVC patio furniture
Insulate Pipes to get Your Home Ready for the Cold
When temperatures drop below freezing, standing water in your pipes can start to freeze. This can ruin valves and even crack brittle pipes, leading to leaks and water damage. If your pipes aren't protected or you have installed new plumbing, you can get your home ready for the cold by insulating your pipes. This can be done with simple foam sleeves.
Inspect Your Screens and Windows
Fall is the perfect time to throw open windows and let fresh, cool air inside before the days get too chilly. But you should check your screens first to make sure they are aren't warped or bent. Large spaces encourage curious insects to enter your home. This is also a good time to check your window weatherstripping to make sure the felt is intact and not letting any drafts through.
Bring in Delicate Plants
Potted plants that are sensitive to moisture and low temperatures need protection. Consider bringing them in for the winter and keeping them in the kitchen, laundry room, or a space with plenty of natural light. Clean the plants and their pots thoroughly before bringing them inside to get your home ready for fall. Remember that the move will be a shock to your more delicate flowers, so treat them carefully. Plus: 12 Ways to Prepare Your Lawn and Garden for Fall
Switch Out Batteries in Your Smoke/Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detection is particularly important when the house is sealed and heaters are on during the winter. Check your detectors and replace those batteries to keep them in top condition and to get your home ready for the cold! It's also important to know when to replace a carbon monoxide detector.
Check on Your Water Heater
Your water heater has a lot of work to do in fall and winter. Over time, water heaters can get loaded down with sediment, overcome with scale, or other problems that reduce efficiency and lead to problems. If you haven't paid much attention to your water heater, it may be time to clean it out for the coming months to make your home ready for the cold.
Prepare Your Entryway for Muddy Feet
Is your entryway and home ready to deal with the dirt and moisture that fall and winter bring? Make sure there are places to store dirty clothes or equipment and ways to take care of muddy shoes or boots. Keep that dirt away from your floors by making sure it never enters the house. Plus: 15 Tips For An Organized Mudroom
Check for Drafts.
Heat loss through windows is responsible for 25-30 percent of heating energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But it doesn’t have to be that way, because weatherstripping is simple and probably the most cost-effective way to keep heating costs down.
Pro tip: To check if you have a draft issue, close a door or window on a strip of paper. If the paper slides easily, you need to update your weatherstripping.
Drain Your Outdoor Faucets.
Say it with me now: “I will turn off all outdoor faucets before winter!” Drain and disconnect all garden hoses from outside spigots to prevent any water freezing. Not doing this can result in pipes bursting, so yeah, do this.