How to Get Your Home Ready For Fall
As summer draws to a close, soon enough temperatures will begin to drop and leaves will begin to fall, indicators that are emblematic of the beginning of the fall season. As the season changes, so does our lifestyle, activities, and in turn, our homes. Before summer officially ends, it is a good idea to get your home ready for fall by getting a headstart on all the chores, repairs, and seasonal maintenance required to prepare your home for the upcoming colder months of fall, and eventually the freezing temperatures of winter. Many of these repairs will be expensive, so do not forget to lean on a banking service such as loans if necessary.
Fall will be here before you know it and the weather will change suddenly, especially if you live in a colder climate. You do not want to get caught being unprepared. Here are some of the most important tasks you need to complete to get your home ready for fall and keep your household running smoothly. Many of these tasks are within any person’s ability, but it would not be a bad idea to consider professional roofing companies for potentially dangerous gutter and roof repair. From cleaning out your gutters, fireplace, and even your roof, here is how to get your home ready for fall.
Cleaning Out the Gutters
Your home’s gutters are a part of your roof’s drainage system that redirects thousands of gallons of water away from your home’s foundation walls and exterior every year. If your roof’s drainage system is not flowing smoothly, it could lead to serious water damage to your home. Clogged gutters will result in damage to the exterior surfaces of your house. It is also likely that water will seep in your basement. Clogged gutters are also more likely to be damaged by corrosion or rust. Therefore, it is wise to have your gutters cleaned before falls begin and falling leaves add to your clogged gutter issues. To keep leaves and other debris from clogging up your gutter this fall, install a mesh guard.
To get your home ready for fall by cleaning out your gutters, you will need a hose, wire brush, and gloves. Stand on a ladder and remove all the debris you can with your hands. After that, utilize the wire brush to remove any remaining detritus. Lastly, use your hose to clean out any remaining dirt or grime that has accumulated in the gutters.
Check Your Weather Stripping
Weather stripping is the process through which openings in your home such as doors and windows are sealed up, protecting your home from air leaks and weather elements. One of the most impactful steps you can take to get your home ready for fall and winter is to check your home’s weather stripping. A house that leaks air around the doors and windows decreases energy efficiency significantly. According to the United States Department of Energy, gaps in weather stripping and caulk can increase your energy bills by up to ten percent.
Weather stripping is the best method for reducing the cost of heating and cooling your home. Whether your choice of material is foam, compression, or v type, weather stripping your home will also keep your home more comfortable by reducing drafts. Despite the type of material, weather stripping will experience wear and tear, so it is highly recommended to inspect it often. If your garage door’s seal is deteriorating, you may need replacement garage doors.
If you believe there might be an issue with your weather stripping, you should check it out immediately. Make sure the window or door is closed and try to slip a piece of paper underneath. If the piece of paper slides easily, the weather stripping is not airtight, and therefore not doing its job. Another method to check if your weather stripping is airtight is with a candle. Close the window or door, light the candle, and hold it close to the frame. If you see the flame flicker at any point along the frame, you know there is an air leak at that spot. Commercial window installers can help repair problems with your window sealing.
In addition to inspecting your home’s weather stripping, you should also be on the lookout for damaged or missing caulking. Caulk is the material used to seal seams and joints around doors, windows, and other openings for cable, electrical, gas, phone lines, and fiber optic services. If you find any gaps, seal them with the appropriate caulk. If necessary, you can purchase more heavily insulated drapery for windows, doors, or other openings that are especially drafty.
Inspecting the Roof
A leaky roof is probably the most annoying issue that can happen to a home. Once a roof begins to leak, locating the source can be incredibly difficult and time-consuming. It would be wise to get your home ready for fall and fix any problems with your roof before snow, ice, and winds wreak havoc this winter. Begin by inspecting every square inch of your roof, with binoculars if need be. If you spot any damage that looks serious, do not hesitate to contact roof repair services.
Look for shingles that are damaged, curled, or missing altogether. Check the gutters for a buildup of granules, which is an indication that your roof’s coating has begun to seriously deteriorate. Inspect the ridge shingles for any evidence of wind damage or cracks and inspect the metal flashing for damage in the valleys and around the chimney and vents. With a few aluminum building products and proper safety precautions, you can make a few repairs roof repairs yourself. By conducting online research or watching videos online, you can make home improvement projects a whole easier.
Backyard structures such as storage sheds, vinyl sheds, and Amish sheds have roofs that are prone to deterioration and leaks as well. While inspecting your house’s roof, do not neglect your shed’s.
Inspecting the Furnace
Before winter arrives, another step you can take to get your home ready for fall is to have your furnace and heating system inspected by a professional, which is highly recommended. However, there are a few signs that indicate you need an inspection right away. Unusual whining or screeching noises may indicate that the belts attached to the blower motor are deteriorating or damaged.
If your furnace or heating system has not been performing as well recently as it has in the past, this could point to many different problems. The heating ducts might be obstructed, the burners could be miscalibrated, the furnace filter needs to be cleaned, or your blower motor might need replacing. If your furnace or heating system has been behaving erratically recently, this is likely caused by a malfunctioning thermostat or miscalibrated system. If you do not have one already, a programmable thermostat can help solve some of these nagging issues.
Inspecting the Fireplace
Whether you use your fireplace often or only occasionally throughout the winter, you will want to get your home ready for fall by inspecting it for safety hazards and damage. First and foremost, check your fireplace for creosote, a by-product of burning wood that is heavily flammable. Creosote most commonly builds up in the chimney or the flue, which can actually result in a highly destructive and damaging fire. Every year before winter arrives, inspect every inch of your fireplace for the buildup of creosote. If you use a wood stove or fireplace often, inspect the flue for creosote after every time wood is burned. There is also a metal plate called the damper right above the flue. Make sure it opens and closes properly.
It is recommended to have your entire chimney system inspected and cleaned by a chimney sweep. According to The National Fire Protection Association, chimneys and fireplaces should be cleaned and inspected at least once a year. To perform the inspection yourself, shine a flashlight up the flue and look for deposits of creosote that are at least one eighth of an inch thick. However, you should leave cleaning this creosote deposits to an experienced chimney sweep.
Inspecting the Walkways
Damaged driveways, steps, and other walkways are a hazard at any time of the year, but especially when the weather gets cold and icy. Get your home ready for fall and fix these issues to avoid greater and more expensive problems later on down the road. Volumetric concrete delivery is an easy and affordable way to have a small amount of concrete delivered to patch up any cracks.
Keep an eye out for any uneven walkways, loose railings, and cracks that are more than one eighth of an inch wide. Inspect the asphalt to make sure it is not disintegrating and any loose fill paths are not becoming washed out. Many of these problems can be fixed yourself or with the help of a qualified asphalt paving company.
Shutting Off Outside Faucets
Another step you can take to get your home ready for fall it to turn off your outdoor faucets. If you live in an area where fall or winter temperatures drop below freezing, you need to take the necessary steps to make sure your outside faucets do not freeze and burst. To begin, open up any outside faucets to drain the line and then make sure the valves are shut off and closed. Note that there may be a small cap on outside faucets that can be loosened to drain the line. If your outside faucets are not freezeproof and the valves cannot be shut off, you can buy faucet covers made from styrofoam at home improvement stores to prevent freezing and bursting.
Cleaning Your Furnace Filter
Your home’s furnace has a filter that prevents dust and other particles from being dispersed throughout your home and onto your floors, furniture, and other surfaces. A clogged or dirty filter makes it much harder for your heating system to keep your home warm, which in turn lowers energy efficiency and raises your energy bills. By simply cleaning your furnace filter once a month, you can extend the life of your furnace and ensure it is running smoothly.
If your furnace filter is disposable, it can be vacuumed one time and reused before it needs to be replaced. Simply use a soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner. You can also vacuum and reuse a foam filter, but this variety does not need to be replaced until it shows signs of damage. If you have an electrostatic or metal filter for your furnace, you can use water to clean it.
Inspecting the Central Humidifier
Dry air during the fall and winter can be bad for your health, but it can also be detrimental to the inside of your home. For example, dry air can make wood more susceptible to cracking. It will benefit your home and your personal health if you have a central humidifier that is well maintained and running during the fall and winter months. To inspect your central humidifier, take a look at the pads or plates. If need be, clean them with an effective laundry detergent solution. If you spot any mineral deposits, rinse them off with water and then scrape them with steel wool or a wire brush.
Inspecting the Gas Heater
Making sure your gas heater is in good condition will benefit you in terms of safety and cost. A gas heater that is not properly maintained will leak toxic chemicals into your home, not to mention the increased costs it will require to operate. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have a professional inspect your gas heater this fall before the cold winter months. There are however some maintenance tasks you can perform this fall. Shut off the gas heater and inspect the exhaust vents and air shutter openings for dust, dirt, or other debris. If there is a significant buildup, clean out the air passages with a vacuum, and remove any dirt or lint from the burner.