Forget about spring cleaning, let's talk about fall fix-ups! As seasons change, so do your home's needs. While it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the changing leaves, football games and pumpkin spice, remember this is also a great time to get started on the seasonal maintenance you need to do keep your home at its best.
Here's a seasonal checklist to help you get started.
Inside your home
Check the chimney and fireplace.If you have a fireplace, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional. Remember to stock up on firewood and store it in a safe and dry place.
Look for insulation gaps.Feel for drafts around windows and doors and take a trip to your attic to evaluate the insulation. Weather-stripping can wear out over the years, so be sure to fix any insulation issues before the cold weather arrives maximize the energy efficiency of your home.
Clean the windows. You'll want to heighten natural light during the colder, darker months. Be sure to clean your windows and blinds, especially in rooms that get a lot of sunlight.
Reprogram the thermostat. Change your temperature settings from cooling to heating. Consider installing a smart, programable thermostat. This is one of many energy-efficient improvements you can install to help your save on energy bills.
Service the furnace. Consider getting your furnace professionally serviced before the winter season. At the minimum, visually inspect your furnace for soot and ignition problems and replace the furnace filter before turning it on for the first time.
Replace batteries. Now is a great time to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors, which should be changed twice a year.
Test the generator.If you have an emergency generator for power outages test it to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Outside of your house
Inspect the landscaping. Be sure to regularly check trees for damaged limbs or branches that are hanging over your house, electrical wires or outbuildings. If you plant bulbs for spring, now's the time to get them in the ground in addition to cutting back bushes, shrubs and flowers as recommended.
Clean the gutters. Remove leaves and other debris from gutters and check for leaks. Clogged gutters can become places for snow and ice to build up, and the excess weight can stress your home's roof or cause rot to set in.
Fertilize the lawn. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall protects it during the winter months and helps it green up faster in the springtime.
Turn off faucets. Before it gets too cold, be sure to drain garden hoses and disconnect them from the outside spigots. Depending on where you live, consider shutting off the water to your exterior faucets and store hoses in a dry place so residual water won't freeze.
Service the AC. You may need to winterize your outdoor air conditioner unit depending on the type of system you have. Be sure to clean the coils and cover the outdoor unit to keep debris from damaging the system.
As you're enjoying the last of this year's warm weather, take some time to prepare your home for the coming fall season. Preventative and energy efficient maintenance today will help you save money generally and on potentially expensive repairs down the road.