It’s officially fall; while we’re enjoying the beautiful weather and the leaves, it’s time to start getting ready for the toll winter will take on your home.
There aren’t many tasks on a fall to-do list that are difficult. Some are best left to a professional, though. The key is to know which ones you can do yourself, and those for you should let someone else take responsibility.
- Walk around the exterior of your home and look for cracks where masonry meets siding. These gaps can allow water in, and when water freezes it will expand. The result is damage to your masonry and foundation. If you aren’t sure how to seal cracks in masonry, call a professional.
- Examine entry points for pipes and wires, and get a good look at all of your window and door frames. You’re looking for any gaps or cracks where heat can escape and cold air can enter. Leaking air can account for a 20% increase in heating costs. These, you can fix yourself if you’re moderately handy with caulk and weather stripping. Again, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, caulk can be a messy project; call a professional.
- If you have them, it’s time to install your storm windows and screens.
- From the ground, give your roof a cursory once-over. If you notice any loose or missing shingles, call roofing professional. If your roof is missing shingles, the interior of your home can sustain water damage from ice, snow, and rain. And it’s not just the drywall you should be worried about; if water gets into your home, it can affect electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems.
- Have your furnace tuned-up and checked earlier rather than later. If your furnace is in tip-top shape, it will run more efficiently, be less likely to break down, and even last longer. Scheduling your visit early means you’ll get the appointment time you want and be prepared for any sudden cold snaps.
- If you have a woodstove or fireplace, make sure it’s been seen by a professional at least in the past few years so there aren’t any surprises the first time you use it.
- Switch your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise, which will bring warmer air to you instead of way up on the ceiling.
- Change and test the battery in every smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector to ensure they are ready to do their job. Half of all home fires occur in December through February.
- Clean humidifiers thoroughly and continue to do so all season long. Otherwise, it may distribute bacteria and spores into your air every time you use it. Whole-home humidifiers should be given maintenance by a professional.
- Make sure garden hoses are empty and not attached to hose bibs. Shut off outdoor water valves so that the water in the pipes doesn’t freeze and cause the pipe to burst.