Cooler weather is coming – prepare your home for its arrival while it’s still nice outside.
The days are getting colder, and the nights are getting colder. The children go to school again with their backpacks, and leaves fall from the trees.
Yes, it’s official: Fall is here. Now is the time to finish some pre-winter maintenance projects and prepare your home and yard.
Take care of these 12 tasks to clean your home, warm and comfortable for the coming cold days.
1. Repair cracks in concrete and asphalt
Depending on where you live, these may be the last few weeks of this year, when it will be hot and sunny enough to fix highway and sidewalk cracks.
2. Clean the drains
No one loves this job, but we all need to do it every year. A few hours of work can prevent big problems later.
As you climb that ladder, visually inspect your roof for damaged shingles, lightning, or vents. You can also inspect the chimney for any missing mortar and repair it by refurbishing if necessary.
3. Turn off outdoor plumbing
Drain outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems, and cover them to protect them from the oncoming freezing weather.
4. Start typesetting
If you don’t already have compost bins, now is the time to make or get some. All of those accumulated autumn leaves will bring you garden gold next summer!
5. Clean outdoor furniture and garden tools
It may not be time to drive them out yet, but go ahead and clean your outdoor furniture and garden tools so they are ready for storage during the winter.
6. Plant bulbs for spring flowering plants
Plant bulbs in October, as soon as the soil has cooled, to reap large compensations in the coming spring. If you have never planted bulbs before, choose a place in your yard that is fully sunny during the day.
7. Prepare your oven for winter duty
If you haven’t already done it last spring, consider stocking your oven professionally in time for the cold season. At a minimum visually inspect your oven and replace the oven filter before you start using it daily.
8. Clean the chimney and chimney
Clean the chimney, inspect the flue, and make sure the doors and fenders are solid. Have the fireplace professionally swept if necessary. Now is also the time to stock up on firewood!
9. Keep the hot air inside and the cold air outside
Inspect your windows and doors. Check wind shear by opening a door, placing a piece of paper in the entrance and closing the door. The paper does not slide easily back and forth. If so, the weather is not doing its job.
Also now is the time to re-caulk around windows and door covers if necessary.
10. Light the way
Bring so much light to your home as you can during the colder, darker months. To accentuate natural light, clean your windows and blinds, especially in rooms that get a lot of sunlight.
Add light to darker spaces with new lamps. And consider replacing traditional white light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs.
11. Create a mud room
Even if you don’t have a dedicated mud room in your home, now is a good time to consider organizing and storing an entrance this will serve as a “mudroom” area for cold and wet weather.
Remove interior-exterior carpet to protect the floor. A fun and fruitful weekend project is to build a wooden shoe rack, coat rack or storage bench for your entrance.
12. Home security check
Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors. A good way to remember to do this is to always replace the batteries when you change the watch for summer time.
Create a family plan against fire, or review the one you already have. Assemble an emergency preparedness tool so that you are ready for any winter power outages.
Once you’ve finished your fall home list, you can enjoy the season in your warm, comfortable home.
Originally published September 2016.