The fall season is a time to wind down as days for many become cooler and the air crisper. As autumn allows for a break from summer’s heat and calm before winter’s wrath, there is some prep work to consider. Your home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make and should be properly maintained to ensure its longevity. As fall requires some pre-winter prep, consider these 10 maintenance tips.
1) Drain your hot water heater. As the days get colder, the last thing you want is a frigid home due to a faulty water heater. Flushing your current system not only helps to remove any sediment buildup but can extend the heater’s life, preventing future issues. Choose a day during fall for annual maintenance and stick with it.
2) Change your air filters. Dirty air filters will slow down the flow of air, making appliances work on the double to keep your home warm. A clean air filter will also lower your chances of buildup that can lead to system failure. As you will more than likely use your HVAC system (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) in the upcoming months, get into the habit of checking your air filter monthly and change it when needed.
3) Inspect your home for leaks and cracks. Keeping warm air in and cold air out will be one of your biggest goals during the fall and winter months. By inspecting your home for air leaks and cracks, you will proactively take a stand against wasted energy. All windows and doors with cracks should be immediately sealed. For extra preventative care, use weather-proofing kits and strips to keep all spaces free from leaks.
4) Have your irrigation system professionally serviced. If you have a lawn, it is important to prepare your system for the upcoming change in weather. Have a professional inspect and drain your system to prevent any water damage like leaky pipes. In addition, you should disconnect any unused water hoses to keep from tearing as water expands in hoses when frozen.
5) Take a trip to the roof. While you are making your checklist of things to do around the home, be sure to make a trip up to your roof, or call in a professional. Remove all leaves and debris from your roof, gutters and surrounding areas to prevent both buildup and any unnecessary weight. Be sure to check frequently as debris can quickly add up.
6) Ready your fireplace. A fireplace is a wonderful source of natural heat that will keep your interior warm. Like with any other heating and cooling units, annual maintenance and inspection will ensure proper functionality. Yearly chimney cleanings and check-ups will allow your unit to work efficiently. In the meantime, keep your fireplace free of any ashes and begin to stock up on fresh firewood.
7) Add insulation, if necessary. Are you the proud owner of a basement or attic? If so, you may want to invest in some extra insulation to retain heat and keep out drafts. Inspect all areas that may be susceptible to air escaping and add insulation when needed.
8) Drain all gas-powered equipment. There will come a point when landscaping tools like lawn mowers and weed wackers will have no use. As fall begins to slowly transition into winter, hibernate all tools to your garage or shed. Any and all gas-powered equipment needs to be drained of gas to prevent accidental spillage.
9) Fix a leak. Many pipes have been known to burst during the winter months due to leaks. Fall is the best time to check all pipes for any leaks and fix them right away. In the long run, it will not only save you money, but offer peace of mind.
10) Put away all outdoor furniture. Hopefully you enjoyed hanging outside during the spring and summer months because those days are over. Outdoor furniture, when left during the cooler seasons, can crack and fade over time. To keep them looking fresh, pack up all outdoor furniture and store them in a dry and covered area.
Tanvier Lee is a New York based lifestyle decorator, stylist and freelance writer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.