Fall Leaves

The summer season has officially ended.  It’s time to pack up the outdoor furniture, cover the pool, and start preparing your home for the upcoming colder weather.  The beginning of fall is the perfect time to give your home a “once over.”  This way, if you have any repairs you need to do, you can get them done before the winter weather arrives so your family will be cozy and warm all winter long.

Start by inspecting all the doors and windows in your home.  If you feel air coming through the bottom of the door, replace the door sweeps and the weather-stripping.  This will help save you about one-third of your usual average annual cost to heat and cool your home.

Next, caulk all the drafty windows.  Replace old single-pane windows with thicker versions.  Insulate attics and walls.

Wash your windows with a mixture of two cups white distilled vinegar and a half cup water.  Pour ingredients into a spray bottle and spray.  Wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.

Remove screens and replace damaged screens.  Clean your screens with castile soap and warm water.  Store screens in a big trash bag so they stay clean throughout the winter.

Inspect your chimney and flue at least once a year to minimize the threat of chimney fires.  If possible, purchase a chimney cap to keep the moisture out and to prevent water from leaking into your home.  (Last year the chimney cap blew off of the chimney and we had water flowing all the way into the basement!)

Check gutters and downspouts and make sure they are flowing freely.  Sometimes falling leaves (or in my case, handballs from my children) can block the gutters and prevent the water from flowing properly.  Clogs can sometimes cause rainwater to run down the foundation walls of your home and get under the roofing.

Look for cracks in the foundation of your home and seal them to prevent moisture buildup.  While you’re at it, prevent your decks and fences from rotting by sealing them too.

The roof takes a beating in cold weather, so repair leaks and replace loose shingles on the roof.

Insulate pipes, especially the ones that are located in unheated areas.  In case of a pipe leak, make sure you know where your water shut-off valves are.

Trim all tree branches that are close to your home and driveway to prevent damage to your home and car.

Install a programmable thermostat.  Did you know that you can save up to one percent on your energy bill for every degree your thermostat is adjusted? Believe it or not, programmable thermostats can reduce your energy bills by about $100 a year.

In the home, repair leaky faucets and toilets.  Leaks can add up to twenty gallons of water per person per day!  If possible, purchase low-flush toilets which use about 1.6 gallons of water per flush, and low-flush showerheads which use about 36 percent less water.

Preparing your home for cool weather helps protect your home and your family for the upcoming winter season.  If you feel more comfortable hiring a professional, certified home inspectors will check all areas of your home and give you a report of the condition of your home.