Fall is one of the best times to make home improvements. The weather has cooled but it isn’t cold yet. There is still some light in the evenings. And, perhaps most importantly, winter weather is on its way. Taking care of the small things now can prevent big problems in the future.
The gutters. This is one of the most important things you can do. Clogged gutters are much more than just an annoyance. According to House Beautiful, thousands of gallons of water from your roof drain through the gutters each year. If they are blocked, all that water will either flow past your gutters, damaging your exterior, or leak inside, leading to interior flooding. If necessary, consider hiring a professional gutter cleaner.
Drafts. Drafts not only let in the cold, they also cost money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a quarter to a third of all home heating and energy use is due to drafts in windows. One way to find drafts is to light an incense stick over a suspected area. If the flame or smoke is pulled in or pushed out, that’s a sign of a draft. For doors, put a sheet of paper on the floor and close the door. If the paper doesn’t get caught in the door, it’s not fully sealed.
Outdoor faucets. As the weather starts to turn, making sure outdoor faucets and hoses are fully turned off is vital. If you have shut-off valves inside, turn those off first, let the outside hose or pipe drain, and then switch off the exterior faucet or valve, according to House Beautiful.
The furnace. Deal with your furnace now before you really need it. Better Homes and Gardens recommends doing a “furnace physical” to check for noisy belts, poor performance, and “erratic behavior.” Poor performance could be due to a blocked ducts or something more serious, like a blower motor that is about to go. Erratic or unpredictable behavior could stem from a thermostat that isn’t working.
The fireplace. Likewise, don’t wait until you need it to clean the fireplace. Your pre-winter checklist should include cleaning it out, checking the flue, and making sure the doors and shields are working properly, according to Zillow. The flue is particularly important: visually inspect it for signs of any creosote buildup, which can cause fires, and anything that might be blocking it on top, such as a bird’s nest, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Now is also the perfect time to load up on firewood.
New England winters, as we well know, can be brutal. To adopt the old saying, an ounce of prevention in the fall, can prevent a pound of cure in the winter. Plus, the cool fall weather is perfect for tackling home improvements.