Fall is a busy time of year for many households. It’s also an important time for household maintenance because the temperature will drop very soon. The following is a list of easy to-dos you can get done this weekend. It will help you save on your utility bills, save time, and help prepare your home for the cold.
- Inspect the Attic
If you haven’t checked on the attic in a long time, do it now. The insulation in your attic is responsible for maintaining a comfortable temperature indoors. If it is dirty, moldy, damaged, or too old, it will not work properly this fall and you will waste money heating the house. Attic insulation wears with time and becomes less efficient. If you need help, contact an attic insulation company near you.
Animal break-ins are also common in late summer and fall. Check your insulation for signs of burrowing and animal activity. Check for feces, leaves, and other debris from outside. Squirrels and raccoons are notorious for denning in attics. Call a licensed professional for humane removal.
- Clean out the Gutters
Gutters let water flow away from the house, which helps prevent flooding. With time, they get clogged with leaves, dirt, and debris. Depending on the trees in your neighborhood, your gutters should be cleaned once or twice a year.
Clean them out with a scoop and run a hose through the gutters when you are done to check for obstructions in the downspouts. For bonus protection, add gutter guards or downspout guards from the hardware store to keep leaves from blocking the spouts.
- Fix Drafty Windows
Drafty windows reduce the home’s energy efficiency because they let the warm air out. Help keep your home cozy this fall by getting rid of these drafts. Hold a lit candle near your windows. If the flame flickers, there is a draft.
Check your window frames for cracks and seal them with silicone caulking. Examine them from inside and outside the house. If there are no cracks, add some locks to your windows and weatherstripping to ensure that they are properly sealed. Windows that produce a lot of condensation may need to be replaced entirely. Add some heavy drapes to increase insulation.
My favorite thing to do for winterizing my windows is to cover them in plastic. I do two layers. One inside the frame and one that goes around the frame onto the wall. This will block 100% of drafts while helping to block any drafts. The air gap will create insulation in the same way as a double pane window does.
- Pest-Proof the Home
Pest problems are common in the fall because animals want to escape the cold. Keep them out by sealing every known entry point. Fix cracks in the foundation with epoxy and look under your deck for holes in the wall.
You can stuff gaps with steel mesh or expanding foam. Close off the sides of the deck with wood or mesh to keep skunks and raccoons out. Replace broken window screens and put weatherstripping on the bottoms of your doors.
- Tidy up the Yard
Soon, it will get too cold to do any maintenance in the backyard. Mow the lawn, get rid of weeds, and trim back your hedges and vines. If there are tree branches hanging over your roof, trim them back to avoid the risk of them falling.
Move leaves and debris away from the walls of the home to keep pests away. Rake the leaves in the fall and use them for compost or bag them up for collection. Protect your patio furniture with waterproof covers and put cushions away.
- Deep Clean the Kitchen
Fall is a busy season, so clean up the kitchen now and get organized. Deep clean behind your appliances and clean the inside of the oven. Get rid of all your expired food and wipe down the inside of the fridge. Clean up the pantry and take note of what you have in store.
Put loose items like beans, lentils, flour, and rice in sealed containers. This will reduce the odors of food in your house and help keep pests at bay.
- Change the HVAC Filter
Filters get dusty and block the flow of air, forcing your HVAC to work harder than it needs to. Replace the filter with a new one or, if you can, clean it and put it back. Your home’s energy efficiency will increase, and you will save money. While you’re at it, empty out the dryer duct and dust the other fans and filters in your home.