It’s fall and in some areas of the country buses are going to be filled with people on sightseeing trips to see the leaves changing colors. Other homes will be filled with the aroma of freshly baked apple and pumpkin pies. These are just some of the traditions that come as the seasons change.
Another tradition should be getting your house ready for the colder months to come. Here are eight of the most common things to think about when getting the outside and inside of your home ready for winter.
Outside Your House
- Get Your Mind in the Gutter – While leaves look great as they change color, once they fall, they require some management. Seeing leaves pile up in the yard is a constant reminder to get the rake and leaf bags out. This kind of obvious reminder doesn’t happen until it’s too late when it comes to the leaves that fall into your gutters. Leaves run the risk of clogging gutters, which can lead to water damage in the roof, the exterior of your home and maybe even your basement.
- Wait until late fall to clean the gutters. By then most of the leaves have fallen and one cleaning will get you set for the winter. While there are services that clean gutters, doing it yourself isn’t hard. You just have to be careful. Make sure you have a sturdy ladder that will extend at least three feet above the roof line. When positioning the ladder, stand with your toes at the ladder’s feet. If you can reach out and just touch the ladder steps with your fingertips the ladder is at the right angle. Once at gutter height just reach into the gutter and pull the leaves out, throwing them to the ground below. Don’t worry about putting them into a bag, you can do that later. While you are up there, you might want to think about installing gutter guards that ensure your gutters don’t fill up with leaves again next year. If you already have gutter guards, make sure you check them periodically. Storms can cause them to displace or become damaged allowing leaf build-up.
- Re-Mulch Your Perennials – Another light layer of mulch in the fall is a good idea. If you last mulched in the early spring some of the mulch may already be eroding away and you may have areas opening up for weeds to enter and moisture to dissipate. Additionally, this helps your garden look it’s best all winter long.
- Prepare Your Deck and Patio – If you’re like most people, you enjoyed a summer of sitting out on the deck or patio. Now it’s time to clean the patio furniture before you put it away for the winter. If you have clay or ceramic pots that are filled with dirt, empty the dirt, so it doesn’t freeze and crack the pots. Also check the patio or deck for cracks. If you find any, fix them before water gets in and freezes and causes more damage.
- Clean and Store Your Lawn and Garden Tools and Equipment – Make sure tools are dried and wiped free of dirt. Let the lawn mower run until the gas is used and then drain the oil to preserve the engine. Do the same with the leaf blowers and other gas-powered equipment. While you are at it, if you live in an area that gets snow, make sure the snowblower has gas and oil. Start it to make sure it is ready to go. You don’t want to have six inches of snow that needs to be moved and find out you have a problem.
Now that you have addressed the outside of the house, now it’s time to work on the inside.
Inside Your House
- Prepare Your Fireplace – The best way to do this is to call a chimney service. You need to have someone who knows what they are doing look up into the chimney to make sure there are no obstructions such as bird or squirrel’s nests or leaves that have built up. If there are, they need to be removed. Otherwise, you run the risk of a fire as the embers from your fire spark the material in the chimney which then lands, still on fire, on your roof.
- Make sure there is no left-over ash in the fireplace, that all the tools you need are in working order and that you have wood to start the season. For those with gas fireplaces, here are the steps to take:
- Make sure logs are intact and dust free. Clean if necessary
- Check the glass to ensure it isn’t cracked or lose. Clean as needed.
- Inspect the vents for blockage
- Start it to make sure the burner and ignitor are working properly.
- Turn off the gas
- Take a picture of the lava rock and logs so you can remember how to put them back together.
- Rinse the lava rock with water and let dry
- Remove the dust from the logs with compressed air.
- Use the compressed air to clean the burners.
- Put everything back together.
- Inspect Your Heating System – If you have a maintenance contract with your heating system this inspection is usually included in the price. Have an expert look over your furnace and hot water heating system. There might be fixes that need to be made to ensure you aren’t suddenly without heat.
- Paint Your House – It doesn’t have to cost to paint the interior of your home. This is an easy project many homeowners take on themselves and the fall is a good time to do it. The weather is usually cool enough to help prevent the paint from running, something it tends to do if it is very warm. At the same time, it is still warm enough for you to leave windows and doors open to allow for air flow and help with drying. Painting rooms like bedrooms helps seal old odors, prevents dirt and dust, and can even help with the room’s overall insulation.
- Seal Any Attic Leaks – Warm air rises so if your attic isn’t well sealed and insulated it will show up in your heating bills this winter. Check to see if the insulation is very old or has been compressed or damaged by water intrusion or invasive wildlife.
At EMM Loans we help homeowners, and potential homeowners, make sure they are in the best possible position when it comes to their house. If you need money to make repairs or if you are looking for a new home and could use some guidance, give us a call.