By Sue Torbik
Summer’s over, the kids are back in school, football games have started and the days and nights are starting to get cooler. There are quite a few things you can do to be sure your home is ready for the coming seasons. And none of them include raking leaves, although that’s a good idea too! Here are some ideas to get you started:
Outside Your House
- Once you’ve washed your car and watered your garden for the last time this year, drain your hose lines and turn off the water to outside valves. Remove the hose from the water valve and store it in a garage or shed. All of these actions will help prevent burst pipes over the winter.
- Winterize your garden. Be sure all of your plants are trimmed back, and bring in or cover any furniture in your yard. Also cover your air-conditioning condenser unit and grill.
- Late in the fall, clean out your gutters. It’s essential that your gutters be leaf—and debris—free to allow water to flow during the fall, winter and spring. Once you’ve cleaned the gutters out, consider purchasing gutter guards at your home improvement store. They’re easy to install and will make the gutter cleaning much easier next year.
Keep The Cold Out And The Heat In
- Check the weather stripping around doors and replace any stripping that has become worn.
- Does your house always seem drafty in the wintertime? If you haven’t already done so, replace your old windows with new, energy efficient ones. If new windows just aren’t in your budget, you can buy window insulation kits at your home improvement store to seal leaks around your windows and sliding glass doors. Get started now sealing up those drafts! You can save the insulation film when you take it down in the spring; store it away and re-use it next year if you still haven’t replaced the windows. If you had to cut any of the film, mark on the box which window it fits to save time next year.
And After You’ve Finished With Those Tasks…
- Depending on what kind of system you have and when it was last serviced it may be time to have your heating system checked out. You don’t want to wait until your heating system goes out on the coldest day of the winter to have it looked at! Consult your owner’s manual for servicing instructions.
- Change your furnace filter. You should actually do this every three months throughout the spring, summer and fall, but change the filter monthly during the winter.
- If you have an indoor wood-burning fireplace that you haven’t had cleaned in the last two to three years, it’s probably time to clean it or hire a chimney-sweep. Although wood-burning fireplaces require the most maintenance, electric and gas fireplaces also require some annual attention. Follow the instructions that came with your fireplace.
- Get out your vacuum and aim its hose attachment at air registers to clean out any dust or dirt that may have accumulated. While you have the hose attached, dust ceiling fan blades and bathroom fans. Continuing your DustQuest, roll the vacuum over to your dryer and clean out the vent. For bonus points, check your refrigerator’s owner’s manual for instructions on vacuuming the refrigerator coils; clean those out, too.
After you’ve finished all of these tasks you’ll have earned the right to prop up your feet and take a rest on the couch. Maybe your favorite sports team will be playing!