Although the weather is still warm throughout most of the country, things like Halloween decorations, costumes, and candy are already on display in grocery stores and supermarkets, and that can only mean one thing—fall is right around the corner (pumpkin everything is coming). The days are already getting shorter, and it won’t be long until there’s a slight chill in the air and football takes over the nation’s televisions on Saturdays and Sundays.
And while the seasonal transition from summer to fall may seem like it doesn’t require much more than packing away your flip-flops, shorts, and beach gear, truly optimizing your home and your life for the fall season can require a bit of planning and preparation. To save you some time and make the process as easy as possible, Blindster prepared this list of the top tasks to complete before the autumn equinox arrives on Sept. 23.
Check and clean your gutters
Although rainfall may be heavy in the summer depending on where you live, your gutters are unlikely to experience any major issues due to the overall lack of debris from nearby trees. But as fall approaches, it’s vital to clear out any potential blockages and make them as clean as possible before the autumn rains begin and the water mixes with falling leaves, sticks, pine cones, and other objects that can cause them to clog, leak, or even break.
Seal cracked pavement and asphalt
Small cracks lining your driveway, sidewalk, deck, or patio aren’t a major issue when the weather is nice and balmy outside, but as soon as it dips towards freezing, those cracks can grow and expand seemingly overnight. Walk the length of your outdoor area and check for any small or moderate-sized cracks and fill them in as soon as possible. A complete late-summer seal of your hard outdoor surfaces significantly reduces the chances of them becoming damaged during the fall or winter months.
Get your HVAC inspected
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—or, in the case of your HVAC unit, thousands of dollars in repairs. Even if your HVAC unit made it through the summer months with nary a hiccup, that doesn’t mean it’s going to handle winter weather with the same ease. Before you crank up the heat for the first time this fall or winter, schedule a quick inspection by a certified and experienced HVAC repair service. Allow the inspector to test the unit for any signs that the unit may be in danger of failing or for any components that need to be repaired or replaced.
Check and replace your window coverings
The fall and winter months are a great time to save money on your energy bill by letting the sun’s rays heat and light your home—and that’s best accomplished by installing the correct type of blinds or shades. Consider installing versatile shades like top-down/bottom-up varieties on windows where you need a mixture of natural light and privacy throughout the day, and install roller, blackout, or roman shades on windows where you need extra insulation from the cold air outside.
Schedule a plumbing and pipe inspection
In addition to protecting your gutters, HVAC, and paved areas, it’s also important to make sure your plumbing and pipes are ready for a potentially harsh fall and winter. Schedule an inspection to make sure none of them are in danger of suffering major damage if your region experiences frequent cold autumn or winter weather—particularly temperatures that drop well below freezing. Damaged pipes can burst during cold weather, which not only leaves you without water, but it can also force you to shell out thousands of dollars for repairs.
Get your closets and clothing ready for colder weather
During the spring and summer, your family’s coats, hoodies, long-sleeve shirts, and sweatshirts tend to get buried, pushed around, or even misplaced in your closets, dressers, and chests. Take the time to securely pack away your beach gear and summer clothing and restock your closets with cold weather clothing. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the pockets of any pairs of pants or jackets from last winter—you may find a nice surprise in the form of some cold hard cash that was left behind months ago.
Buy a humidifier to prevent and treat dry skin and sore throats
Turning up the heat on your thermostat means more dry air to circulate through your home—and that dry air can cause flaky skin, dry eyes, sore throats, and even nose bleeds. If specific rooms in your home are especially dry or certain people in your family suffer from dry air symptoms, consider purchasing humidifiers and placing them in problem areas and specific bedrooms throughout your home. Humidifiers can make a big difference in the moisture content in the air by significantly increasing overall humidity to more comfortable levels, making air easier to breathe and reducing unpleasant dry air side effects.
Inspect and repair any problem areas on your roof
Much like your gutters and HVAC unit, your roof may have stood up to the summer heat admirably, but fall and winter weather is a different test entirely. The stretch from October to February can be brutal on your roof, as it may be subjected to everything from falling limbs and torrential downpours to heavy snowfall and freezing rain. Take the time to inspect your roof before fall arrives, and if you’re unsure of what to look for, hire a professional to do it for you. A quick repair during the late summer months may not be easy on your wallet, but it’s well worth the initial cost to avoid the possibility of a full roof failure during the winter months.
Reseal your windows and weatherproof your doors
The easiest route for cold air to get into your home is through small cracks in your windows and around your doors. That’s why it’s vital to take the time before fall arrives to reseal and re-caulk your windows. Blocking even small gaps in a single window make a big difference in sealing in warm air and keeping cold air out of your home. In addition, check any exterior doors in your home. If there are any large gaps between the floor and the bottom of the door, purchase a weather strip to help create a more air-tight seal.