Fall is the season of change, from the color of leaves to daylight hours to temperature. During this time, your homes face the effects of drastic fluctuations in weather as summer slowly fades away. Before snow creeps its way into the forecast, take the time to prepare your home in advance for colder days ahead.
Foliage is beautiful, but those fallen leaves can be pesky. Take time to unclog gutters and downspouts to ensure snowmelt efficiently drains off of your home without causing damage to its exterior. While you’re at it, have a professional address any leaks in the roof now before wetter weather identifies them for you.
Don’t forget to drain outdoor hoses and faucets and shut them off from the inside to prevent them from freezing, breaking or bursting before the temperature drops to far below zero.
Get the HVAC system in order
Don’t wait until the first frost to test out your heating system. Schedule a maintenance appointment with an HVAC professional this fall to guarantee you can be toasty at a moment’s notice, they can also do a carbon monoxide check to ensure air safety. Do a check-up on the filtration system while you’re at it – experts suggest replacing the filter in your heating system every two to three months to prevent buildup.
Don’t forget your humidifier, winters on the prairies can be dry ensure you have changed the filter and ensured the humidistat is set for the desired amount of humidity.
Put your Air conditioning unit to rest for the season and do not forget to place the cover on it.
Invest in outdoor furniture covers
Once days grow cold, using patio furniture will be on pause until spring. To keep furniture in good condition – and to preserve your grill – look for heavy-duty, waterproof covers. Purchasing these for preservation can help prevent having to replace items down the road, potentially saving you big bucks.
Autumn also marks the time to store away other lawn ornaments, like ceramic flowerpots, to prevent cracking.
Fix driveway cracks
Existing cracks in pavement will only expand and even crumble when water – or snow – seeps in. Concrete sealer is readily available at hardware stores and can ultimately save you from needing to repave the whole driveway once those frost heaves start creeping up.
Stock up on snow supplies
Ensure to have a snow shovel and sand or snow melter for the driveway or sidewalks and a sturdy scraper for the car windshield. For those without a garage or covered parking, check out windshield covers that line the windshield end-to-end preventing snow and ice buildup and get that extra-long extension cord out for nights when you need to plug your vehicle in.
Clean your fireplace
Deep clean the base of your wood-burning fireplace before it gets to work this coming winter. Schedule an appointment with a chimney sweeper to ensure all apparatus – including the flue – are safe and functioning accordingly.
Assess your home, especially windows and doors, for drafts, heat loss through windows can be responsible for 25-30 percent of heating energy use. With weather-stripping, film wrap, physical blockers and other DIY methods, you can prevent the cold draftiness that often results from having older windows. While keeping you more comfortable, doing so can also help save money on heating costs.
A lesser-known tip for controlling airflow within the home is to reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. In the summer months, the ceiling fan should spin counterclockwise pushing down cold air. In the fall, reverse its direction using the button on the fan’s base to counterclockwise, which will pull cold air up and keep the lower half of the room warm.
Fertilize your lawn
You know what they say: The best offence is a good defence. If you want to keep your lawn looking great in the spring and summer, you need to prep it for the fall and winter. Roots are still active when the grass isn't growing, so applying fertilizer will prevent winter damage. Doing this will also help your lawn turn green faster in the spring.
Just as with your lawnmower in the Spring ensure your snowblower is accessible, tuned up and ready to battle the impending snow.
Change your batteries
Once a year you should be checking to make sure all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices are working. Since you're already testing everything else out, you might as well add this on.
Don't forget the Garage
Service summer power equipment. Empty fuel and clean lawnmower and trimmer. Have lawnmower blades sharpened and oil changed. Have any necessary repairs done now, so that you’re ready come Spring.
Store summer vehicles. If you have a motorcycle, summer car, ATV or other type of seasonal vehicle, now’s a good time to have that serviced as well.
Ensure the garage is organized and ready to keep your vehicle protected on those snowy winter days and nights.