The cooler months are upon us and it’s time to get our homes tidied up for fall. When thinking about fall prep, most people only consider chores that need to be done outdoors. However, on top of raking the leaves and filling up the snow blower, there are several tasks that need to be completed inside your home. We have a list of five undertakings that need some attention before the cold weather sets in.
Wash and Seal Windows
Now is the time to get your windows cleaned up before they turn to ice—it’s probably the last chance you'll get until the snow melts next spring. Once your windows are sparkling, you’ll want to make sure you remove all of your screens. During the winter, snow can collect between the windows and screens and cause damage to both. Once they're removed, the screens need to be cleaned and stored away. They collect dust over time and will need a regular cleaning each year; before the snow is a great time to do it, although it can be done anytime throughout the year. Last of all, once you’ve stored away your screens for the winter, you’ll want to seal each of your windows. Due to the amount of snow and rain that will accumulate, floods are imminent and you will be doing yourself a huge favor by making sure those windows are sealed shut so those flooding waters don’t fill up your home.
Change the Air Filter
No doubt, you’ve been using your air conditioner regularly to survive those sizzling summer months. During that time, your air filter has piled up with dust that results in poor air quality and will limit the performance of your HVAC. Just so we're clear, your air filter should be cleaned whenever it's dirty, especially if you have pets. But it’s especially important to check them after each winter and summer season. Normally, you would change the air filter on your furnace once winter is over, but this is a good time to double-check it and make sure it doesn’t need to be changed now before it gets put back into commission for the season.
Drain Hot Water Heater
There is some speculation over whether draining your hot water heater is necessary, but in our opinion, it's a step worth taking. Over time, your hot water heater can accumulate sand or dirt at the bottom, preventing it from draining properly. While this is not dangerous, it can create problems with the efficiency of your hot water heater and lower the quality of your water. To prevent this problem from happening, it's necessary to drain your water heater on a regular basis. You can hire a professional or look up a tutorial online—it's pretty straightforward. Note that the process will vary on whether you have an electric or gas water heater.
Reverse the Ceiling Fan
Fans are meant to cool us down, which is probably why they’ve been running non-stop this past summer. You’re probably thinking that since it's getting cooler outside, you won’t be needing those fans anymore. But the truth is, those fans can help your furnace heat your home even quicker than normal. It’s true! When your fans were installed in your house, they were most likely set to cool the house. That means they are rotating in the direction to cause a “wind chill” effect, making the room feel cooler. In the winter time, reversing the fan’s direction so that it is running clockwise at a low speed will bring the warm air that has risen down lower into the room, making the space feel warmer. This can save you from running your furnace as high and as long as you normally do, helping you hoard some extra money this winter.
Home Safety Checklist
Since you'll be spending the majority of your time indoors in the coming months, now is the perfect opportunity to check your home for any irregularities. Find a home safety checklist online that goes room by room to make sure everything there is in working order.
Generally, this list will have you check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to guarantee that, should anything happen in the coming months, your alarms will alert you to safety. You'll also be checking electrical cords and outlets to eliminate any fire hazards, as well as ensuring candles are in a safe location to promote fire safety. There are many other items to check off— just make sure you locate a thorough checklist.
Ensuring your home is ready for the cold weather may require time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end. So as this gorgeous autumn weather falls upon us (no pun intended), don’t forget that alongside of your outdoor chores, there are a few indoor tasks that need completion to confirm all is in working order. We know your family wants to enjoy this time of year rather than worry, and with a little bit of prep this fall we can guarantee your minds will be at ease as you enjoy the falling leaves.