The beginning of each season brings its own set of chores and projects that need to be done. Just as spring is known for cleaning, there are a few things to do each fall to keep your house running smoothly and looking good. The best part is these few fast fall fixes won't break the bank or take up your day.
1. Check for Leaks
Air leaks are a huge energy waster once you start turning the furnace on. So if you want to keep the heat in and your bills down, you should spend some time inspecting the seals and caulking around your house this fall.
Simply go around your windows and doors to inspect them. If needed, add or replace the weather stripping around your exterior doors, and fix the caulking and seals around windows. Once that's done, you can check for leaks around outlets and switches as well as floor registers, which can leak old air from the basement.
2. Touch up Paint
Before winter comes, fall is the perfect time to touch up any outdoor trim, railings, and window sills that have paint starting to peel. If you don't have a lot of time, stick to touching up the spots that are more likely to peel such as the ends of boards and around nail heads and corners. If you do have the time, now would be a good time to apply a coat of fresh paint to all of the trim, railings, and window sills.
3. Prep Your Lawn
Winter can wreak havoc on your lawn, making your spring gardening a lot more difficult than it needs to be. To help your garden grow next year, make sure you prep your lawn this fall.
There are a few different things you can do to get your yard ready for winter. First of all, you'll want to make sure you rake the leaves regularly to avoid suffocating your garden beds and grass. You might want to aerate in the fall as well, which also helps your lawn from suffocating. Finally, adding fertilizer to your lawn and gardens will help your plants survive the winter and stay properly nourished.
4. Drain and Store Hoses
Garden hoses aren't cheap, so if you want your hose to last year after year, it's important that you drain it and store it each fall.
To drain and store it properly, make sure you turn off the outside water spigot first. After you disconnect your garden hose from the outside water spigot, remove any kinks that might be in your hose, drain it, and then depress any remaining water that's still inside. Next you will want to wind the garden hose into a circular shape and hang it somewhere safe like a garage or shed.
5. Clean Gutters
Another fast fix you should complete this fall is a simple one, but one many people forget to do. The gutters around your house should be cleaned before winter comes. A lot of water travels through your gutters, especially in the winter as snow falls and melts, but if it can't travel smoothly it could flow into your house instead of away from it. Therefore, it's a good idea to clear away any debris and leaves that could cause blockages. You could also install mesh guards for even more protection.
6. Update Exterior Lights
Come fall, the sun will begin setting sooner and rising later. Since it's going to be darker for longer, it's a good idea to update your exterior lights. This could simply mean changing the light bulbs to something brighter and more energy-efficient, changing the entire fixture, or even adding an entirely new one. Having sensor lights installed is also a good idea come fall and winter, so you don't have to walk up to a pitch black doorway.
7. Wash Carpets
During the summer months a lot of dust, dirt, and grime makes its way inside from dirty feet, outdoor play, and lawn work. Despite our best efforts, it's impossible to keep the floors clean, especially when it comes to carpets that often harbor dirt and musty odors.
So if you do have carpets, fall is the best time to give them a deep wall-to-wall cleaning because most days are still warm enough to open the windows to let the carpets dry. If you don't have a carpet cleaner of your own, there are often a lot of places that have them available to rent for as little as $30 a day.
8. Clean the Vent Hood
Finally, each fall you should clean your vent hood. A vent hood, or an exhaust hood, is the mechanical fan device that hangs above your stove or cooktop in the kitchen. It's there to remove grease, fumes, smokes, odors, heat, and steam from the air by evacuating and filtering it. However, the amount of grease and dirt that builds up throughout the year needs to be cleaned or it could clog.
To clean your vent hood, you should wipe the outside of it with a soft cloth dipped in hot, soapy water. Then remove the filters and place them in hot water with dish soap and soak for five to 10 minutes. Next, use a nylon brush to scrub it clean. Rinse it with hot water, let it dry, and then put it back.