Hello World! Welcome Friends! It has been said autumn is nature’s way of giving us one last treat before the vagaries of winter set in. Fall’s colorful leaves and mild temperatures do make for a delightful mix. However, the end of summer also means it’s time to batten down the hatches and get ready for severe weather.
Here’s how to prepare your home and yard for autumn (and beyond).
Aerate/Reseed Your Lawn
It might seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it. At the end of the summer growing season, after plants have thrived during the warm weather, they typically go to seed. Those seeds lie dormant during winter months and sprout in the spring. Thus, autumn is the time to reseed the underperforming areas of your lawn so it can green up evenly after the spring thaw. This is also the time to plant tulips, daffodils and other bulbs.
Another nice little reward nature gives us in the fall is the leaves we typically rake up and discard. Keep them and use them to create compost as fertilizer for subsequent growing seasons. While you’re at it, aerate your lawn so nutrients can seep in more effectively during winter.
Clear/Inspect Your Roof, Gutters and Chimney
On the other hand, those leaves tend to clog gutters and accumulate on the roof. If your winters are extremely rainy, this could lead to water damage, as your gutters will flow inefficiently. Further, leaf accumulations on a roof can trap moisture, which can cause damage over an extended period.
Look for loose shingles, soft spots or other maladies capable of compromising the protection your roof affords your home while you’re up there. Repair any problems you find right away. This is also the time to inspect the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys. Heavy rains, snow and ice will use those openings to gain entrance to your home.
Speaking of which, this is also the time to seal any openings to your attic or basement rodents can access. They’re looking for warm places to winter and will gladly share your home if you grant them admittance.
Finally, while you’re on the roof, give the exterior structure of your chimney a going over to make sure it’s intact and the spark arrestor is in place and capable of functioning properly.
Check Windows and Doors for Air Tightness
Even the smallest gaps around portals can contribute mightily to exorbitant home energy costs. Plus, they can make your house drafty. Check all of your exterior door/window frames and sills for gaps through which “Old Man Winter” can whistle. Weather strip and/or caulk any openings you find and repeat the process inside your home.
While you’re scanning the exterior, pay attention to the places where pipes and wiring enter to be sure there are no gaps as well. This is also a good time to look for cracks in the foundation. Frozen water can get into them and expand, which will exacerbate any damage.
This is also a good time to compare homeowners insurance quotes to make sure you’re getting the best coverage for your money, and that you’re well covered in the event of a cold-weather accident.
Empty/Insulate Water Pipes
A careful inspection could save you the cost of replacing a burst pipe when water inside it freezes and expands beyond the pipe’s capacity to contain it. You’ll also want to drain all of your exterior faucets to empty those altogether. If you have essential water pipes running along exterior walls, wrap them so they can fight off the cold months ahead. Garden hoses should be drained and put away for the season, too.
These surfaces have just gone through extended cycles of heating and cooling, which can lead to cracks from expanding every day and contracting each evening. As we mentioned above, ice can make cracks bigger. Sealing your walks, driveway and decks going into the fall will protect them from precipitation during the winter.
Check the Furnace/Change Filters
It’s about to be prime time for your heating system, so you’ll want to give it a good going over before you need it up and running. Ditto your fireplace and chimney. Make sure heating ducts are clean and free of debris that could ignite. Change your furnace filters so air can flow at peak efficiency and make sure your chimney is clear of heavy soot accumulations to prevent chimney fires.
This is also the time to ensure your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are ready for cold weather. You’ll be using the fireplace and burning candles, so make sure these warning systems are functioning properly and your fire extinguisher is fully charged.
Yes, this is a lot, but if you start in October and do something each weekend, you’ll prepare your home and yard for autumn and be ready when the really cold weather kicks in.
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