How To Get Your Home Ready For Fall
Performing a roof inspection on your home before the fall and winter weather hits is a great way to avoid roof related disasters come colder weather. Climbing on top of your roof is the best way to perform a thorough inspection. However, if you are not able to climb atop your roof safely, you can also inspect your roof from the ground with a pair of binoculars. When inspecting your roof from either the rooftop or the ground, you should look for missing, damaged or loose shingles, damage to metal flashing in the valleys of your roof and damage around vents and your chimney. Additionally, take a look in your gutters for any loose shingle granules. If you have a large accumulation of these granules in your gutter, this can be a sign that your roof is losing its coating and roof related troubles are on the horizon.
2. Inspect Your Home’s Siding
Take a walk around your home to look for any cracks or holes in the siding. If you are able, you can repair any damages yourself or hire a professional to get the job done for you.
3. Clean Your Gutters
The gutters and rainwater downspouts on your home serve the important purpose of redirecting thousands of gallons of water away from the outside of your house every year. Gutters that become clogged can lead to damage on your home’s exterior and are more likely to rust and corrode. It is important to keep your gutters flowing and unobstructed from leaves, nests and any other debris. Rainwater downspouts should be directed away from foundations, driveways and sidewalks. Once they have been cleaned, cover your gutters with mesh guards to prevent any further debris build up.
4. Inspect The Trees On Your Property
Check any trees for damaged limbs or for limbs that are too close to power lines and the roof of your home.
5. Plant Bulbs
If you maintain a garden or are an avid gardener, make sure to plant bulbs for next year’s spring season. Spring blooming plants need to remain dormant over the fall and winter months in order to healthily emerge in the spring time. If you do not currently garden and would like to plant bulbs so that you have a stunning garden or yard display come spring, you can plant daffodil, allium, buttercup, crocus, Dutch iris, freesia, spider lily’s, iris, tulips and more.
6. Remove Fallen Leaves From Your Yard
Late summer is a great time to give your yard a fresh start when it comes to clearing out fallen leaves. Rake any foliage that has gathered in your yard and put it into yard trash bags. You can also put these leaves into a compost pile.
7. Fertilize Your Lawn
Applying fertilizer to your yard as autumn approaches will help to cut down on damage to your lawn in the colder months and will curb the growth of weeds when spring time comes.
8. Put Away Any Seasonal Outdoor Furniture
If you do not plan on using your outdoor furniture during the chilly fall and winter months, clean and store your furniture until the weather begins to turn more favorable for time spent outdoors.
9. Check Your Chimney and Fireplace
Chimney inspections should usually be left to the professionals. There are a few signs that your chimney sweep should look for when inspecting your chimney before fall. First, your chimney inspection professional should inspect the chimney flue for creosote. Creosote is a highly flammable dark brown or black tar that builds up in your chimney as a result of burning wood. If creosote accumulates in your chimney, it can cause a dangerous house fire. Next, your chimney should be checked for any flue blockages. These blockages can come in the form of birds nests or fallen autumn leaves. Your chimney sweep can also inspect your chimney for any damages, including a damaged flue cap if your chimney has one and any loose or broken bricks. Once your flue is inspected and any blockages are cleared, invest in a chimney cap to ensure that your chimney flue stays clear during the fall and winter months. One chimney function that you can check on your own is the damper. The damper is a metal plate that serves to open and close the chimney flue and is located directly above the fireplace. Move the damper to the open and closed positions a few times to make sure that it is functioning properly. Lastly, stock up on enough firewood to last you the duration of the fall and winter seasons. For safety reasons, it is best to store your firewood in a location away from your house.
According to the United States Department of Energy, any gaps or leaks in your caulking and weather stripping during the winter months can account for ten percent of your heating bill. One way to test for any air leaks around your home is to use a lighted candle. If the flame of the candle flickers when you near your doors and window frames, chances are that you have a draft. Weather stripping is usually the most inexpensive solution to high heating bills in the winter. However, weather stripping does tend to deteriorate over time, so it is important to check the weather stripping in your home to ensure that it is still functioning correctly. It can also be helpful to check your home for any damaged or absent caulk around windows, doors or other entry points, including electrical, phone, gas and cable. If you find any gaps, seal them with new caulk.
2. Prepare Your Air Conditioning
Even in Texas, it is rare that we will use our air conditioning during the winter months. If your house has central air conditioning like most Texan homes, consider covering your outdoor unit. If you use air conditioning window units, remove them and close your windows tightly to block air leaks.
3. Have Your Furnace Inspected
Ensuring that your home furnace is functioning properly is essential when preparing for the cooler fall and winter months. You can hire an HVAC technician to check your home furnace for leaks and heating efficiency and to change the filter if necessary. If your furnace filter is clogged, it can be harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature when it is cold outside which in turn can affect your utility bills. A monthly cleaning or filter change can help to keep your furnace filter clean and free of debris so that it functions optimally.
There are a few warning signs that mean it is time to have your furnace inspected. The first sign is a noisy belt. If you hear screeching sounds or whines from your furnace, this is an indication that the belts connected to the blower motor are degraded or damaged. Another indicator that you need to have your furnace checked is poor performance. If your heating system is not working as well as it usually does, this could be a sign that your heating ducts are blocks or that other areas of your furnace are impaired. Erratic behavior from your furnace is yet another sign that it is time to have the furnace inspected. Any unusual activity from you furnace could be caused by a broken thermostat. Your HVAC technician should be able to identify any of these issues.
3. Invest In A Programmable Thermostat
If you do not already use a programmable thermostat in your home, now is a good time to invest in one. If you already use a programmable thermostat, you should check the temperature settings. By setting the thermostat to a lower temperature at night or during the day when you and your family are not home is one way to lower your energy bill throughout the fall and winter months.
4. Check Your Safety Equipment And Emergency Plans
While you are preparing your home for the coming fall weather, you should inspect your safety equipment and review your emergency plans. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure that they are working properly. You can do this by replacing the batteries in each device and then vacuuming them with a brush attachment. To test that these devices are working, either press the test button or hold a blown out candle near your smoke detector. Another piece of safety equipment that needs to be checked are your fire extinguishers. If you do not have a fire extinguisher in your home, it is a good idea to invest in at least one. Your fire extinguisher should be rated for any type of fire. You can make sure of this by checking that your extinguisher has an A-B-C rating on its label. Check the indicator on you fire extinguisher’s pressure gauge to ensure that it is charged and ready for action in case of an emergency. Make sure that the lock pin is secure and check the discharge nozzle for any clogs or damage. If you find any severe dents, scratches or corrosion on your fire extinguisher, it could be time for a replacement. Even if your fire extinguisher seems to be in good condition but is more than six years old, it should be replaced. Make sure to write the date of purchase on your new fire extinguisher for later reference.
You and your family should also review your fire escape plans as part of your fall season preparation. Each bedroom in your home, including the basement if you have one, should have at least two exit paths. Ensure that all windows are not obstructed by furniture or any other items. If your home is two stories, you should place a rope ladder near all windows in each upstairs bedroom. Go over your fire escape plans with your family and establish a location away from your home where all of your family members can safely meet in case of an emergency.
5. Perform General Clean Up Around Your Home and Yard
Go through each room in your home and garage and get rid of any discardable items like old newspapers or expired hazardous household chemicals. Make sure to ask your state or local Environmental Protection Agency about the correct way to throw away dangerous chemical products. Store any flammable products or poisonous chemicals in approved and labeled containers. Clear the spaces around any heaters, furnaces or other appliances that produce heat.
6. Clean Your Humidifier
Vinegar is one inexpensive and easy way to clean your humidifier. To clean your humidifier with vinegar, simply fill the humidifier’s water tank with one cup of vinegar and a gallon of water and plug it in outdoors to let it run for one hour. After an hour has passed, pour out the remaining liquid that is in the tank, rinse and fill the tank with clean water and run it for one more hour. You should then replace any old filters and wipe down the outside of the humidifier. While dry fall and winter air can be bad for your health and skin, it can also be bad for the wood in your home. Keep your humidifier in check to ensure that you and your home stay comfortable and safe throughout the colder months.
7. Prepare Your Garage
As the colder weather approaches, there are steps you can take to get your garage ready. First, test your emergency generator if you have one. This is useful if you face any power outages during the fall or winter months. Next, buy an additional supply of gasoline to ensure that you are ready for any emergencies. Make sure to store your gasoline away from any heat sources and out of your children's’ reach. Lastly, clean and organize your garage.
All of us at Natran Green Pest Control hope that this guide will help to make your home fall preparation a breeze!