Fall is a busy and exciting time of year for many households. School is back in session, the views are beautiful, and there are holidays to prepare for.
Whether you are a new or experienced homeowner, here’s what you can do now to save you trouble this fall. You’ll save on your energy bills, you’ll keep pests out of the home, and you’ll be ready for guests.
1. Inspect the attic
The attic is a very important part of the house because it insulates the home from the exterior. If you can, take a look at your attic’s insulation to see if it is still in good shape. Look for signs of water damage, animal matter, or mold. The insulation should be fluffy and clean. If there is any damage, reach out to an attic insulation specialist for an inspection. Contact a wildlife removal company if you spot a squirrel nest or any sign of animal activity.
2. Store Pool and Patio Equipment
While you may have a few weeks of summer left, get what you need to winterize the yard. Get waterproof covers for patio furniture or secure some space in the garage to put them away. You should also get a pool cover and make sure you have the chemicals you need for one final deep clean. Like the patio furniture, make sure you have room to put away pool toys and make sure that you dry them thoroughly before storing them.
3. Catch up on your landscaping
By the end of summer, your plants may have gotten out of control. Trim back your hedges, vines, and bushes so they are ready for spring, next year. Mow the lawn, get rid of any lingering weeds, and bag everything up for collection. Trim back any trees that hang over the roof. If you have a landscaping project that you are still working on, get it done now before the temperature drops.
4. Pest-proof the house
Pest problems are common in the fall, when the temperature changes. If you want to avoid one this year, exclude your home now by sealing every possible entry point. Examine your foundation and seal every crack you find. Check underneath your deck, as well. You can fill holes, like the gaps surrounding your cable lines, with steel mesh or expanding foam.
Keep mice and insects from crawling into the walls by covering your weep vents and wall vents with mesh. Little weep vent covers can be found at the hardware store, along with mesh that you can cut and screw into the walls, over your vents. Check your window screens for holes and put weatherstripping on the bottoms of your doors. Make sure there are no cracks surrounding your window frames and door frames.
5. Change your HVAC filter
HVAC filters should be changed a few times a year because they get clogged with dust. Trapping dust helps purify the air in your home, but as the filter gets dirtier, your HVAC system has to work harder. The more your filters are clogged, the more your HVAC system has trouble pushing air out and into the home. Take out your filter and replace it to improve air quality and energy efficiency. Your furnace will thank you.
While you’re at it, when is the last time you cleaned out your dryer duct? Unplug your dryer, pull it away from the wall, then disconnect the duct from the back of the dryer. Remove all the lint with a brush, then vacuum out the duct. You can also remove lint from the vent outside.
6. Fix drafty windows
Drafts reduce your home’s energy efficiency by allowing air to flow in and out of the home. It wastes your heating and air conditioning, costing you more in energy bills. You can check for drafts by holding a lit candle a foot or two away from the window. If the candle’s flame flickers, there is a draft.
Look for cracks in your window frames and seal them with caulking or gap filler. Consider adding more locks to your windows, too, to prevent leaks. If you can, add weatherstripping to the bottoms of your windows to create a better seal. You can also add these to the bottoms of your doors and use door snakes to block drafts. Hang heavy drapes over your windows to increase insulation.
7. Deep clean the kitchen
Did you skip your spring cleaning this year? Deep cleaning is important for the maintenance of your home. It helps prolong your appliances and keeps things looking their best. It will also help deter pests, which are common in the fall. If you’re expecting a busy fall season, like many households, get some cleaning done now. It will save you time and stress later.
Empty out the pantry and your kitchen cabinets, then wipe them down to get rid of crumbs and grease. Throw out everything that has expired and organize your food. Store loose items, like spices and grains, in containers. Then, do the same thing with your refrigerator. Clean the inside of the oven, mop the floors, and clean the range hood thoroughly.
8. Unclog drains and descale shower heads
If you have the time this weekend, give your bathroom drains a little TLC. Drains get clogged with hair, grease, and other debris, making them drain slower and back up. To unclog them, first put on a pair of gloves and remove as much hair and debris as you can with your hands. Then, pour a cup of boiling water down the drain. Pour down about a cup of baking soda next, then add a cup of white vinegar. Let this sit for about 10 minutes, then pour down another cup of boiling water. Repeat until water flows smoothly down the drain. You can do the same thing for kitchen sinks.
You may have also noticed that your shower heads get clogged, too. This is due to the minerals in the water. Luckily, you can fix this by removing your shower heads and soaking them in a tub of white vinegar, overnight. If you cannot detach them, fill a plastic bag with vinegar and tie it to the shower head. Scrub these with a brush, the following day. Your shower heads will be as good as new.