It never seems to stay as long as we’d like. Although let’s look on the bright side; autumn has charms of its own. Fall carries the benefits of vibrant colors all around. You get to wear your sweaters and light jackets. There’s no more stifling heat, and that aroma of leaves on long walks in temperate weather is one of the treasures you only get at this time of year.
In some ways, Autumn is one of the most romantic seasons, with a kind of melancholic atmosphere of a glorious summer memories behind us. It’s a season of reflection. Well, maybe after the kids have gone back to school at least.
But Autumn has challenges as well as charms. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d scour the interwebs to see about a few pointers for preparing for cooler weather, and eventually for winter. And here they are; a list of ways to winterize your home before winter gets here, as well as to take care of some of the big autumn home maintenance jobs that make the best use of your time.
1. Get a heating system/furnace inspection
You’ll be relying on your furnace to sustain you for the coming months. So, taking a look at replacing filters and if necessary, seeing about an annual inspection is a great tradition to start (or keep going) in the autumn months in preparing your home for winter. That way, you’ll be toasty warm when the blanket of winter is draped over your part of the world.
2. Get a roof inspection
Much like your furnace, your roof is the first line of defense when it comes to the raging elements and preparing your house for winter. Arranging an inspection just as Autumn begins is one of the best ways of making sure that you’re secure.
For more information about roof inspection in general, and to learn more about how to prepare your home for winter starting with your roof, make sure to visit this page that explains the basics of roofs and roof care from Juff’s Roofing (@JuffsRoofing on Twitter).
3. Inspect your pipes
An extremely unpleasant and costly occurence during the winter is burst pipes. This can be because the pipes themselves need to be replaced. It can also occur when your pipes holds residual water, particularly your outdoor taps. Make sure to let that residual water drain out, since you won’t be running through your sprinklers in January. This will reduce the risk of frozen, and bursting pipes.
For more information about taking care of your house plumbing, take a read of this article about avoiding burst pipes courtesy of the Weather Channel.
4. Inspect your heat envelope of your home
We’ve talked a bit about home energy inspections a bit on our green blog. What’s involved here is the inspection of your insulation, your windows, and the general state of things when it comes to heat retention in your home.
During the winter months, you want to be comfortable in your home, and not pay through the nose for the privilege. The cost of an inspection may offset any skyrocketing costs associated with and inefficient heat envelope. Like your dad said, you don’t want to ‘heat your whole neighborhood’. So, make sure your sealed for the winter.
5. See to your garden
Clear out weeds, and spent annuals, apply mulch, and basically help your garden prepare for a winter sleep. Of course, if you’ve got an extensive garden, fall is harvest time, too. So, enjoy the fruits (or gourds) of your labour!
For more information, have a read of this article from Elaine Rose the Philedelphia Examiner about preparing your garden for fall.
One of the best things about cooler weather is the privilege of building a roaring fire. But, before you do that, make sure that your chimney and hearth are clean. Make sure that airflow is the best it can be to allow for a pleasant experience of watching the flames dance on a cool autumn night, rather than an eye-stinging, choke-inducing smokefest that will occur if the cleaning isn’t seen to.
For more information, check out this article about hearth and chimney upkeep from Rona.ca
7. Consider sealing driveways, pavers, and decks
Another occurrence common in winter is the splitting and cracking of exterior surfaces. This happens when moisture seeps in, and then freezes. The moisture then expands, creating unsightly cracks and splits. This can cost you. So, it makes sense to take care of it as you prepare your home for winter. The best way to do this is to look into the specific sealers for wood decks, for natural stone pavers, and for your driveway too.
8. Put together an emergency kit for winter
In winter, power lines go down, and snow can pile up to make road travel unadviseable. So, one thing to think about when neither of these is a problem now in the Fall, is to think about gathering an emergency kit. Some things to include will be candles, flashlights and batteries, canned food, bottled water, and extra blankets. While you’re not preparing for the end of the world, sometimes when the power goes out for a few hours or even overnight, it makes life easier and more comfortable to have a kit on hand.
It’s also a good idea to have a mobile version of your emergency kit for your car as well. Take a look at this article about emergency kits to get a handle on what to include.
Take inventory of snow shovels, and make sure that you’ve got enough juice for your snowblower. Snow may not be a reality in your part of the world just yet. But, it’s a good idea to be prepared. It’s also a good time to take stock of your garden shed. Put away seasonal tools like lawn mowers and weed-whackers. Re-arrange your storage space so that you can easily reach the tools you’re going to need for Fall and winter.
10. Rake, trim, gather, bundle
You knew this one was coming! But, raking leaves and clearing outdoor debris doesn’t have to be a chore. Get the whole family involved. In my experience young kids love to help out, especially when they have their own rakes and gloves that are just their size. And make sure that there’s a lot of hot chocolate for everyone afterwards.
Take a look at this selection of gardening tools for kids, which can be considered all year round.
So, there you have it. Did I miss any important ones? Well, tell me in the comments section.