The brightly colored leaves covering the lawn and crunching underfoot, along with the crisp morning and evening air, signal the end of summer. These fall signs foretell of the cold days and long winter nights ahead. Here are a few tips more tips to go with last week’s essential jobs for fall preparation to get you ready for a new season and make your home more energy-efficient.
Check air filters
Dirty air filters in your HVAC system mean your furnace has to work harder to heat the house. This translates into higher energy bills over the winter months. Give your heater a break and cut how much energy you consume by checking the air filter and changing it, if necessary.
Weatherize windows and doors
Drafty windows and doors are huge sources of wasted energy in the winter. Not only do they let heat from inside the house leak out, they also admit cold air from outside. Make sure you aren’t wasting energy by weather-proofing your windows and doors now so your house stays cozy all winter long.
Start by checking all your exterior doors and windows for drafts and apply weather-stripping material where it’s needed. Seal the inside and outside surfaces, and don’t be stingy with the material. It’s a good idea to re-caulk your doors and windows at this time, too.
Inspect the roof
The middle of the winter is not the time you want to find out you have a roof leak. Check for loose shingles or other evidence of wear and tear. If your roof is nearing the end of its life expectancy (usually about 20-30 years), it’s probably time to replace it. Consider an energy-saving roof. It won’t only keep the snow and the rain out, but it’ll save on energy costs, as well.
Make ready the fireplace
Are you looking forward to enjoying the warmth of a fire on a cold winter’s night as you curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book and cup of hot chocolate? Fall is a great time to get your fireplace ready for winter. Clean out the old ashes from last season. Also, make sure the flue opens and closes easily and the chimney is free of debris. It may be necessary to call in a chimney sweep to clean out a heavily-sooted chimney.
Prepare the yard
As the days grow colder, the summer blooms will fade and the trees will shed their leaves. Clean up the dead and dying plants from the flowerbeds and rake up the leaves. Many people wait until all the leaves have fallen before doing this. Some cities require you to place yard waste in specially designated bags. If you have a pool, it’s time to winterize and cover it.
As the scent of burning hearths hangs in the air around the neighborhood, make the most of the shorter days by preparing for the coming fall season. Like the hard-working ant in Aesop’s fable, if you get your home ready in the fall, you’ll stay warm and toasty without spending a fortune on heating all winter long, too.