Is your family excited that fall is finally here? For some people, fall means cozy nights next to the fireplace with their favorite book, or getting the chance to sip pumpkin spice lattes while wearing their favorite sweater. Regardless of what fall looks like for you, there are a few things you need to do to get your home ready for the chillier months ahead. Failure to be proactive in these tasks could result in problems for your home and family in the weeks ahead — and an untimely breakdown of your heating system!
First things first...
Schedule annual maintenance for your home’s heating system. During this appointment, the trained and experienced technician in your home will be able to clean the components inside the system and check for any potential problems that could lead to a breakdown of your heater. He or she will tell you what will be required to get such issues taken care of. Proper maintenance will help keep your heating system running efficiently in the colder months ahead. This means a warm and toasty home, a happy family, and potentially less expensive energy bills.
Don’t forget to change your filter.
Along with scheduling your annual furnace maintenance, remember to change your air filter regularly. All heated air inside your home first passes through the filter. If the filter is clogged with dirt and dust, warm air won’t easily be able to move through it and into your home. This could cause extra strain on your heating system as it keeps up with the temperature demands set via your thermostat. The extra strain could lead to premature wear and tear on system components and may lead to a breakdown.
Additionally, the air passing through the dirty filter will be what your family breathes. If you have family members with respiratory problems, such as asthma, this poor indoor air quality could cause health issues for them. Make note of when you are changing the filter and then schedule a reminder on your phone, email calendar, etc., one month from that date to make sure you remember to keep up with filter replacement.
Prepare the outside of your home.
Now that you’ve made sure your home’s heating system is ready for the colder months ahead, you can tend to the outside fall tasks that need to get taken care of.
As always, don’t forget to clear the built-up leaves from your gutter system and downspouts. Failure to do so could result in melting snow and ice getting trapped in the gutters and on the roof since it can’t properly flow out through the gutter system. This could lead to damage to your roofing, siding, and even to the foundation if moisture starts flowing over the gutters and building up around your home.
Check the concrete surfaces around your home, such as sidewalks, walkways, and your driveway. Make note of any cracks or settling that you see. These problems should get taken care of before cold weather can make them worse. Also, these damaged surfaces could act as tripping hazards.
Put away lawn furniture. While you may think that your patio set was built to withstand the elements, it likely wasn’t designed to endure a harsh winter with snow and ice. Put these items in storage for safekeeping until next spring.
Unhook your garden hose, drain it, and put it into storage. Failure to do so could result in water freezing inside the hose, which could cause the hose to burst. Or, the ice and water could back up into your home through the exterior spigot, causing water and pipe damage inside your home.
One last tip for getting your home ready for winter...
Now is a great time to stock up on any essentials your family may need in the upcoming months. You should have a winter emergency kit stocked and ready for use — just in case. Inside the kit, have spare blankets, water bottles, non-perishable food, flashlights, candles, matches, a battery-powered radio, spare batteries, a cell phone charger, a stocked first aid kit, and any medications or special dietary items your family may need.