Happy October! Now that Fall is in full swing, it’s important to start preparing for Old Man Winter. Keep your house in tip top shape with this checklist that you (or the handyman) can easily knock out.
· Get Your Head in the Gutter! The fall is a great time to do some preliminary inspecting. The last thing you want is for the leaves to start falling and your gutters to start failing. If you’re not sure how to inspect your gutters, click here for some helpful gutter how to’s…
· Aerate Your Lawn- This is a particularly good tip for new construction homes or lawns that have not been aerated in the last year.
· Change Those Filters- Your furnace and air filters should be changed on a monthly basis. Dust and debris will collect and build up causing your systems to run inefficiently, and of course, create a much greater risk for fires. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_maintenance
· Seed and Feed Your Lawn- Nope, seeding is not only for spring folks. Fall seeding is just as important.
· Flush Your Hot Water Heater BUT, read this before you do!
· Sweep That Chimney! If you’re a fan of Disney movies like me (Amanda), the first thing you think of when you hear of the word “chimney” is Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins covered in soot and you start humming “Chim Chim Cher-ee”. Fortunately for us… or the hired professionals… today’s technological advances such as brushes, vacuums, and chemical products make cleaning your chimney much easier. Above all, a clean chimney helps prevent potential chimney fires.
· Change The Direction Of Your Ceiling Fan- Yup, that little button that moves from left to right does serve a purpose 😉 When the cooler weather sets in, changing the direction of the fan from counterclockwise (this is what gives us a cooling effect in the hotter months) to clockwise, will create an updraft and force the warm air (remember, heat rises) down into the room.
· Test and Change The Batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and to ensure that your fire extinguishers are still in working order.
· Seal It Up! “Heating and cooling amount to 47% of the energy costs in your home. Proper sealing and insulation can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs, or up to 10% on your total annual energy bill,” says Katie Cody, spokeswoman for Lowes. “Air leaks from windows and doors are easy to find by moving your hand around the frame. Applying weather stripping and caulk to these areas will help cut down on drafts.” ENOUGH SAID! Click here to learn helpful stripping/caulking tips
· A Family That Rakes Together Stays Together- Make sure you have a rake or two on hand. When the leaves start a fallin’ make it a family affair to get out there and clean them up. Don’t’ forget to jump in a few piles while you’re at it! Can’t be all work and no play!
· Drain Your Outdoor Hoses and if you’re in an area that has really cold winters, shut off water valves. I can tell you from experience, we forgot to do this one year. Our hose happened to be plumbed to our basement. You guessed it! Spewing water everywhere and flood city! Water that remains in exterior pipes and faucets can freeze and expand causing the pipes to burst. All you have to do is shut off the valve, turn on the faucet to drain any remaining water, and if you’re like our Nanny, she used to tie an old sock around the spigot! Not sure that did the trick, but it sure kept the spigot warm. You can purchase covers at your local home improvement store if yours isn’t the type that has a valve shutoff.
· Clean That Messy Garage! This is one that I (Dorrie) have particular difficulty with. That said, I’m working on it! When it comes to the garage, there’s no such thing as spring cleaning. Get that bad boy organized and in shape so when winter is here in full force, you can easily access holiday décor, and when spring shows her glorious face, you can locate your planting supplies and you’re ready to go!
· Have Some Family Fun! There is one fall must that is on our checklist every year- decorating pumpkins! Have fun trying out new techniques, whether it be painting, drilling or good ol’ fashioned carving. We found some awesome decorating ideas that we can’t wait to try out!
When all these to-do’s are checked off your list, sit down in front of a fire, sip your favorite fall weather drink, (who doesn’t love a Starbucks or Dunkins Pumpkin Spice Latte!?) and burn that list! You’re done!