Fall is a great time to run through your annual maintenance checklist – the sun is still shining and cold weather is a few weeks away. While some items on your list will require a professional, like cleaning your chimney or getting your HVAC tuned up, there are several projects you can tackle on your own in just a few hours.
Add the following projects to your list to winterize your home and prepare for cold weather in the weekends leading up to the first snowfall.
1) Inspect (and replace) garage door weather seals
One of the easiest ways to make sure your home is protected from the cold air is to check the seals on your garage door, which is a small, but mighty multi-tasking feature:
“The weather seals on the bottom of your garage door are primarily designed to keep your garage fully insulated. This protective lining keeps bugs and unwelcome animals visitors from crawling beneath the garage door, keeps cold air from flowing in from the bottom, and stops water from leaking into the interior of your garage,” according to At-Home Garage Door Maintenance.
When this strip starts to deteriorate from age and normal wear and tear, it compromises the insulation and can let snow melt into your garage, potentially damaging any items on the ground.
Your task: Open the garage door and see if there are any signs of wear or deterioration on the seals. Small holes or damage to the weather seal means it’s time to replace them. Check out this tutorial if you’ve never replaced a weather seal before.
2) Change the direction of your ceiling fans
The direction your ceiling fan is turning makes a big difference in how warm your room can be. In the summer months, your fan should rotate counter-clockwise to push cool air down.
Your task: Switching the rotational direction is a simple task because most fans have a switch on the base that can be used as needed. In the fall and winter, make sure your fans are running clockwise to pull up cool air, which will push warm air down.
3) Clean out your gutters
Cleaning out your gutters is important to prevent interior flooding, exterior flooding, and roof damage, according to Angie’s List experts. Leaves and sticks can pile up in your gutters, forcing rain water to spill over and run down exterior walls or pool on the edges of the roof.
This type of damage is costly to repair, so getting ahead of your gutter clean-up will save you time and money down the road.
Your task: To properly clean your gutters, Amanda Thomas, Domestic CEO suggests waiting until all of the fall leaves have finished dropping (unless you live in a wooded area, in which case you may need to clean your gutters three to four times per year). All you need a ladder and a good pair of work gloves for this one.
4) Aerate your lawn
If you have a yard, fall is the perfect time to prepare it for spring. Aerating is the process of punching holes into the soil, so air, water, and nutrients from fertilizer can be absorbed and used better throughout the next few months.
Your task: Rent or buy an aerator, noting that some run on gas and will propel themselves forward very easily. Others may require a little more muscle to operate, but it’s still something that you can do without the help of a professional to get your yard winter-ready.
5) Prepare for winter safety
With snow covering the ground, a missing step or hole in the driveway becomes much more dangerous because they’re harder to avoid, suggest experts at Houzz. Use fall to prepare your home for safe living this winter; most fixes will be easy to make and likely have been put-off for months; now is your chance to take care of it all.
Your task: Take a walk around your home, making note of any small issues, like a loose step or divot in the walkway. Add any fixes to your fall home maintenance list and take care of them in the coming weeks.
Fall maintenance for a relaxing winter
Take care of any potential issues now and you’ll have less to worry about when the snow comes. With plenty of shoveling and roof clearing to do, you’ll be glad you tackled these tasks now instead of waiting.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the owner of Honest Body Fitness. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, new workouts and more.