With the days getting shorter, and a little chill in the evening air, we know that autumn is here. So this is the great time to get your home/cabin in shape before winter sets in and it’s too cold or uncomfortable to spend a long time outdoors!
Close it up: Caulk, seal and possibly paint around exterior door and window frames. Look for gaps where pipes or wiring enter the home and caulk those as well. Not only does heat escape from these openings, but water and mice or other pests can enter. These may cause structural damage, mold problems and nobody wants a mouse in the house!
Look up: Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Upcoming winter weather can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof, leading to a greater chance of further damage inside the home. It's best to have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof, but you can do a preliminary survey from the ground using binoculars.
Clear it out: Clear gutters and eaves troughs of leaves, sticks, and other debris. Consider installing leaf guards if your gutters can accommodate them - they are real time savers and can prevent damage from clogged gutters. Check the joints between sections of gutter, as well as between the gutter and downspouts, and make any necessary adjustments to tighten them.
No hose: In climates with freezing weather, drain garden hoses and store indoors to protect them from the elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water. Faucets and pipes can easily freeze and burst, causing leaks and water damage.
Warm up time: Have the furnace inspected to ensure it's safe and in good working order. It would also be a good idea to have the furnace and ducts professionally cleaned.
Some utility companies will provide no-cost inspections, but there can often be a long waiting list come, fall and winter. Replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent type according to the manufacturer's instructions. Using a clean filter will help the furnace run more efficiently, saving you money and energy. If you have pets in the house, the filter should be changed monthly.
Light that fire: If you enjoy the crackle of the fireplace on a chilly fall evening, have the firebox and chimney cleaned before using it this season. Creosote, a by-product of wood burning, can build up to dangerous levels and cause a serious chimney fire if not removed.
Turn over or cover pots and planters, so they don’t collect moisture and freeze, then possibly crack. This will also help reduce breeding water for mosquitos next year!