10 Things You Should Do to Prepare Your Home Before Autumn Begins
Sweater weather is on the way—and you'll need more than a PSL to prepare for it!
Wouldn't it be great if all you needed to ready your home for the season was some cute fall decor and some delicious-scented seasonal candles? While these are definitely on our list for welcoming autumn into our home, there are some really important (and not all that fun) preparations that also come with being a homeowner during this season. We have compiled this list of ten tips for you to consider before your house transitions from hot summer days to cool autumn nights... and eventually - those dreaded freezing temperatures of winter!
1. Clean, or possibly replace, your gutters.
When gutters are functioning properly, they drain thousands of gallons of water off of your roof each year. Especially after recent weather in Pennsylvania, it is likely that if you haven't checked on your gutters since last September, they're going to need a bit of TLC. Clogged gutters can lead to a mess of problems, including flooded interior and damaged exterior. MHP offers services for both cleaning and replacing gutters - and we will be more than happy to investigate which of these your home is in need of - for FREE! Schedule your free estimate with us now before this simple outdoor fixture causes you to need some more costly repairs.
2. Check your home for drafts.
Home heat loss through door and window drafts is responsible for somewhere between 25-30 percent of heating energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Additional areas of temperature loss might exist near garages, attics, crawlspaces, basements and other poorly-insulated areas of the home. If you're feeling a bit drafty in some part of your home, you are definitely at risk for higher utility bills this cold season! MHP can investigate any draft issues and help you to prevent these issues by becoming more energy-efficient. Not only do cracks and crevices create exits for heat, but can become entry-points for moisture and critters - making this a very complicated problem you would do best avoiding at all costs!
Pro tip: Not sure whether you have a draft issue or not? Close your door or window with a strip of paper in between it. If the paper can slides around easily, you should contact us!
3. Winterizing any outdoor water fixtures.
Draining and disconnecting all garden hoses or sprinklers from your outside spigots is a very important thing to do ahead of winter if you want to prevent any water freezing and breaking these items. Not doing so can also result to much worse issues such as pipes bursting since frozen water will expand and burst the pipes which are typically made of materials that contract in colder conditions. MHP is always more than happy to help you decide which items are necessary to winterize and can provide a free quote to handle all aspects of outdoor plumbing winterization for you. Let us know how we can be of any assistance for these needs!
4. Bring all outdoor furniture inside.
While outdoor furniture is specifically crafted with the purpose of withstanding outdoor conditions, you will drastically shorten the life of these items by leaving them outside during hurricane-like weather and snowstorms. Beautifying your outdoor space probably cost you both time and money in order to decorate to your tastes and comfort so it would be a waste if you allowed harsh conditions to wear down your purchases prematurely. If you want to get another warm season out of your outdoor furniture, we highly recommend that you should store these items in your garage or shed. If you don't have anywhere to store the items, you should cover it in a waterproof furniture cover. Since our estimates are always free, you can also contact MHP for a consult to build a custom storage solution or shed to suit your needs.
5. Fixing cracks in your driveway and walkways.
Often, people see small cracks forming in their driveway or walkways and they assume that everything will be fine to wait until next season. The problem with this is that when water collects within these crevices and freezes, the space between can expand and make the crack even bigger and more costly to repair. Small cracks left for the next warm season can turn into a mess of larger cracks once everything melts, and might even cause concrete to begin crumbling to the point that more costly repairs will be necessary. We tend to think that with all of the potholes we already endure in Pennsylvania, you definitely would not want to have one forming in your own driveway! Autumn is the perfect time to get ahead of these issues before the weather gets too cold to fill and seal any cracks that might already exist. Get in touch with us as soon as you can to avoid these problems worsening after the snow comes!
6. Change all your filters.
Something else in your house is likely costing you more money than it could or should be: filters! If your filters are clogged within your climate control components, it will be harder to maintain the temperature you want in your home - which will increase your heating bills during the cold season. Cleaning these filters monthly, and not just before the fall, is recommended but if you spent your summer vacationing and forgot to handle this, you should absolutely take care of the filters during autumn to avoid any issues in the winter. While checking each of the vents in your homes for filters that need changing, take time to also vacuum and dust these areas to clear them of dust, pollen, dander, etc. for better air quality during the cold season. Your immune system will certainly thank you for it!
Pro tip: Disposable filters can be vacuumed once before you actually need to replace them while foam filters can be vacuumed continuously without needing any replacement.
7. Fertilize the lawn.
Lawn care in the fall? Many think that raking would be the only landscaping and outdoor yardwork required after summer is in the rearview, but the best offense is a good defense. To keep your lawn looking its best again next spring and summer, you should really prep it for the fall and winter season. Roots are still active when the grass isn't growing, so applying fertilizer now will prevent damage to your grass over the winter. Doing so will also help your lawn turn green much faster in the spring, which we believe is crucial, because being surrounded by beautiful spring blooms will make a sad brown lawn look even more pitiful!
8. Test your winter equipment.
The middle of a snowstorm is NOT the time to find out that your snow blower isn't working when you can't get your car out of the driveway to go buy a new one. You might not want to store full containers of gasoline in your house for when you might need to use the generator but trust us - it is better to fire it up now and be sure that it works before you go through the hassle of digging it out and fueling it up just to find out that it needs repair. We recommend testing these and similar items once per month during the fall so you will not have a very unpleasant surprise of finding out that they are useless when the time comes to need them.
Pro tip: Repairs for items like snow-blowers and generators are often cheaper in fall, too!
9. Change all the batteries.
If you do not already know this as a homeowner, make sure you write it on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone. Once per year you should be checking to make sure all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices in your home are functioning. This is truly a simple thing to do while walking around your home checking on these other list items and could save not only time but - lives! We often tell people to check them at daylight savings time as you are making adjustments to your clock but at least once per year is good enough!
10. Check any chimneys and fireplaces.
This last tip might not apply to you if your home does not have a chimney or fireplace but we thought it was important to mention this anyway since many house fires in the winter season could have been avoided if the chimney and fireplace had been inspected prior to heavy use. Putting a log on the fire is a wonderful way to enjoy the cold season and can keep your home comfortable and toasty during even the harshest of weather. During power outages, many still have use of this heating method so it is wise to ensure that you can safely operate your fireplace before it becomes potentially necessary to do so. Chimneys need maintenance over time and failing to inspect these items can be not only destructive to your home - but fatal.
We hate to sound so doom and gloom with some of these items but being the bearer of bad news is better than not telling you when yourself or your home could be in danger! We hope that if you are not entirely sure what your home needs to remain safe for this cold season, you will instead reach out to us and let MHP help you figure it all out. That is what we are here for and what we care most about - making your home a better place for you to live in.