The leaves are changing color, the nights are getting chilly, and that means autumn is just around the corner. Well, don’t be distracted by the pretty colors, because preparing your home for fall is what you should be doing right now! The drastic changes in temperature and humidity can really do some damage in and around your house, but all you need is to be prepared and know what to look out for.
The Midwest is not like the rest of America, and all the beauty that surrounds us comes at a price when it comes to being a homeowner. However, getting your home ready for fall requires no tools — just a little know-how and some spare time. Don’t let these problems go unchecked before autumn, or winter will catch you by surprise!
Here are six things you need to prepare for fall weather in the Midwest
Keep things dry and warm
Did you know that gaps in caulk and weather-stripping can make up as much as 10% of the heating bill? It’s better to seal up any spot where drafts can get in or heat can get out, or you’ll be facing a cold winter. It’s also necessary to keep your hoses, faucets, and irrigation systems drained and dry, as well as checking for leaks or wet spots in your basement, attic, crawlspace, or boiler.
Get your garden ready
The images we associate with fall are usually of browning leaves, naked trees, and slightly overgrown lawns. It’s cozy! But, it can also be bad for your garden if you’re not prepared. Keep an eye on your trees for any sign of disease, and prune them well to avoid having a branch fall on your house. Also, while fallen leaves can make the lawn pretty, leaving them on the ground through the winter can inhibit the growth of your garden when spring comes, so rake them!
Be cool about fire safety
Fall is home fire season in the Midwest, so this is the perfect time to check and replace all the batteries for your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Vacuum them using a little brush attachment as a bit of maintenance. You can also test and update your fire escape plans with the family, making sure that each room has at least two exits, and that they aren’t blocked off with furniture or anything else. Finally, make sure that each floor has at least one extinguisher, and that it’s been properly filled and checked for pressure.
Keep your humidifier running
The dry winter air, as you know, can really do a number on your health, but that’s not all the damage it can cause. Wood structures and furniture are also prone to drying and cracking due to the weather, so it’s better for everyone if you keep your central humidifier running during the winter months. Before it starts to get cold, give it some maintenance such as scraping mineral deposits and cleaning the plates and pads. Your nostrils and house will thank you!
Get the furnace in tip-top shape
Again, since the cold winter months are next in line after autumn, it’s a good idea to keep your heating system in working condition, and you might need to have a professional inspect it before it’s too late (as in, too expensive to repair). Schedule a little before fall actually arrives so you don’t face any delays! However, you can check for noisy belts, poor performance or erratic “tics” in your furnace before the repair person arrives, so they know where to start.
Eyes on the roof
The seasoned homeowner knows that few problems can be as vexing as a leaking roof. Once you spot a drip, that usually means the damage is already big, so giving your roof regular checks before the cold, rainy season begins is in your best interest. Be on the lookout for ridged or darkened shingles, cracks, and wind damage. If you see an accumulation of granules in the gutter, that means some bad issues are brewing in your roof’s coating.
As you can see, it’s not that hard! Like we mentioned, you just need an eye for details and scheduling these activities with enough spare time so you can course-correct if something goes wrong. Finally, you will want to get your house clean on the inside to enjoy those cozy autumn evenings, and we can help you with that.