As summer winds down and the kids start back to school, it’s time to start thinking about the shorter, cooler autumn days ahead. Now’s the time to make a list of all of the things you need to do to prepare your house for fall. Use the following tips as a handy checklist to make sure your home is ready for the cooler temperatures and falling leaves coming soon:
Insulate water pipes- Pipes that are in areas exposed to cold temperatures, particularly in the basement, are extremely susceptible to bursting when the freezing temps move in. Fall is a perfect time to insulate these pipes well in advance of the winter months.
Check your caulking- Any caulking around doors and windows that shows signs of deterioration needs to be repaired in order to properly insulate the house. While you’re at it, go ahead and check the caulking around your bathroom fixtures as well.
Clean your gutters- As the fall foliage begins to accumulate it is important to make sure your gutters are cleaned regularly. Gutters that are clogged with leaves and debris can cause water damage to your siding, landscaping and foundation that are costly to repair.
Schedule a chimney cleaning- If you have a chimney, make sure it gets a tune up by a professional before you light that first roaring fire on a chilly autumn evening.
Clean or replace your furnace filter- a dirty filter will cause your furnace to have to run harder, not only driving up your gas bill but also causing unnecessary wear and tear to your unit.
Clean the dryer exhaust duct- Using a duct-cleaning brush, remove all pieces of dust and lint from the dryer exhaust duct and the space under the dryer. This can prevent a dryer fire from occurring.
Inspect your smoke detectors- While the batteries in your detectors should be tested monthly, it is a good idea to make an annual inventory and battery change to ensure they are in working order.
Safeguard against fire hazards- Since October is National Fire Prevention Month, fall is a good time to make sure there are no fire hazards such as loose-fitting plugs, frayed cords and wires, or overloaded outlets or surge protectors. You should also make sure there is a working multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible on each floor of the home for easy access in case of emergency. Schedule a family meeting and devise an evacuation plan so that everybody knows what to do in the event of a fire.