1st Day of Fall: 8 Simple Steps to Get Your Home Ready for Fall
Happy 1st Day of Fall! While you may be ready for pumpkin picking, warm lattes, and flannels, do you know if your house is as ready as you? If you don’t know the answer, then follow our 10 tips to help transition your home for the wetter autumn weather —and try to save some money too!
1: Reprogram the Thermostat
Change your temperature settings to make your home ready for the colder weather. Time to “chill out” on the AC and instead start slowly making the house warmer when people are active (mornings and evenings). Then lower the temperature by several degrees or more when the family is away or sleeping to cut down on costs. If you have a smart programmable thermostat or a smart home device, you may be able to set a fall schedule and do this all automatically!
2: Switch Out Your Filters and Clean Your Furnace
Since you will be switching to using a little more heat now, it is important you check your furnace for soot, ignition problems, pilot light health, and the state of other components to make your home ready for fall. After doing the initial check, go in and clean up all dust and grime. If you see anything that confuses you or worries you, arrange for a professional inspection. This is also a great time to switch out your filters, since clean air is very important. Clogged filters make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, thus increasing your utility bills.
3: Look for Gaps and Cracks in Your Insulation
Before the true chill of winter hits, it is important to look for and fix any insulation issues. Start in your attic/crawlspace during the day and look for rays of light in the corners. The only light should be coming from your attic vents and corners should be well-protected with insulation. Those cracks will cost you warm air and that costs you extra $$$!
4: Clean, Inspect and Prepare Your Fireplace
Nothing beats a fall night, watching a movie, and sitting in front of your fireplace. But is your fireplace and home ready for these colder months? Check your chimney for blockages before lighting any fires and make sure that your damper is working smoothly. If your chimney is coated in soot or forming tarry residue, you will need to clean the chimney thoroughly to prevent fire hazards. For gas fireplaces, vacuum out any dust and check that the pilot light is properly turned on.
5: The Importance of the Humidifier
Dry winter air from using your heater more can be tough on your skin and airways, but did you know it can also make fine wood more prone to cracking? You – and your home – will feel more comfortable if you keep your central humidifier in shape during the months it is running. To do this, inspect the plates or pads and if necessary, clean them in a strong laundry detergent solution. Rinse and scrape off mineral deposits with a wire brush or steel wool.
6: Inspect Your Screens and Windows
Fall is the perfect time to throw open windows and let fresh, cool air inside before the days get too chilly. But first, you should check your screens to make sure they aren't warped or bent. Large spaces encourage curious insects to enter your home and want to stay for the chilly fall and cold winter. After checking your screens, go in and check your window weather-stripping to make sure the felt is intact and not letting any drafts through.
In addition to inspecting weatherstripping, check for missing or damaged caulk around windows, doors, and entry points for electrical, cable, phone, and gas. Seal any gaps with a suitable caulk. If drafts around windows persist, consider getting your windows replaced. Glass with multiple panes, spacers, or filler gasses (such as argon or krypton) will likely solve these problems. A professional can swap out your problem windows with more efficient models that will increase your level of comfort while decreasing your heating bills.
7: Switch Out Batteries in Your Smoke/Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detection is particularly important when the house is sealed and heaters are on during the winter. Go around your house, cataloging where all your detectors are, and then check your detectors to see if you need to replace the batteries.
8: Check on Your Water Heater
Over time, water heaters can get loaded down with sediment, overcome with scale, or other problems that reduce efficiency and lead to problems. Now is the perfect time to clean it out for the coming months to make your home ready for the cold and you are not taking cold showers on a cold morning.