The cooler temperatures as the seasons change from summer to fall allow many homeowners to get outside and start working on exterior projects that they were putting off during the dog days of summer.
When we think about autumn projects, we usually think of sprucing things up for the fast-approaching holiday season, but don’t forget to take some preventative measures to protect the property from the cold temperatures to come. Below we rounded up some of the must-do fall maintenance projects from subject matter experts.
Keep Your House Warm and Your Energy Bill Low
As temperatures dip, your energy costs typically climb, especially in colder climates.
Arthur Murray, the editor for ChooseEnergy.com, reminds homeowners to make sure your home is warm and winter-ready come fall. “Wrap heating tape around pipes that run through exterior walls. You'll save energy and make it more difficult for them to freeze,” he said.
“Also, check seals along windows and doors to make sure you're not letting warm air out and cold air in. Replace HVAC system filters. One tip that most people don't realize has to do with ceiling fans. Make sure it rotates clockwise; it will pull cooler air up and keep it nice and toasty at ground level.”
Clean Those Gutters
One of the most underestimated, but important, fall maintenance activities is gutter cleaning. Many homeowners expect that gutters will work just fine when heavy fall rain starts to fall, but when water begins overflowing from clogged gutters, you realize you've missed a very important task from your fall house maintenance calendar.
Preparing the guttering of your home for the autumn rainfalls will save you from undesirable and unexpected expenditures in the future, such as pest infestations, water damage and even fires.
Experts recommend cleaning gutters at least twice a year. If you’ve never done it before, Lowe’s offers a great DIY instruction video.
Invest in Insulated Siding
Homeowners in colder parts of the country may want to consider installing insulated siding on their home in the fall. Haven insulated siding combines the beautiful look of real wood and the energy efficiency of industry-leading insulation technology. EPS insulation reduces the flow of hot and cold air through wall cavities.
For French Country and Cottage-style homes, Haven Board & Batten alternates wide and narrow panels and makes a great addition without compromising on style. As an added benefit, insulated siding also reduces noise up to 45%.
Refresh and Insulate Windows and Doors
Protect your home and prep for a warm house this winter by replacing exterior sealant around windows, doors and trim. Brittni Olson, a spokesperson for DAP, notes that, “Not only does the sealant around these areas get dirty, stained or covered in algae and mold, but they also crack, crumble and break down over time.
On top of that, if these small cracks between the window and door frames are not fixed before the temperature drops, they allow cold drafts to creep inside, which can push energy bills through the roof.”
Brittni recommends using DYNAFLEX ULTRA Advanced Exterior Sealant for sealing projects, as this new product is DIY-friendly.
Speed Up Leaf Clean Up
The changing season brings a change in nature, too. One of the most common chores in the fall is taking care of the leaves that pile up in the yard. Although the sight of iconic brightly colored leaves are beautifully seasonal, fallen leaves can clog drainage and become slippery in the rain, so it's important to make sure yards are kept clean and free of hazards.
Besides looking unkempt, animals (spiders, beetles, centipedes, etc.) tend to nest in heavy debris areas. With leaf clean-up on your to-do list, having a two-in-one wet/dry vac that includes a blower, such as the Vacmaster 12 Gallon, can save you time and money in the fall.
Don’t Forget about Pest Control
A variety of pests, such as mice, spiders and stink bugs, begin to enter homes at the onset of cooler weather looking for spots to nest through the winter. To prevent or reduce the occurrence of these unwelcome intruders in the fall, Jerry Lazarus, president of Braman Termite & Pest Elimination in Massachusetts, offers the following fall maintenance tips to homeowners to avoid the dreaded fall pests: “Seal cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets, ceiling fans and light switches, paying close attention to areas around siding and utility pipes, underneath the wood fascia or other openings.”
He also recommends cleaning and removing clutter from garages, attics and basements, installing screens and weather stripping on windows and door sweeps on doors and storing firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.