That chill in the air means Fall is here! While most of us want to be outside to enjoy the crisp air and the lovely colors from nature, there are some things to do before Big Bad Winter comes a-knocking.
Check Your Furnace
- If you have oil heat, and many of you do, make sure to get that burner serviced before we have the first real cold snap. Most heating companies are plenty bored in August, and that's a good time to book them. They don't just check your furnace out, but they change the oil filters and make sure it's operating efficiently. The filters are super important for the rare case when you run out of oil, so keeping them fresh is a great idea.
- Even if you have gas heat, make sure you're getting your heat exchanger looked at from time to time. While they require less maintenance, that doesn't mean "no" maintenance. When they go, it could create an unsafe condition.
Fix any cracks in your driveway
The freeze/thaw cycle of the fall and winter can really speed up driveway deterioration. Keep yours from needing to be replaced with inexpensive patching products that keep the water out of those cracks.
Check walkways, railings, stairs
While we're outside, check those walkways and railings before it gets slippery. Railings aren't just for looks!
Drain Your Sprinkler System
Sprinkler repairs can get pricey, so it's good to get this one done early. There's usually plenty of rain in the fall, so you probably don't need it till next spring.
Many trees and shrubs respond best to pruning in the fall. Remember to keep them away from the house, to prevent insects, critters and even moisture from building up. Also, keep them away from direct vent heating and your A/C condenser.
Fertilize your lawn
This is the best time to feed your lawn! A good feeding will ensure a quick start to the spring and help keep out weeds all next year.
Check for drafts and make exterior repairs
With that first cool air, it's a good time to check for places where air (or critters) can find there way in. Seal them up to keep your heat in, and the animals out.
Change your filters and check your smoke alarms
This is a good time to remember to check your smoke alarms and change any water filters you have in the house. And if you have forced hot air, remember to change your air filters also. Buy a good quality filter to catch as many particles and have your system be efficient. A dirty filter cost you money!
Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses
Everyone can do this one! That first frost can sneak up on you, don't let it ruin your hoses. The proper way to shut off your exterior faucets is from inside - and then open the faucet up on the outside. This is no fun in December, so do it while the sun is shining!
Test winter equipment
Yes, your snowblower should be checked to make sure the carburetor is working well and that you have gas and oil for it. Don't let the first snowstorm be your first test!
Bring your outdoor furniture in
Time to find a place in the basement for the outdoor furniture!
Clean gutters and downspouts
OK, so the best time to do this is right around Thanksgiving. Usually, by Thanksgiving, all the leaves are down, so you won't need to do this twice. And, it's usually still above freezing. Hurry up though! They'll freeze solid in December, so you want to time this one right!
Clean and Stow Your Mower
With the leaves down, the lawn will be done for the year. If you just changed the oil in your snowblower, might as well get the same shirt dirty.
Stock up on winter supplies
If you are fond of fires, make sure your firewood is ready to go. Make sure you have plenty of Salt for the slippery spots. Not sure what kind of salt to get? That's OK, I have more information here.