12 Best Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall

fall ©BoKociubaPhotography

12 Best Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall

With summer winding down, now is the ideal time for a routine checkup to make sure your home’s interiors are in their best shape.

“The fall season is a great time to get ahead of home care and other upgrades to prevent unexpected repairs and aggravation on our homes as cooler temperatures set in,” says Courtney Klosterman, the home insights expert at Hippo. “This means the proper operation of critical systems—think HVAC units and water heaters—and reducing the possibility of other home hazards, like unventilated fireplaces or unprotected pipes that can lead to unwanted stress and costs.”

These are the essential tasks to check off your fall to-do list to make sure your home’s interiors are refreshed and cared for during the next season.

Check Windows

While opening up your windows during the fall serves as the perfect time to take in the fall breeze, it’s also a great time to check the windows for cracks and leaks. “If the window seals have any leaks or cracks, reseal them with silicone-based latex caulk,” says Mallory Micetich, the home expert at Angi. “If you need to completely replace your windows, try to replace them as early as possible to prevent the cool air from seeping into your home.”

You’ll want to tend to weep holes, as well. “These are a row of tiny holes at the bottom of your window frame on the outside,” says Klosterman. “Their purpose is to provide drainage for water that may leak inside the window’s channel.” To clean, use an unbent paper clip to clear out the debris.

Update the Entryway

“There’s a wonderful feeling when you come in from the chilly weather into your warm and inviting home, but with the cool temps comes weather,” says Klosterman. “That means heavier coats, more possibility for muddy floors, and risk of slips and falls.”

Ahead of the fall, prep your entryway with slip-proof mats for wiping off shoes, and possibly a shoe rack with a built-in seating area to serve as a designated place to take off shoes and store them. “Make sure your coat rack is up to the challenge of extra-heavy coats and hats being hung on it, and that your wet umbrellas have a proper place they won’t drip onto the floor,” Klosterman adds. “Lastly, protect entryway flooring by laying down a rug that can take a bit of seasonal abuse.”

Tend to Your Door Lock

When the temperatures start to cool off, even to freezing temperatures, you’ll want to ensure your door lock doesn’t stick. Klosterman recommends spraying door locks with powdered-graphite lubricant (these are less smelly than other varieties). This will ensure the lock won’t stick or freeze.

Deep-Clean Carpets

“Carpets insulate and keep rooms warm and cozy, but the signs of mold can creep into your home completely unnoticed, and in the damper fall and winter months, it can be normal to experience increases,” says Klosterman. She recommends using or renting a carpet extraction cleaner to thoroughly remove dirt and debris and to rid the flooring of moisture before the really wet season begins.

Refresh Indoor Lighting

The days are getting shorter—and the nights longer. This likely means that using your indoor lighting will become more of a priority. “Now is a great time to consider replacing your old light bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights,” says Micetich. “Not only do these lights last a long time, but they can also help you save money.”

Tend to HVAC

One of the best ways to tend to your home in the fall is by doing maintenance on your HVAC. Simply replacing its filter can help you avoid damage to the appliance and reduce your energy bill since it won’t be overworking. “The filter will turn a light brown color, and if not changed regularly, can also lead to health concerns,” says Klosterman. “An easy fix is to swap these filters out with new ones every season change to proactively maintain your heating and cooling system.” This is especially helpful during the fall, Micetich says, as the fall can bring more dust and allergens into the home that your filer will collect.

Prepare the Fireplace

“After sitting dormant through the spring and summer months, checking the fireplace before lighting your first fire can prevent potential hazards like smoke from entering your home,” says Klosterman. “You can handle cleaning the fireplace yourself with a dust broom, dustpan, and a bucket, but if you think your chimney needs servicing, it takes this project difficulty from a two to a 10 quickly.” When it comes to heavy-duty preparation, the experts recommend enlisting the help of a professional to take care of all inspections and cleaning measures as safely as possible.

Treat the Home for Pests

Since pests can seek cover when the outdoor conditions start to change, Klosterman recommends calling a pest professional to make sure your home is readied to ward them off. “As weather shifts, critters often seek homes for warmth and food,” she says. “Getting ahead of any issues with pests is a smart move.”

Flush Hot Water Heater

Keep in mind that hot water can be harder to come by at times during the chilliest months of the year without proper prep on the hot water heater. “That’s why taking care of this hard-working appliance is essential and easy once you have done it a few times (but can also be delegated to a professional because it is a detailed process),” says Klosterman. “Take your time to research how to handle this on your unit because each has its own best practices, or as mentioned before, an expert is always a quick call away to help with routine maintenance.”

Do Pipe Maintenance

“Pipes located in areas without proper insulation, like basements or attics, could probably use some extra insulation to keep from freezing,” says Klosterman. “It’s better to do this chore way before the freezing comes; weather like that tends to keep a homeowner busy enough.” She points to fitting with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves, as this can help decrease the chances of your pipes freezing. As an additional option, add insulation to walls and ceilings for extra warmth. “Insulation keeps a pipe close to the water temperature inside the pipe,” adds Klosterman. “Quick note: insulation won’t stop the pipe from freezing in freezing temperatures for a prolonged time.”

Bring Out Fall Supplies

Put away any summer cooling gear, like free-standing fans or window AC units, and swap them out for portable space heaters and other items that can warm you up this fall. Make sure you have plenty of fuel on hand, whether it’s firewood for indoor fires or oil for your oil-based furnace. This is also a great time to change your overhead fans to spin clockwise, which draws up the cool air and sends down warm air.

Replace Detector Batteries

“Replacing detector batteries isn’t necessarily a fall task, but it tends to get pushed back until the end of the year,” says Klosterman. “Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to stay safe this fall.”

Photo: BoKociubaPhotography
Source:Martha Stewart

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