6 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Fall
The beginning of fall means cooler temperatures, children returning to school and pumpkin spice appearing in every form imaginable.It also means a change in weather patterns, lawn care and use of your HVAC system.
The turn of the calendar is a good time to run down a checklist of home maintenance items, helping you protect the investment you’ve made in your home. Spending a Saturday or two on a fall to-do list could also reduce risk of certain household hazards..
Below are six things that you or a hired professional can do to get your home ready for fall.
1. Schedule an HVAC inspectionAn inspector’s job is to make sure the parts of your HVAC, as well as its safety measures, are all in good working order. They can also do simple cleaning of dust and dirt buildup to ensure the air quality in your home is favorable.
You can expect a technician to check coolant level, calibrate the thermostat, inspect the electrical system for any wear in the wiring, clean the evaporator coil and drain pan, and inspect the fan motor and blades.
Though it’s best to have a professional inspect your HVAC unit, you as the homeowner can perform regular maintenance such as changing the air filters and keeping the outdoor unit clear of debris.
If your HVAC system is properly tuned and cleaned, you should enjoy better efficiency when it comes time to turn on the heat – or even the continued use of your AC in the fall months, depending on your location.
2. Give home exterior some attentionBefore you begin putting up fall or Halloween decorations for the neighborhood to see, give your home’s exterior some TLC.
Do you have discolored siding or lackluster window shutters? Or have you been wanting to paint your front door a cheery color? Take advantage of cooler fall temperatures by getting outdoors and giving that siding a much-needed pressure washing or painting those outdated accent features of your home.
Fortunately, pressure washing and painting are things you can do without paying a professional or spending much money. In just a few hours, you can refresh your entire exterior finish.
If you are considering investing in your home’s exterior, with a larger project such as a new roof or a new porch, check to see if you’re eligible for a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. A HELOC allows you to borrow against the equity in your home to pay for renovations or repairs.
3. Clean dryer ventOne of the most common used appliances in your home, the clothes dryer, also needs regular maintenance to prevent fires. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, homeowners report an average of 2,900 fires – totaling $35 million in property damage – started by dryers each year.
It’s a good idea to clean lint out of the dryer vent pipe every three months. Signs that a vent pipe is too full include taking longer to dry clothes, dryer becoming hot to the touch or a burning smell in your laundry room. You can perform the maintenance yourself with a vacuum or dryer vent kit or have a dryer lint removal service come to your home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that homeowners have their dryers installed by a professional, use rigid or flexible metal venting material, and make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not blocked and the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is running. They also recommend creating the habit of cleaning the lint filter, or lint trap, after each use and not running the dryer when away from home in case of sudden failure.
4. Winterize sprinkler systemYou’ve spent all summer making sure your lawn stays lush and green with help from a sprinkler system. Now that cooler temperatures are on the way, you need to protect those sprinklers for next season.
Winterizing your sprinklers removes remaining water from the pipes and valves in case of freezing temperatures that would cause them to burst. As with most home maintenance, you can DIY or call in a professional.
Depending on the type of sprinkler system, draining the water can be done manually, automatically or by blowing out the water with an air compressor. Make sure to read your system’s user manual before performing any maintenance.
No matter the method you use, make sure to wear protective eyewear in case of debris in the pipes.
5. Schedule a fireplace and chimney inspectionWhether you have a gas or wood-burning fireplace for heat or, it’s important to make sure it’s venting properly to avoid a fire. Telltale signs of a chimney fire include a loud cracking noise, excessive smoke or an intense, hot smell.
An inspector will check the exterior of the chimney for any gaps or cracks and the interior for any combustible debris that has built up over time. A more thorough inspection may be required if there has been a change to the chimney, such as fuel type or shape of the chimney, or if a large weather event has caused damage.
6. Inspect smoke and carbon monoxide detectorsAs part of your fall to-do list, test all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Ask a family member to stand on the opposite end of the home when you’re testing. This ensures the signal can be heard in all parts of the house.
It’s also a good idea to keep a log of when you last changed the detectors’ batteries, perhaps on the fridge or in your phone. If you’re unsure, go ahead and replace with new ones. We’ve all likely searched for a beeping smoke detector at some point in our lives and had to determine if it was because of the battery or another malfunction.
Manufactures also recommend replacing the entire smoke detectors after 10 years. Dates are listed on the underside of the unit.
Taking these basic steps can get your home ready for a new season, protect your home’s value and help your family will have a safe and happy fall. Learn more about mortgage and refinancing through SouthState.