Goodbye long, lazy summer days and warm evenings. Here comes the cool and crisp fall, with its cozy nights spent indoors. Our homes are our sanctuaries from the cold weather, and at this time of year when everyone spends more time indoors, it’s useful to get them into ship shape. For a smooth transition between the seasons, there are a few ways you can get your home prepared. Here are some of the tasks around the home to consider getting sorted.
Don’t wait until a chilly spell to test your heating. Fire it up now so you know in advance that everything is working correctly. Any problems can then quickly be addressed without you being left freezing cold! Heating engineers will be more expensive and much busier during the coldest months of the year, and so it pays to be prepared. You could book in for your annual boiler service, and generally give everything a test to make sure that it’s in good working order. Your boiler pressure gauge should be in the ‘normal’ range; the pilot light should be on, and radiators should thoroughly heat up without any cold areas. Bleeding radiators can help with some issues, but if not you’re probably going to have to get in a registered professional such as www.americanwaterheater.com.
Windows and Doors
Good quality windows and doors will keep your home warmer as less heat will be able to escape, and fewer draughts will be able to get in. Upgrading to double glazing if you haven’t already is a good move, it’s expensive, but you will save money on your energy bills over time. At the very least, go around and check that all seals and sealant are in good condition, and that windows are secure and don’t rattle or move. You can add threshold strips to external doors is which a quick and easy way to stop draughts and save money on heating. Fitting a letterbox draught excluder onto your front door can also be a way to keep any chilly breezes out!
Another way to keep your home warm and save money on heating bills, you can top up on your loft insulation. You should have a depth of at least 270mm which could save you up to £400 per year according to the Energy Savings Trust. If you’re looking to go a step further, you could consider having cavity wall insulation installed. About a third of the heat in homes is lost through the walls, so this is a good way to go. If your home is over ten years old it probably isn’t insulated (unless you or a previous homeowner has invested in it).
Pipes are much more likely to burst during the colder months, leading to potentially expensive leaks. Go round your home and check all of the stopcocks and isolation valves. Everything should be easy to turn and in full working order. This means that if anything does leak, you can at least turn the water off until a plumber arrives. Insulate any pipes you can access using insulation sleeves, and carefully check for any slow leaks that you might not have been aware of. Having the details of a plumber on hand, such as www.benfranklinclt.com means that if anything does go wrong, you can quickly get a professional out to help.
Gutters and Roofs
All kinds of general debris can accumulate in your gutters over time- fallen leaves, twigs, dirt and litter. It’s important to remove this as blockages can cause leaking gutters which will cause damage to your rainwater systems. When materials like the brick, stone, and render of your home become soaked for long periods, it can lead to damage and leaks where water can even get into the house. This will quickly lead to issues such as black mold forming, which is a huge problem within itself. Other areas to check to make sure you’re avoiding leaks is roofs on your house, garage, and any outbuildings. You could get up on a ladder, use binoculars or even a camera with a good zoom to make sure you’re not missing any roof tiles or nothing has cracked or slipped. Any issues are likely to need a professional since you’re likely to need scaffolding. But address the problem early on, and it will be quicker and cheaper to fix as opposed to just leaving it.
External Decorating and DIY
If you’re working on any projects outdoors, wrapping them up and getting them finished within the next couple of weeks would be your best bet. For example, anything that involves using sand and cement mortar can be affected by cold weather and frost. And therefore will weaken the overall structure. So finishing up anything you have started as soon as possible, or putting off starting new jobs until the spring is advisable. Go around on a bright day and check for cracks or flaking in bricks or render that needs repairing. Water can get into the smallest of places and when it freezes and expands it can make existing issues worse. So these kinds of jobs are important to get done before the cold weather hits.
There’s plenty to get done in the garden before the fall and winter arrives. This will ensure that everything is ready to go come spring, and your garden will burst back into full bloom without too much effort from you. First, begin by bringing in any tender plants, these can be put into pots and stored in a greenhouse or grow house to protect them from the cold and frost. Plant up your spring bulbs in borders and pots where they’ll store energy, ready to pop up and bloom again in the spring. Cut back any shrubs or bushes that have grown rapidly over the summer. Get a good grass seed blend and sow over your lawn to make it thicker and address any bald spots. Fall is the perfect time to do this, as it’s still fairly mild but with plenty of rain giving the seedlings the best chance to get established before the winter frost. Deadhead any other plants, and collect seeds as everything begins to die back. You could also blast your patio slabs or decking with a pressure washer and scrub in some anti-fungal cleaner with a stiff sweeping brush. This means it won’t become slippery and dangerous when they’re constantly wet from the rain later in the year. You’ll also want to remove any tree branches that look as though they could easily come down. If a storm hits, and weak branches could be blown right through a window in your home or onto your car.
Sheds and Garages
Getting sheds and garages in order before the weather starts snowing, hailing or pouring with rain is a good idea. Especially if there are things you need to get out to reorganise as it stops things from getting soaked. You could move your lawn mower and gardening tools to the back, while bringing things like leaf blowers and snow shovels to the front for easy access. This will stop you from having to rummage for things later in the year when it’s cold outside!
Beds and Sofas
When it’s cold outside, you want your bed to be the coziest retreat possible. In preparation for fall, you could add a heated blanket to your bed. These make you extra cozy and warm as you’re coming up to bed in the evening, and mean you do not have to use your central heating. You could replace your duvets with ones with a higher tog rating, anything over nine tog is good but for an extra cozy bed, you could go all the way up to 15 tog. You could replace your pillows with new plush ones, and replacing your bedding with a warm material such as brushed cotton. As with beds, when it comes to sofas it’s great to pile on the soft furnishings. Throws and cushions will add an added layer of comfort, and make your fall and winter evenings as enjoyable as possible!
Not an essential step, but updating your home for the season is always nice. This could be things like changing the accent color in your bedroom to a warm fall shade. You could add some autumnal accessories, and put scented candles in each room, so your home smells beautiful. If you have hard flooring such as wood in your living space, add some long pile rugs for added coziness and softness underfoot. Another way to update your decor for the colder weather is by changing up the bulbs in your lamps. Choosing a soft, romantic light will set the ambiance on a cold evening, rather than anything that’s too bright or harsh. There are lots of DIY seasonal crafts you could try, or you could browse around your favorite stores and have a look at what they have on the shelves.
Are you ready for the cold weather to hit?
What jobs have you got done around the home in preparation for fall and winter?