That was quick! We’ve moved from Labor Day picnics to Halloween planning! With summer weather in the rearview mirror (for most of the USA, at least), it might be a good time to bring your home back to tip-top condition so you and your family can comfortably (and proudly) nest in it all winter long. Here are some quickie projects you can take on that will surely make you happy to be home.
Get rid of grit
Summer temps this year have been exceptionally high. Combined with crazy storms and soaking humidity in much of the country, that heat can cause mold and mildew to wreak havoc on your home’s exterior, especially if your property is in full or partial shade. Use a power washer (also called a pressure washer) to clean the outside of your home, porch and patio furniture. And get a gallon or two of mildew remover. The best part? Watching years of built-up gunk get blasted away is an oddly enjoyable experience. Power washers are available in all shapes, sizes and prices from Amazon. And if you don’t want to invest in one, you can rent one at most home repair stores.
Examine your deck
If you have a screened-in porch or wood deck, check to see if any of the lumber looks like it’s rotting. If you have wooden railings, check those too. If they’re soft to the touch, it’s time to replace those boards. You might also want to consider resealing the deck, especially if your winters are cold and wet. To see if yours needs resealing, try lightly hosing down your deck. If the water pools into tiny beads and puddles, you can skip resealing this year. But, if the water sinks into the wood, head to Home Depot or Lowes to buy some relevant supplies.
Replace damaged screens in doors and windows.
Windows and doors get a lot of use in the summer. With kids and pets running in and out of the house all day, your screen doors will likely get unsightly blow-outs, rips and tears (calling cards for late-season mosquitos). And in winter, you’ll want your windows to shut tight to help you maintain temperature control and keep the family warm. Take the time now to check the sealant around your windows and doors and replace them if necessary.
Seal insulation gaps.
This summer has been a scorcher, but that doesn’t mean it will be a warm winter. You’ll want to keep heating costs in check by ensuring that your insulation is issue-free throughout your house. Check the front door to the attic, cracks in your garage door or foundation, basement windows, entry holes for wires, cables and pipes, etc. If this is your first winter in your home, you might want to call a professional who will know what to look for.
Get up on the roof (safely).
Look beneath your eaves for loose debris, abandoned bird and bee nests, dead leaves and plant material. Toss anything you find. Then, inspect the flashing — those metal strips found around chimneys, vents, satellite dishes and skylights. Flashing can loosen during a severe rain or hail storm, and the remaining gaps can allow potential water leakage.
Change your HVAC filter.
You should do this every few months, but in October, take a moment to also schedule a cleaning for your HVAC system. A professional can come and ensure that the fan is in good working order and check that the coils are clean. Remember, chipmunks and squirrels love to chew on wiring, so your HVAC service will also ensure that there is no faulty wiring that could cause a fire. And if you haven’t done so since you bought the home, consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if there is visible mold growth on any components of your heating and cooling system.
Get a head start on spring planting.
If you moved into your home after the spring planting season, you probably have wanted to put a personal touch on your landscaping and gardening. Now’s the time to get started! Early Autumn is a fantastic time to put your green thumb to work getting your property ready for winter. We suggest adding mulch around trees and perennial garden beds for a spruced-up appearance. Plus, since mulch lowers the potential for weeds and protects roots and bulbs from winter freezes, you can still plant in Autumn, knowing that your hard work will pay off once spring arrives. While at it, it’s also time to prune back bushes and tree branches, ensuring they are far enough from your home’s exterior, roof, windows and HVAC system.
Tune up your lawnmower.
If you have an old-fashioned push mower, good for you! You’re reducing your carbon footprint and getting a good workout! But if you have a power mower (gas or electric), any grassy buildup can clog the discharge tube, allow rust to form and reduce the effectiveness of future lawnmowing. We suggest routine cleaning to fend off any future problems. With the power off, remove the blade to loosen any clumps of mud and grass and use a hose to spray away any remaining bits. For more seasonal lawnmower storage tips, check out our recent blog.
Extend the life of your grill.
Is it fair weather year-round where you live? Or is your home in a climate where winter shuts down the grilling season? Either way, the change of seasons is prime time to give your grill a thorough clean and tune-up. If you’re packing up your gas or charcoal grill for the season, take on a deep clean of all interior parts and components. This can include the cooking grates, burners, heat plates and even the protective cover if it remains exposed to the elements. We posted a great blog about grill storage and cleaning this time last year, so take a look!
If you’re ambitious, you can probably get all these projects tacked before Thanksgiving, but even if you only get to a handful, you’re doing great as a new homeowner! We’re happy to have been able to help you get your house ready for the cooler weather ahead!