The leaves are on the ground, pumpkins are popping up everywhere, and there is a coolness to the night air. That means that fall is here, with winter just around the corner. Engaging in some preventative home maintenance now will protect your home against the chill of colder weather. Here are some quick ways to save money by doing pre-winter chores.
Step 1: Check around windows and doors for air leaks. These can cost you as much as ten percent of the annual heating bill. Purchase some exterior grade caulk and get to work. Select the acrylic latex variety made for doors and windows. To make sure the caulk adheres, seal the gaps and cracks on a warm weather day.
Step 2: Clean the gutters. This will prevent backups, clogs, and ice formation in the winter. Install gutter guards to prevent twigs, leaves, and acorns from clogging the gutters. Rather than having these professionally installed, purchase them at home improvement centers and install them yourself.
Step 3: Check the home exterior and touch up blistered, cracked, or chipped painted surfaces. Make sure you use exterior paint that is high quality, to prevent the frequency of repainting jobs.
Step 4: Repair any rotted or cracked wood trim with synthetic trim, to prevent insect and moisture damage. These do not require ongoing maintenance and come either prepainted or primed. They are easy to cut and install.
Step 5: Clean the windows to let in light and chase away winter blues. Use a solution of two parts ammonia and one part warm water. Wipe with reusable microfiber cloths and wash the cloths when you are finished.
Step 6: Before the first frost arrives, disconnect outdoor hoses. This will prevent spigots from freezing and possibly cracking, requiring costly repairs. Drain the garden irrigation system to prevent leaks and broken sprinkler heads come springtime.