Now that summer has come to a close and winter is fast approaching, you may be looking back and wondering where all that free time went. Many people utilize the warm weather and longer days to check off those less frequent but equally important home cleaning and maintenance tasks. However, even with good intentions, life happens, and things end up looming on that infamous “to-do” list. But don’t worry, there are still a few weeks left to get things taken care of before the cold really sets in.
With colder weather quickly approaching, now is the time to take care of the outside chores. Consider beginning with high-priority items such as ensuring your house receives the repairs and touch ups it needs to withstand the coming changes. Take a walk around your building and keep an eye out for peeling paint, visible rust, or cracking wood.
These may seem purely cosmetic issues at first glance, but upon further inspection may be tell-tale signs of more significant problems. Either way, they will be much easier to address on a crisp fall day than a day buried in several feet of snow.
Then, take an afternoon to clean your exterior windows, remove buildup and debris from the sills, and brush off your screens. Trim dead limbs off your trees that could break under the weight of falling snow, and make sure outdoor storage areas are secure and in good repair.
And before you turn your attention inside, you may want to consider protecting your home from rodents and critters that may soon be seeking places to escape the cold.
Yearly cleaning and maintenance tasks inside the house are still doable in harsher weather, so you can put them off a while while you take care of the outside first.
Once you are ready to turn your attention inward, consider the following suggestions about where to start:
Make sure all your furnace filters are clean and functional. The harder your system needs to work to push air through, the more energy it will require to get the job done. Filters full of lint and dust can be replaced fairly inexpensively and clean filters have the added bonus of reducing the risks of fires.
Speaking of moving air, check for drafty doors and windows. While properly repairing these can be costly and labor intensive, you may be able to get away with purchasing a draft snake (basically a long pillow of sand bag to place at the base of exterior doors), caulking the window frames, and installing weather stripping.
Another energy (and money) saving tip is to go through your home and pack in a bit of extra insulation in drafty rooms. Likewise, consider installing insulation around hot water pipes. In homes with a central water heater, a lot of heat can be lost in transit. Pipe insulation can help keep that water as hot as possible on its way from the heater to your faucet.