This fall, spend some time improving your property as the temperatures get cooler. You can complete some of these fall home improvement projects yourself while others should be handled by a professional. Here are 6 tasks for fall that help prepare your home for winter.
1. Clean the Gutters This Fall
Over time, gutters become clogged with leaves, dirt, and debris. Clogged gutters cause moisture to back up underneath the shingles when it rains. If water gets underneath the shingles, it can damage the roof boards and cause a leak. Clean gutters will direct water away from your siding and foundation.
Hardware stores sell gutter cleaning scoops to make this task faster and easier. If your gutters are not clogged, simply rinse them out with a garden hose and make sure that the water runs through the downspout.
2. Cleaning the Chimney is an Important Fall Home Improvement Project
Hire a professional to clean the chimney so your fireplace is ready for cooler weather. A chimney develops creosote buildup along its interior walls over time, which is flammable and can cause a chimney fire. It is important to have the chimney cleaned and inspected before lighting up the first fire of the season.
3. Trim Foliage Around the Home
Fall is an excellent time to prune plants and maintain garden beds. While you are working in the yard, remove plants growing up against your foundation to help prevent termites.
Trim branches that are too close to your home and that are hanging over or scraping your roof. Branches over the roof can cause damage during a storm. These exterior fall home improvement projects boost curb appeal and protect your property from damage in severe weather.
4. Change the Air Filter and Inspect Your Heating Unit
Since you have not used your heating unit for many months, it’s a good idea to have it inspected and change the HVAC filter before you turn it on. Experts recommend having heaters inspected annually to extend the life of the system and keep it running smoothly. Also, have the duct system professionally cleaned every few years, especially if you have pets. This helps eliminate allergens and particles that become trapped in the system.
5. Care for Outdoor Lighting as a Fall Home Improvement Project
Winter is coming and the days are getting shorter. Clean and inspect your outdoor lighting to prepare for less daylight. Wash the glass covers in warm soapy water. Check all the light bulbs and motion sensors to make sure they’re working properly and replace or repair as needed. Install solar-powered or electric LED walkway lights to illuminate paths.
6. Fall Projects Include Changing Smoke Detector Batteries
Change your smoke detector batteries twice every year. An easy way to remember this task is to do it at daylight savings time. Hard-wired smoke detectors have a backup battery that kicks in if the power goes out. These detectors should have new batteries installed, too. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test the alarms to verify that they are functional.