If you own your own home, fall is an opportune time to get your house ready for the winter months ahead.
Whether it’s as simple as ensuring your weatherstripping is up to snuff around windows and doors or as involved as replacing older windows or an aging roof, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s a checklist of 25 fall home improvement and maintenance projects that will ensure that your house is snug all winter long.
1. Door & Window Seals
It’s easy for cold air to slip in around doors and windows that don’t have sufficient weatherstripping. To keep your ongoing heating costs in check, it’s smart to take a look at all of your doors and windows to ensure the seals are tight. Fixing any issues could wind up saving you some serious money over time.
2. Furnace Inspection
There’s not a lot worse than finding out on the coldest day of the year that your HVAC system needs repairs. Instead of waiting for a problem, it’s almost always a good idea to have your furnace inspected annually.
3. Air Ducts
This isn’t something you likely need to do every year, but it is smart to have your HVAC ducts cleaned regularly so the system is operating as efficiently as possible.
Whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, having your gutters cleaned after the leaves have fallen can ensure that your roofline remains leak-free during the winter months.
5. Exposed or Rotting Wood
Whether it’s on your deck, around your foundation, or under your gutters, wood that is no longer properly sealed can take a beating during winter months. You can save yourself serious headaches by repairing, replacing, or sealing any exposed wood.
6. Roof inspection & Repair
A leaking roof is no one’s idea of a good time and is among the most common home repairs. Having an older roof inspected can help to spot minor problems before they turn into major issues. And in colder climates, some roof repairs could need to wait months for warmer weather before they can take place.
7. New Insulation
If you’re like a lot of people, you don’t check the insulation of your attic and eaves regularly, if ever. Having the proper depth of insulation can provide most homeowners with significant savings when it comes to heating and cooling costs.
8. Lawn Winterization
Your lawn will be greener earlier in the spring if you fertilize it in the fall.
Recommended: How to Winterize a House
9. All Those Leaves
While you don’t want leaves in your gutters or on your lawn, having them in your garden and flower beds can actually help protect plants against damage from cold weather by insulating them. A leaf bed also provides a home for early insects which help feed migratory birds in spring and spares landfills from tons of waste.
10. Critter Blockers
All those pipes and tubes and whatnots coming into our homes often mean little cracks and crevices that insects and even vermin can enter in search of warmth. It can be smart to inspect and seal these crevices before the weather turns significantly colder.
11. Storing Summer Clothes & Bedding
If you live in a cooler climate and you have the storage room, putting your shorts, beachwear, and lighter bed covers in storage over the winter can be a nice way to keep closets feeling fresh and organized.
12. Chimney Inspection/Cleaning
There’s nothing like sitting in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter day — unless, of course, your fireplace is billowing smoke back into your house. You can nip any problems in the bud by having your fireplace inspected and cleaned annually.
13. Spring Bulb Planting
If you love tulips, daffodils, and other flowers that grow from bulbs, now’s the perfect time to set them in your garden. They love a good freeze over the winter.
If you want to add trees or shrubs, you can look up the shipping schedule for your hardiness zone at the Arbor Day Foundation.
14. Perennial Care
Not only will mulch keep your beds looking neat and tidy during colder months, it can help insulate plants from the cold.
15. Outdoor Faucets
Now’s a great time to check your faucets to see if washers and all other parts are in good working order. And if you live in colder climates, it could be a good idea to install a frost-free hydrant to help protect your pipes against breakage during freezing weather.
16. Ceiling Fans
This is an easy one to forget. If you have ceiling fans, it’s smart to switch their direction for colder months. By reversing the direction of your fans, you can help to disperse warm air throughout your rooms.
17. Yard Tools
To keep your lawnmower, leaf blower, and any other gas-powered tools in good working order, clean them up before storing them for the season.
18. Trees & Shrubs
Pruning can be especially important for flowering trees and shrubs that only flower on new growth. It can also help to ensure that unhealthy branches are removed before heavy snow and ice coat them and possibly break them.
19. Carpet & Rug Cleaning
You’re likely going to be spending a lot more time indoors during the winter months, so why not freshen up your surroundings with a good carpet and rug cleaning? Your allergies will thank you!
20. Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
A lot of people advise doing this whenever there’s a time change, and that can be a really smart way to remember to do it. Whatever your preference, making sure that these appliances are in good working order when you and your family are indoors more frequently can help ensure everyone’s health and safety.
21. Patio Furniture & Grilling Equipment
Covering your outdoor furniture and grill can lengthen their lives.
22. Snow Removal
If you live where it snows regularly, it’s smart to go ahead and prepare now. Having your snowblower serviced, buying salt or snowmelt products, ensuring that your snow shovels are in good shape, and lining up a snow removal service are all things you can do now to avoid problems when the snow has begun to fall.
23. Older Doors & Windows
If you’re still living with single-pane windows, it may be time to upgrade. Double- or even triple-pane windows can pay for themselves in just a few years. They can be far superior in keeping out both the cold and heat, thus reducing your heating and cooling bills. The same is true for older doors that may not be well insulated or have single-pane windows in them.
24. Programmable Thermostat
It may seem like a little thing, but turning your heat down every night can wind up saving you money. Remembering to do it, however … Why not make it easy on yourself and install a programmable thermostat that remembers for you?
25. A Fresh Coat of Paint
If you’re going to be spending more time indoors, why not make it somewhere you love? A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to spruce up almost any room. And the cost of painting a house is an inexpensive project most homeowners can typically complete in a weekend.
As the leaves change, it might be time for homeowners to turn over a new … leaf and consider home improvement projects that have gone by the wayside. A seasonal to-do list can ensure that your home is comfy, cozy, and safe for winter and beyond.
Might a personal loan for home improvements, or anything, come in handy?
SoFi offers fixed-rate unsecured home improvement loans of $5,000 to $100,000 with absolutely no fees.
Photo credit: iStock/JavenLin
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