Preparing Your Home for Cooler Fall Weather

by Hometalk ExpertsSeptember 26, 2014

Homes.com-Autumn
Autumn is on its way and that means your house will need a couple quick prep, fix, and check-up projects before it gets here. According to Hometalk Expert Nelmie from EARP Construction, below are several things you can do inside your home in order to prepare for the fall.

  1. Make or buy draft snakes to put against the threshold of your doors. This old school method that our grandparents used is still a very affordable way of keeping cold air from sneaking indoors. Just keeping drafts out can save you 5%-30% on your monthly energy bill.
  2. Reverse your ceiling fans. Counter-clockwise rotation produces a cooling breeze while clockwise circulates the warm air near the ceiling area and blows it back down towards the living area. You can do this on a low speed once in a while during the fall season.
  3. Change your water temperature. Most households keep their warm water temperature at 140 degrees F, even though most of us would never shower in such steamy water. Because you’re billed by the degree, reducing your water temperature to 120 degrees F can save you a ton of money.
  4. Check your fire extinguisher. It is very important to inspect your fire extinguisher on a yearly basis at the fire department for safety and insurance reasons, and this is a good point in the year to do it.
  5. Close up air leaks around windows and doors. 5% – 30% of your energy escapes through gaps in your window frame or the space around your door. Check the spaces around windows and doors for drafts, and seal them using caulk or weather stripping.
  6. Wrap up your pipes. Pipes tend to freeze during this season and wrapping them up can prevent that from happening. An easy way to wrap pipes is to use cut pool noodles to create foamy insulation.
  7. Sweep your chimney, and clean your fire place. This is an extremely important check that you need to do before the start of the fall season. Creosote is a very high flammable substance that builds up inside the chimney as a result of burning wood and it needs to be cleaned out for your safety and energy efficiency. Before you get the fireplace up and running with your marshmallows, your fireplace also needs a thorough cleaning. Make sure there are no nests from spiders, and clean out all the leaves that may have fallen into the fireplace area. You can also make a mixture of warm water and mild dish washing liquid to clean up the mess around the fire place.

It is very important to have your heating unit checked by a professional before the fall season starts. It is advisable to inspect the burners, combustion area, venting, and even the appearance of the flame. For a gas furnace, an inspection of the air intake and winterization is needed. Detailed instructions can be found in your owner’s manual but if you’re unsure, call a professional. If you have an older thermostat with liquid, clean it and level it to ensure proper functioning. Make sure that you or the inspector checks all visible wiring and electrical connections for damage, like burns or loose nuts. During the fall season, ensure that your air filters are changed regularly. You’ll notice if it’s not running properly because your monthly bills will be higher. Make sure that any furniture you move around is not blocking the heating unit. Also, be sure to check outside that any external parts are not blocked by leaves or grass, because that can also decrease air flow. Lastly, check that the boiler can be switched on and off via your thermostat.

If you plan to sell your home this season, recommend a time frame of three months in which to have someone inspect the heating unit before turning it on for the season. This way the buyer has ample time to plan their repairs and inspections in and around the house. It’s always a good idea to get a few quotations to inspect your heating unit and book inspection a month before the fall season begins.

For more helpful tips on fall prep and energy conservation from Nelmie, check out EARP Construction on Hometalk.

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Hometalk Experts
Hometalk Experts are standouts in their industry and provide trusted advice on home improvement and gardening projects. Experts include reputable interior designers, painters, contractors, craftsmen and real estate professionals. Hometalk Experts are an active part of Hometalk's community, answering individual questions and providing inspiration through their own completed projects.

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