5 Home Improvements You Should Tackle in Early Fall to Get Your Home Prepared for the Cold Weather

by Yuka KatoSeptember 16, 2016

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There’s something about autumn that energizes many people, getting them to take on projects and plans that they may have been putting off while enjoying a lazy Summer. Sounds like you? While you’re busy making plans for the winter months ahead, make sure you also take the time to take care of some home projects that are best done during the early fall months. These five projects coming in under $2000 and can help make your home more safe and comfortable for the months ahead.

1. Furnace Repair

You don’t want to wait until the cold winter months to turn on your furnace and find that it isn’t working. That’s why early fall is the best time to schedule your furnace repair. This off-peak time often costs less than it will in January, and gives you plenty of flexibility to schedule the technician at your convenience. Waiting until winter to tackle this project will mean you pay a higher rate in labor fees, and you risk your furnace breaking down when you need it the most.

  • Cost: The average cost to replace the heat exchanger on a furnace is $1000 to $1700.
  • Money Saving Tips:
    • Make sure you change your furnace’s filter regularly to avoid putting a strain on the exchanger and causing it to burn out faster.
    • Call as early in the month as possible before rates begin to go up in preparation of the busy season.

2. Install a Portable Generator

If you live in an area that sees severe weather during the fall and winter months, you may want to invest in a portable generator to help keep your home running in case of a power outage. Portable generators come in many sizes so you can find the right fit for your home. Install one in early fall before costs go up during the colder months, and ensure that you’re ready for the first outage of the year. Once the snow begins to fly, you can expect the demand for generators to go through the roof driving up prices and limiting availability. Waiting too long could mean that you run the risk of not finding one at a reasonable price or that you need to go without power in the event of a storm.

  • Cost: The average cost to install a portable generator is $2000.
  • Money Saving Tips:
    • If you don’t use your whole home every day, get a smaller generator that can power only the essential areas for significant savings.
    • Purchase early in the season before prices begin to rise to meet demand.

3. Mold Remediation

After a warm, humid summer, mold is a very common problem in a lot of areas. Basements, attics, and bathrooms are all particularly susceptible to mold growth. Before you spend more time indoors in the winter, you’ll want to ensure that any mold is removed before it can cause health problems. Once the weather dries out in the early fall is the best time to get this done. Mold that began in the summer months will continue to grow right through the winter, so the early all is the best time of year to tackle this job, while the air is dryer and the mold hasn’t had as much time to spread.

  • Cost: The average cost of mold remediation for a 10×10 space is $500.
  • Money Saving Tips:
    • Dry out the room with the mold thoroughly with dehumidifiers and fans to prevent it from spreading.
    • Take care of this issue as soon as you see it before it has a chance to spread to more areas of your home and make you or your family ill.

4. Install Gutter Guards

During the autumn months, leaves and pine needles drop from trees at a very fast rate. These can collect in your gutter, clogging them up and forcing water back onto your roof. A gutter guard can help prevent this by stopping the debris from entering your gutters. Take care of this issue in early fall when it isn’t too hot to work on your gutters, but before the leaves start falling to get the best results. Wait too long and you may have to pay a higher cost in labor due to demand and the fact that your gutters will need to be cleaned prior to installation.

  • Cost: The average cost to install gutter guards is around $200.
  • Money Saving Tips:
    • You can install the guards yourself to save a lot of money on labor.
    • Opt for gutter screens if you have easily accessible areas; they cost less, but will need to be rinsed on occasion.

5. Clean Your Roof

Your roof can become the home to a lot of dirt and debris during the summer months, including algae, mold, moss, and leaves. The more debris that lands on your roof, the bigger the problem, because things like moss and leaves can trap water beneath them, weakening your shingles. When snow falls, this problem will become worse, potentially causing leaks. September or October is the best time of year to clean your roof; it’s not too hot to work, and you’ll want to get the bulk of the debris off before the leaves begin to fall, making it harder to clean.

  • Cost: The average cost of cleaning a roof is around $250 to $300.
  • Money Saving Tips:
    • If you’re comfortable on your roof, you can clean it yourself with a mixture of bleach and water and a soft-bristled scrub brush.
    • Schedule your roof cleaning early in the fall, as this is a busy time of year for roofers; the earlier you make the call, the less it will potentially cost.

Get Your Home Ready for Fall

September and October are great times of year to work on your home. The heat and humidity are over, but the cold winter months are still in the distance. Take care of these five projects as early in the fall as possible to get the best results and savings. To find out more about what things cost, be sure to visit our partner Fixr’s Cost Guides.


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About The Author
Yuka Kato
Yuka writes about home improvement tips & tricks to help homeowners learn more about improving their properties. She also delivers useful cost information you can use to help improve your own home at Fixr.com.
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