The early settlers used the cold snap in Fall to pack away deer meat, geese and poultry in the cool cellar and barreled salted fish away to keep for the winter when game was scarce. Lucky for you, the modern convenience store has dispensed with that tradition. However, you still have to prepare for the winter especially if you live in a house and your state experiences heavy snowfall, frost and icy temperatures.
Early Fall is the perfect time to prepare your house and garden for the winter months ahead. It’s cool but not cold and starting early makes sure that you finish most of the renovations and repairs before Thanksgiving so you can really enjoy the holiday season. You already know what a harsh winter can do to an exposed pipe or how fatal carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty fireplace can be. With these five important fall home improvement and home repair projects, you can stay ahead of the game and be prepared for whatever winter throws at you.
1) Check your roof for curling or buckling shingles or any minor damage and replace the shingles with new ones. If you have a lot of damage, consider getting the whole roof replaced by a professional. Yes, it will cost you to have a new roof put in but you don’t want to deal with a damaged roof when it’s snowing. Remember to check for leaks and gaps around skylights, pipes and chimneys so that snow and ice don’t enter the house.
2) Do some basic pipe maintenance. Drain all the water from the pipes to make sure the water doesn’t freeze inside the pipe and damage it. You should also wrap exposed pipes that run along exterior walls with heating tape.
3) Clean and replace filters in your furnace or heating system to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is the sneaky byproduct of burning oil and inhaling it can be fatal. It’s often hard to detect since it is an odorless gas so consider installing a carbon monoxide detector which sets off an alarm when the levels rise to a dangerous degree. It doesn’t cost a lot to do this and is very important for your safety.
4) In the yard, chop dead branches off your trees to prevent them from falling off during a storm or with the weight of snow. Dead leaves on the lawn can get compact when wet and the weight can suffocate a lawn and become a breeding ground for insects and diseases. Rake up those dry fall leaves and spread them over your flower beds. This will provide a layer of warmth to the flowers in the winter. Alternatively, you can compost the leaves or shred them to use as mulch.
5) Your attic should always be properly insulated to prevent seepage and damage to your walls. Make sure that the vapor barrier installed on the insulator faces downward into the living space. If the vapor barrier is installed incorrectly it could cause water problems.