Even if you don’t live in a particularly snowy area, winter’s colder, wetter weather can be hard on your home. It can also be hard on your wallet thanks to higher energy bills. But if you start now, you’ll have plenty of time for all the fall maintenance and home improvement tasks needed to keep your house safe and snug during the cold months ahead.
Apply caulk to any cracks along your window and door frames. If necessary, replace old weather stripping for a sturdy seal against the elements. Felt or foam weather stripping generally needs to be replaced every two years. Rubber, while more expensive upfront, can last up to a decade.
If your windows have problems that some caulk and weather stripping can’t fix, then you should look into replacing them before cold weather—and a higher heating bill—hits. Signs that you need new windows include:
Repair (or hire a contractor to repair) any roof leaks, shingle damage or other issues that have cropped up over the summer. Even minor roof problems can cause major damage over the course of a hard winter. So, complete these home improvements during the fall to head off costly future issues.
Apply concrete caulking (for hairline cracks) or concrete sealer (for larger cracks) to any damaged areas of your driveway or other concrete on your property, such as patios or walkways. This can prevent cracks from worsening during the winter.
Apply fertilizer to your lawn and any young trees on your property. Plants benefit more from fertilizer during the spring and fall, when their roots are “resting.” So, use this home improvement tip to keep your landscaping healthy through the winter.
If your furnace is over 20 years old or no longer works properly, now is the time to install a new one. Consider choosing an Energy Star-rated furnace as your replacement, which could save you up to 20 percent more on your energy bill each year than you’d pay with a standard model.
If you’re looking for more ways to lower your energy bill, installing a smart thermostat is a fall home improvement project that will quickly start to pay for itself. Among other features, a smart thermostat will adjust to an energy-saving mode while no one’s home.
Use a cool, windy fall day to inspect your attic for drafts around plumbing and ventilation pipes. If draftiness is a problem, add a layer of insulation wherever needed. This simple home improvement tip will keep you warmer through the winter and contribute to lower heating bills.
As you prepare to put away all your summer items, set aside a weekend to clean the junk out of your garage and organize the things you’ll be keeping. This might just leave you with enough room to actually park in your garage during the winter!
Continue your decluttering inside the house and sort through seasonal clothing, hobby equipment, decorations and other items. Sell or donate whatever you no longer need so that you’ll have a cleaner, more spacious home to hunker down in until spring.
What home improvement projects do you have planned for this fall?