August can best be described as the Sunday of the summer season. Yes, we’re enjoying the sun, the beaches, the vacation time and the verdant gardens, but we’re also becoming more conscious of the end of one season and the beginning of another. It’s getting darker earlier, there’s a cold chill to the wind, and the flowers don’t seem to be as abundant as they were a month ago. There’s no denying it. Soon it will be fall, and during that time you’ll need to prepare for when winter rolls around.
Winter can be a very hard season to get through at the best of times, and now that the haze of summer is coming to an end, it’s important you get on top of the housework while you still have the chance to. We don’t mean the laundry or the dusting either. We mean the really big, annoying tasks such as fixing the roof and making sure the heating is up to snuff.
Keeping up to date with such responsibilities can be taxing on anyone’s patience, and it’s not always clear what needs doing either. So here’s a brief rundown of the things you may want to look at now before it’s too late and too cold to anything about them anymore.
Fix the Roof
It’s about this time of year that you want to have your roof inspected, just before the autumnal rains start to come in. This is especially true in the Pacific Northwest, where October rains can last for weeks at a time. While inspecting your roof, check for things such as loose shingles, breaks in the waterproofing, and that there are no growing patches of mould or mildew. If you do notice anything that needs fixing, do it as soon as you’re able.
During the winter your gutters, will really be put through their paces. As well as the rains, they’ve also got to contend with falling leaves and seeds during the fall, and snow and ice during the winter. As such, make sure that they aren’t in any way damaged and are still attached securely to the walls. Clearing out any blockages will also greatly improve your gutters’ performance and lifespan, so keep on top of that during fall.
Should you fail to adequately repair your gutters, they won’t be able to drain properly. This will mean water running down your wall and up against the roof, which will quickly lead to damp, mould and expensive structural damage.
Check the Windows
While you may not have minded air coming in from the outside during the summer, you will notice it rather more intensely during the winter. Further, as temperatures drop, insects and rodents will start looking for shelter and a place to hibernate. So as fall approaches, closely inspect the state of your windows and see if they’re prepared for the turning of the seasons. Caulk up and reseal any gaps and holes, and consider investing in heavier curtains to help block draughts.
Sealing up your windows and preventing draughts will also help keep heat trapped in your home from your heating, which really helps improve your house’s energy efficiency. With that, you can expect far cheaper heating costs than you may otherwise have received.
Give your home’s heating system a check over to make sure it’s ready to run over the course of winter. As it’s probably not been touched for the past few months, it may need a quick cleaning and some light repair to get it back into good working order. Likewise the fact it’s not being used is another good reason to have it looked at now. If you decide to do it during the winter, the time where everyone is using their central heating systems, you may find response times a lot slower if you need to call in a repairman, such as the ones at Bob Heinmiller AC.
If you have a log or coal fire, make sure you use this time to stock up as well. Find somewhere dry and warm to store fuel, and take the opportunity to clear out last year’s ashes from the fireplace and chimney. This will reduce the chance of blockages, as well as the risk of a less controlled fire. Purchasing logs and coal for the fire should be a bit cheaper around this time of year as well, so make sure you make the most of it while you can.
If your cellar has a sump pump, check it now rather than later. You don’t want it to suffer a blockage during the autumn rains.
Finally, do a quick circling inspection of the exterior of your house. Check for cracks or gaps in the wall, especially where pipes enter your home, and fill them in promptly when found, so as to prevent draughts and heat escaping from your home. Cracks can also let in moisture from the air, which can lead to damp and mould. If you do choose to ignore them, then there’s also the possibility of freezing water inside the cracks making them worse – water expands when it freezes. As such, what may just be a hairline crack today could be a gaping hole by the spring.
One final thing to fix is your supply of winter tools and goods. Make sure you stock up now while everything is still cheap and readily available, such as snow shovels, ice melt and salt, grit, and snow chains for your car’s tires. This means you’re prepared for when the weather starts to turn, and you won’t have to hunt for that last marked-up snow shovel hidden in the back of the department store.
Christian Mills is a homeowner and family man who contributes articles and insight into home improvement and DIY projects.