Winter Autumn Is Coming
Tackle these 4 quick projects and get your home ready for fall
Labor Day is just around the corner, and that means summertime is retreating and autumn is fast approaching. Take advantage of the remaining warm, sunny days and tackle a few of these key chores to prep your home for the cool-weather.
Do a Roof Inspection
Let’s start at the top! After the threat of summer storms has mostly passed, but before the barrage of leaves comes tumbling down, do a roof inspection. Using proper safety precautions, sweep away leaves or debris that might cause water or snow buildup. Look closely at your shingles, checking to see if any are missing, broken, loose, or otherwise damaged. If there are problems, consult a roofing professional to get them repaired.
Next, inspect around the chimney for missing mortar, crumbling brick, and loose or damaged flashing. If you are able, you can do basic DIY repairs and seal small cracks where the flashing meets the chimney or repair/reattach loose flashing. As always, if you are not confident in your abilities, or if your home needs more extensive repairs, it is best to consult a roofing contractor.
Finally, check for leaks around skylights and vents, and, if you can get access to it, your attic—looking at the underside of your roof during or just after a heavy rain to see if any water is entering your home.
Clean the Gutters
Don’t put that ladder away! Next up on the chore list is gutter cleaning. While homeowners in many locations will want to do another sweep in later fall when more leaves have had a chance to drop, September is a good time to do a first clean-out.
Skipping little gutter maintenance can have a large impact. Your gutters help keep your home dry and safe. By directing water away from the house, gutters reduce the chance of hefty water damage to your basement, siding, roof, wall, foundation, and more. Those are some big bucks you’re putting on the line if clearing a little debris away doesn’t get done.
Always remember safety precautions-- if your roof is difficult to access, or you are uncomfortable being on a ladder or performing any of the activities needed to do the cleaning, ALWAYS contact a professional. Be safe, not sorry. Wear eye protection and gloves, use an appropriately sized, high quality ladder, and make sure you have someone within sight throughout the entirety of the project. A gutter scoop, either homemade from a milk or juice jug or one purchased from a hardware store, is a great way to speed up the task and protect your hands.
For more tips on getting gleaming gutters, check out our “Got Gutter Guilt” feature.
Check Your Windows
It sounds depressing, but yes, Winter Is Coming. And do you really want to go into cooler weather without all the protection from the elements you can get? Now is the time to give your windows the once over and see if it is perhaps time for repairs or replacements.
The change in temperature and humidity and normal wear and tear can cause window seals to crack and shrink. Check your windows and doors inside and out for leaks and drafts. If you aren’t keeping the warm air in and the cold weather out…you are throwing money out the, ahem…, window. Check out these seven red flags and find out if you might need to repair or replace your windows.
Late autumn and winter days can be dark and dreary. Don’t let dirty windows make it worse. These last lingering days of warm weather is a great time to get rid of the grime and clean your windows. Head into fall with a clear view and capture all of those last linger rays. Need tips on cleaning your windows? Check out our blog on cleaning your window glass and screens.
Here’s a fast fact for you: Renewal by Andersen® replacement windows will help you save money on your energy bills. Our High-Performance Low-E4® SmartSun™ glass is 70% more energy efficient in the summer and 47% more energy efficient in the winter compared to ordinary dual pane glass—helping keep you, your family, and your guests comfortable indoors throughout every season.*
Dodging drafts and avoiding air leakage got you down? Maybe the result of your examination suggests you’ve got poor-performing, outdated, unsightly, or difficult-to-operate windows and you’re ready for something new. Or, maybe you’re not sure whether you need new windows, but want to talk over your options. Schedule a free, in-home window diagnosis, and cross this fall chore off your checklist!
When it comes to your deck or patio area, a few quick chores now will pay dividends by saving you time in the spring.
After testing in an inconspicuous spot, pressure wash your siding, patio pavers, deck floor and posts, and sidewalk to blast away stubborn dirt, leaves, cobwebs, or muck. If you don’t own a pressure washer, you can rent one at most home improvement stores. You’ll be surprised at the difference a little power from the pressure washer makes (and how fun it is to use!).
When it comes to your furniture, plastic, vinyl, and simulated wood/wicker are easily maintained with some soapy water and a garden hose (and in many cases, that same pressure washer). However, metal and natural materials like wood, wicker, and rattan will have more specific maintenance requirements. Bobvila.com has some great tips on how to care for your outdoor furnishings here.
Not ready to be done enjoying the great outdoors just yet? Add some color in your outdoor space. The ubiquitous mum is a popular choice because it is abundant, low-maintenance, and colorful. It makes a great container plant, and many hardy varieties can be planted as perennials even in northern climes.
Other good options for patio pots, window boxes, or fall beds to bring some vibrancy to your porch include rosemary, which has a beautiful dual-toned green coloring, adds height—and smells delicious; ornamental kale, with its wide color palette ranging from bright purples to maroon and every shade of green from soft and light to deep hunter; and the ever-graceful pansy, available in almost any color and at its best with lower night temperatures.
If you’re looking to tackle a bigger project, with longer-term use, consider installing a fire pit. A fire pit serves as both a lighting element and a decorative focal point, as well as makes for a warm, inviting space on chilly evenings (and, for our warm-weather readers, creates a festive bonfire-like ambience even when the nighttime temperature is moderate). A fire pit will help you relax, and will help initiate conversation between you and your guests.
*Values are based on comparison of Renewal by Andersen® double-hung window U-Factor to the U-Factor for clear dual pane glass non-metal frame default values from the 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 International Energy Conservation Code "Glazed Fenestration" Default Table