Summer is all but over and as we've all heard, "winter is coming." In order to prep for the upcoming cold weather, there are quite a few things you can do to prep your home and you'll want to start early so you don't have to do them when it's already freezing.
Do Some Yard Work
Autumn leaves are beautiful, but they can also create quite a mess. Rake up excess leaves and compost the leftovers and then mulch the majority of them to add nutrients to your lawn -you may want to sprinkle some over garden beds as well. Once all the leaves have fallen, don't forget to clean out your gutters and inspect them too.
When you're done mulching the leaves, it's time to move on to your garden. Remove the dead annuals and prepare your perennials for winter by adding a layer of mulch, making sure to leave the center of the plant clear to prevent rot. If you want to move your perennials, this is the perfect time of year to do it. Remember to plant or bring in any plants living in clay planters and to empty the dirt from those not in use because freezing temperatures easily crack planters filled with soil.
Lastly, trim your trees to avoid potential problems caused by falling branches during violent winter storms.
Image via Don LaVange [Flickr]
Protect Your Equipment and Outdoor Furniture
Remove or cover any window air conditioning units and put a cover on central cooling units. Clean and then store outdoor furniture and grills or apply protective covers. Clean your mower, leaf blower and weed trimmer and drain the gas tank before putting them away for the season.
Now that summer's humidity is gone and winter's freeze has yet to set in, it's a perfect time to paint. Even if you aren't considering a new hue, check exterior walls for peeling or blistering paint. If you notice any, you can repair the individual patches or decide to do your whole home anew.
Image via Niklas Morberg [Flickr]
Insulate Your Space
Use a screwdriver around your windows and doors to check for damaged wood trim or weather stripping, then either replace it or use caulk to fill in the holes. Also caulk any air leaks and remove and replace any worn out old caulk. If any window frames are cracked or loose, call a window professional before the cold weather hits.
Switch out window and door screens for storm windows and doors -be sure to store the old screens somewhere safe and dry.
Check Your Heating Sources
Give your furnace a good once-over, checking the pilot light, vacuuming excess dust and changing the filter. If you aren't sure what to do or find a problem, be sure to call a professional to help you.
Next, clean your fireplace and buy plenty of firewood to keep your warm through those chilly winter nights. You may want to bring in a chimney sweep to make sure the inside is as clean as the outside.
Now that you have working heating methods, change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector or install one if you don't already have one. Furnaces and chimneys are great, but they also can be deadly if they leave your home full of dangerous carbon monoxide and without a detector, you may never know until it's too late.
Lastly, don't forget to change the direction of your ceiling fan to redistribute warm air that has floated up to the ceiling.
Image via Riccardo Cuppini [Flickr]
Locate Your Snow Stuff
From warm clothes to snow shovels, you aren't going to want to hunt around for these things once it's already freezing outside, so locate them and put them in easily accessible locations for the upcoming winter.
Check Your Roof
Few of us give our roofs more than a passing thought throughout the year, but if it starts leaking, it may soon be all you can think about. Look for loose or missing shingles, cracked flashing, leaks, moss or mildew. If you aren't sure what to look for or notice any damage you can't repair yourself, a professional can help.
Image via Steve Johnson [Flickr]
Seal Your Driveway
Check your driveway for cracks. If you see any, clean them out, repair the hole with driveway filler and then apply a commercial sealer. Aside from making the surface look as good as new, this will also prevent further cracking during the chilly winter months.
Image via Write From Karen [Flickr]
Home maintenance isn't all hard work. September is the best time to go home appliance shopping since manufacturers release their newest models around this time of year, which means big savings on marginally older versions.
Image via tamarasjohnson [Flickr]
This is also the perfect time of year to start getting together and building some epic Halloween decorations. If you really want to scare the kids in your neighborhood, don't miss these amazing over-the-top Halloween decoration ideas.