For the Furnace...
As the temperatures begin to drop, odds are that you will be relying a bit more on your home to keep you and your family warm and comfy on those iconic fall nights. That being the case, it's time to start thinking about the ever-vigilant workhorse of your home, your furnace. Think back to the last time that you had your furnace serviced - been a while? It would behoove you to schedule a licensed technician to stop by and give your fiery friend a once over. Most companies suggest that you do so at least once a year, to be sure that your system is running smoothly, as well as maintaining any warranty that you may have on the furnace itself.
We have discussed the importance of frequently changing out your furnace filters on this site before, but (because of its importance) the fact begs repeating. Changing your filters will not only allow your furnace to work more efficiently and effectively, doing so will also increase the likelihood that your furnace lives a long and happy life, something that you have a vested interest in ensuring, given that the price tag on a new appliance can be quite hefty. The general rule of thumb is that you should be replacing your filters every 90 days, but that you may want to increase the frequency with which you do so as winter creeps along, with some recommending that they be changed every month.
Check your Detectors
The changing of the season is always a good reminder to check and change the batteries in all of your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. As temperatures fall, we begin to close our windows and switch on our furnaces, so it is even more important to be sure that these detectors are in perfect, working order. According to the US Fire Administration (a group who we trust to know what they’re talking about), homeowners should test their alarms monthly and change batteries as they are needed, but at very least, every year. It is also their recommendation that the entire smoke detector be replaced every ten years, and that carbon monoxide detectors be replaced every five years.
Winterize your Air Conditioner
Your trusty air conditioner has served you well over the past few months. Let’s face it, without its tireless efforts, you would have scarcely made it through July and August. Show your gratitude for its selfless service by getting it ready for its much-deserved rest through the winter months. After turning your system off, clean the unit itself, as well as the surrounding area. Sweep off leaves and other debris before giving the whole thing a good hose bath. Before tucking it in for a cozy winter’s rest, check for cracks, rust, leaks or any other ominous looking signs of wear and tear. If anything looks alarming, or even just a bit off-putting, give a call to a licenced HVAC technician to be sure that all is well or to address any possible repairs that need to be scheduled. Finally, cover your cold air companion with a waterproof cover and, if needed, add any extra insulation to the outside of exposed pipes and/or wiring. Read it a nice bedtime story, kiss it on the forehead and quietly tip-toe away. Every week or so, check in on your slumbering sweetie to remove snow or ice that has collected and to remind it of how much you love it so that, when July comes back around, you are sure to be feelin cool and content.
Winterize your Sprinkler System
While this item on our “Honey-Do” list straddles the line between home and yard maintenance, it is certainly worth mentioning, and a project worth tackling while you are on a roll. As we have discussed in previous articles, if you are looking to keep your yard looking green and lush throughout the remainder of the fall months, while setting yourself up for success in this department come spring, then you’ll want to keep those sprinklers running just a bit longer. Depending on where exactly in the country you reside, the appropriate time to turn off your sprinklers for the season can vary greatly. However, when the temperatures in your hometown begin to drop consistently, you’ll want to pay close attention to the upcoming weather predictions. You will certainly want to have your sprinkler system winterize before the first hard freeze of the season (ideally, this should be done about a week prior), in order to protect pipes and avoid a costly, and frustrating fix later. This is a project easily tackled by an eager DIYer, or even more easily tackled by hiring a professional.