Summer is over and as we enter, begrudgingly, into fall, there are certain projects you will want to do around the house before winter hits.
Repair your roof - a roofing expert is well worth the money for an evaluation of the age and damage of your roof. While patches and repairs can be made to help extend the life of your roof, doing this annually can ensure that a batch of heavy snow doesn't find its way into your living room.
Outdoor lighting - the days will soon get shorter, which means more work for your outdoor lights. Make sure that all outdoor lighting works well and exposed wires are hidden safely from the elements. Replace light fixtures and light bulbs to ensure that you, your tenants, and visitors have a safely lit walk way.
Prep decks and wooden stairs/rails for winter - treating your wood decks is one thing that a lot of home owners fail to do. By preparing your decks now, they will not only experience less wear and tear from the winter elements, but they will last far longer, saving you more money.
Remove refuse, leaves and dying plants, trees - while this job might not be that of a handyman, it is still important to clear walk ways and common areas of trash and decaying plants, trees or bushes now. Doing so will reduce any potential injuries and also allow plants, trees and bushes to grow back in the spring and in better condition.
Stock up on salt - why wait until the first freeze to pick up bags of salt? Most home stores begin stocking the product in fall. By picking it up early, you reduce the chance of getting to the store only to find it is sold out of salt. Salt that you need to keep your property's walk ways and common areas clear and reduce any injuries that you will be liable for.
Check your insulation - if you've experienced a few colder than you'd like winters, then now is the time to invest in insulation. Insulation not only will keep you more comfortable during Chicago's cold winters, but it will save you money. The same goes for warmer temperatures like Miami, where it can be randomly very cold or unusually warm during winter. Again, the investment will save lots of money over time, keeping you both cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
Check your thermostat - along the lines of above, most people do not consider that an inefficient thermostat can drive up costs in winter and summer. An overly sensitive thermostat can mean that your HVAC goes on more frequently, costing you much more. A simple replacement of the thermostat can save you a lot of money. Moveover, you want to have a professional check your HVAC system. If you home seems a little too dusty, then it may be time to have your vents cleaned, which reduces efficiency and can enhance allergies.
Check your washer and dryer - frozen pipes are one of the greatest fears of a home or property owner. Ensuring that the pipes, and hoses, are clean, clear and replaced, if needed, before winter will save you headaches and money. One common area of frozen pipes is in the laundry room and with that...
Have a plumber check out your pipes - a family member of ours had their basement redesigned. It was beautiful with bamboo floors, custom bar, game and work areas and a new laundry room with sink and folding station. That winter, the first winter, the pipes in the laundry room - on an outside wall - froze and water flowed throughout their brand new basement. They learned that better insulation would have helped make a difference, and to simply open doors and turn the faucet on to drip on particularly cold days.
Get your water heater and furnace services- what's worse than getting into a cold shower on a cold day? Not much. Moreover, who wants to wake up on the first chilly morning to a furnace that's decided to poop out. Not good for working from home and remote learning. Having a professional come out to take a look at your water heater and furnace can allow them to ensure their efficiency and give you an idea of when you might need to replace them. This allows you to work into your home budget how much you need to save before replacing one or both, which softens the blow when its time. Being proactive on this will reduce a lot of stress in the long run. We recommend you have them checked once a year.
Install new draft-proof window treatments to help keep the cold, and heat, out - An easy solution to help keep your home warmer, and save money on energy costs.
Replace window and door sealants, or replace door, if necessary - we don't regularly look at the seals of our windows and doors, but these are big suspects in letting unwanted cold, and hot, air inside. This very affordable option will save big money down the road.
Warm up your floors - why wait until the first cold morning before deciding to put down electric flooring under some new floors. Do it now and on that first cold morning you will have the security of knowing your bathroom floor will be nice and warm on your toesies.
Clean out your fireplace - there is nothing worse than turning on your fireplace on the first cold evening, opening the flu and having nothing but soot, dirt, leaves and dust come flowing dwn onto the fireplace. Maybe you disrupt a family of birds or squirrels that have taken up residence from the cold winter temps. If you light this, your home will become filled with smoke. All of a sudden that nice evening with a fire that you were looking forward to becomes a cleaning mess and urgent phone calls to a chimney sweep. Take care of it now and rest assured that you will not have a worry all winter.