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10 ‘Fall-Proof’ Home Improvement Projects to Finish- Outsmart Mother Nature with These Home Improvement Tips for Fall

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured, Home & Garden

Published on October 31, 2018 with No Comments

By Sara Cifani

Even if you don’t live in a particularly snowy area, winter’s colder, wetter weather can be hard on your home. It can also be hard on your wallet thanks to higher energy bills. But if you start now, you’ll have plenty of time for all the fall maintenance and home improvement tasks needed to keep your house safe and snug during the cold months ahead.

Fall Home Improvement Checklist

1. Seal All Windows and Doors

Apply caulk to any cracks along your window and door frames. If necessary, replace old weather stripping for a sturdy seal against the elements. Felt or foam weather stripping generally needs to be replaced every two years. Rubber, while more expensive upfront, can last up to a decade.

2. Install New Windows

If your windows have problems that some caulk and weather stripping can’t fix, then you should look into replacing them before cold weather—and a higher heating bill—hits. Signs that you need new windows include:

  • Your current windows are more than 15 years old.
  • Condensation or frost often builds up on your windows.
  • Glass is hot to the touch in summer and cold to the touch in winter.
  • There are cracks or signs of rot in the window frame.

3. Complete Roof Repairs

Repair (or hire a contractor to repair) any roof leaks, shingle damage or other issues that have cropped up over the summer. Even minor roof problems can cause major damage over the course of a hard winter. So, complete these home improvements during the fall to head off costly future issues.

4. Repair Driveway Cracks

Apply concrete caulking (for hairline cracks) or concrete sealer (for larger cracks) to any damaged areas of your driveway or other concrete on your property, such as patios or walkways. This can prevent cracks from worsening during the winter.

5. Fertilize Your Lawn and Trees

Apply fertilizer to your lawn and any young trees on your property. Plants benefit more from fertilizer during the spring and fall, when their roots are “resting.” So, use this home improvement tip to keep your landscaping healthy through the winter.

6. Replace an Inefficient Furnace

If your furnace is over 20 years old or no longer works properly, now is the time to install a new one. Consider choosing an Energy Star-rated furnace as your replacement, which could save you up to 20 percent moreon your energy bill each year than you’d pay with a standard model.

7. Install a Smart Thermostat

If you’re looking for more ways to lower your energy bill, installing a smart thermostat is a fall home improvement project that will quickly start to pay for itself. Among other features, a smart thermostat will adjust to an energy-saving mode while no one’s home.

8. Insulate Your Attic

Use a cool, windy fall day to inspect your attic for drafts around plumbing and ventilation pipes. If draftiness is a problem, add a layer of insulation wherever needed. This simple home improvement tip will keep you warmer through the winter and contribute to lower heating bills.

9. Organize Your Garage

As you prepare to put away all your summer items, set aside a weekend to clean the junk out of your garage and organizethe things you’ll be keeping. This might just leave you with enough room to actually park in your garage during the winter!

10. Declutter Seasonal Items

Continue your decluttering inside the house and sort through seasonal clothing, hobby equipment, decorations and other items. Sell or donate whatever you no longer need so that you’ll have a cleaner, more spacious home to hunker down in until spring.

Now that you have your checklist, it’s time to roll up your sleeves while it’s still nice outside. Whether you’re a DIYer or prefer hiring a professional, crossing these projects off you can rest at ease.

Don’t forget

• The Dryer Exhaust Duct. Does it take you two to three cycles to dry a load of laundry? If so, you may need to clean your dryer vent. One in five (21 percent) admit they never clean their clothes dryer ducts, unless they have a problem. But lint build-up can catch fire easily. Over 15,000 dryer fires occurred nationwide from 2010-2014, with the majority being ignited by dust, fiber and lint, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Avoid this disaster with a thorough cleaning at least once a year.

• The Fireplace Chimney. Erie Insurance found nearly half (46 percent) of people who own a home with a fireplace never have their chimneys cleaned. However, uncleaned chimneys are a leading cause of structure fires, reports the National Fire Protection Association. So, get the chimney cleaned before the cold weather hits and you find yourself tossing logs in the hearth to keep the house toasty, and then have it cleaned annually.

 

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