Fall is upon us and the summer heat has finally broken. Fall is probably my favorite time of year because with the foliage and cooler temps I just love being outdoors. Once fall is here it’s important to get your old house ready for the seasonal changes.
I’ve put together a simple fall home maintenance checklist and that shouldn’t take you more than one day or at the most one weekend to make sure you are ready to enjoy the weather and be prepared for the winter that will inevitably follow this great season.
There’s lots of savings to be found here, whether it’s in comfort, utility bills, or preventative maintenance so do your best to grab some of these tips and get yourself ready for the “-ber” months that lie ahead.
Now’s the time to finish any window projects like reglazing or painting before the temperature dips below 55° consistently because glazing putty and paints won’t cure below that temperature.
It’s also time to swap out those screens for storm windows. Give the screens a good hosing off and consider cleaning your windows as well so you can enjoy the fall foliage and not be stuck with dirty windows all winter. Who are you fooling when you say you’ll clean them later? Once the freezing temps hit, your windows will be dirty until spring so time is of the essence.
If you don’t have storm windows consider making your own DIY storm windows with the video tutorial below. It’s a fun DIY-friendly project and the cost and comfort gains you get by adding storm windows are huge. If you’ve got the time this is a great fall home improvement project.
It could probably go under the windows section, but I felt like it fit better here since this is an interior project you can do anytime in the fall no matter the weather. Swapping the lighter, airy curtains of summer for heavy winter drapes can make big improvements in your comfort and heating bills this winter.
Make sure you use these properly by closing them at night when the sun has gone down and then opening them all the way when the sun is shinning to take advantage of the solar heat gain you can get during the day to keep your house warmest.
Gutters & Roofs
Nobody likes cleaning gutters, but I bet you like it better than ice dams and huge icicles in the winter, right? Once the majority of the leaves have cleared off your trees it’s extremely important to get your gutters as clean as possible to allow that melt water to run off and down the downspout. Having clogged gutters causes more damage than just about anything in the winter.
I’ve written about some of my favorite gutter cleaning tools in the post The 6 Best Gutter Cleaning Tools so you can find everything from cheap and simple to high-tech and pricey. Also, before you clean the gutters go climb up on that roof and sweep or blow the trapped leaves off so you have a clean roof for the winter. That provides an extra level of protection against snow and ice problems.
Like I mentioned above, painting below 55° is a big no-no. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but you need to make some special accommodations if you expect that paint to ever cure. My post How To: Paint in Cold Weather will be a major life saver if you miss your window of opportunity.
Before the winter rains hit you want to go around and touch up any chips in the paint wherever you find them, but the big thing to consider is painting your porch and steps. This is a perfect fall project because these surfaces will be covered in snow or rain all winter and you want them to be well protected since water is no friend to wood. A fresh coat of paint will keep these endangered surfaces safe during the harsh winter and they’ll be ready for action come spring.
Before the weather really turns cold you wanna make sure that your heating plant is working properly. For a lot of us that means checking radiators to make sure all is well. In the off season it’s possible for air to get into your hot water radiators and this can prevent the radiator from heating evenly or as well as it could.
The solution is to bleed your radiators to remove the excess air so you get back to full functionality. I’ve written a post about just how to do this right here called How To: Bleed a Radiator that will walk you through the steps and diagnosis for this project.
Now that wasn’t so bad was it? A day or two of fall home maintenance work to get that old house all gussied up for winter will help her treat you well the rest of fall and winter. Stay warm and enjoy those “-ber” months before the really cold weather traps you indoors this year.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.