It’s the end of August, which means that change will be coming to New England soon enough. Autumn is arguably the best time to live here, as the weather gets cool and crisp, the nights get a little longer, and the colors begin to change. As we all well know, Autumn leads to Winter, which means there is work to do. What tasks do you have on your Autumn home project list? Here are some suggestions as you create your autumn home improvement list.
Start with a Head-to-Toe Exam
This is the perfect time to give the exterior of your home a top-to-bottom inspection, starting with your roof. The Boston Globe recently published a helpful article about how to assess whether to patch your roof, replace it or leave it alone for another season. If your roof is on your mind, invest the time to get a professional to take a look. Winter is a stressful time for your roof. If there are any concerns about it now, they may be exacerbated by the freezing and thawing from changing temperatures, and weight and moisture of snow. While you are up there, clean out your gutters in preparation for Autumn rains and falling leaves. Gutters prevent water from pooling around the foundation of your home, causing costly damage.
If you have not done so in previous winters, take a look at any exterior piping around your home and consider insulating them to prevent freezing and damage when the temperature drops. Make sure ventilation for your septic tank is not blocked, and if you are due for it, consider getting your septic pumped now before the first snowfall comes.
Heat Sources Need Attention
Cozying up to a fireplace or wood-burning stove in the winter can sincerely be a joy in the Fall and Winter. But proper maintenance is crucial to prevent catastrophic house fires. Hiring a professional to clean out flues and chimneys as well as inspecting for blockages or leaks not only prevents fire, but also prevents potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you rely on oil to heat your home, it may be a good idea to have your oil tank inspected before your first cold-season delivery. Many full-service oil delivery companies will perform an inspection of your tank and your boiler during that first delivery. If they don’t offer it, ask for it.
Pack It In
To keep your home warm in the winter, keeping the cold air out is just as important as making the air warm within. Check your windows and doors for drafts. Install weather stripping and door sweeps to prevent air leaks. If you haven’t already, consider hiring a professional to inspect your insulation and make arrangements to have more installed if needed. There are Massachusetts subsidies for that if you have a certified professional come do the assessment and hire a certified company to do the work.
Maintain the Monitors
Carbon monoxide is a silent, odorless killer that has turned many winter nights into tragedies around New England. If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, now is the time to install one. If you have one and haven’t inspected it for function or battery life, make it a priority to do so. With windows sealed up against the cold and heating systems running at regular intervals, it is imperative that your carbon monoxide monitor be working at its best.
Speaking of monitors, have you installed a programmable thermostat in your home yet? There are plenty of affordable ones out there that are not fancy, but do everything that you need. Automating the changes for your daily heating needs will save you fuel and money when the cold seasons come. This a great time to do your research, pick one you like, and install it.
Get Help if You Need it
This is a long list for sure, and it’s hard to do it all on your own. When in doubt, hire a professional to help you make informed decisions on what your home needs and what it doesn’t. Need help finding the right tools to keep your home warm this winter? Consider getting a professional audit from programs like Revise Energy, which perform an energy and efficiency audit on your home, recommend next steps and provide information on rebates and incentives that make needed improvements more affordable. When you do, you’ll receive quite a few items for busting through this autumn home project list, including a door sweeps, weather stripping and a programmable thermostat if you need them.
When it comes to New England weather, planning is the name of the game. Preparing your home for the winter is essential, but it doesn’t all have to be done in a day. Take the time now to make a list, set a budget and come up with a plan so that your autumn home improvement list doesn’t feel so long or complicated. Don’t forget to enlist the professionals for the big stuff! Your home and family will certainly thank you, and the energy savings will be a pretty sweet reward!
Thinking about the next big step toward energy efficiency for your home? You could be twelve weeks away from going solar if you give us a call. Fill out this form and get in touch!
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