Top 5 Things to Prepare Your Home for Fall/Winter

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Top 5 Things to Prepare Your Home for Fall/Winter Months

 

1.    Make sure you winterize your sprinkler system

During the warm months of the year, your sprinklers save you from the hassle of maintaining a lush, green lawn. This doesn’t mean, however, that your sprinkler system doesn’t require maintenance of its’s own. In most states, it is best to shut down your sprinkler system in the fall and turn it back on in the spring. 

If you live in an area where the ground temperatures can dip below freezing, then you will want to properly prepare your sprinkler system by following the winterize steps below. Some of these steps you can do on your own, but others will require the expertise of a professional. 

Step 1: Shut off the water with the main valve. This is commonly found near your water meter. If the system has valves to prevent backflow, be sure to shut these off too. 

Step 2: Turn off the timer. Some systems may have a particular mode that allows you to turn off the automatic timer without losing your programmed settings for when you turn it back on. 

Step 3: Drain the water that is already in the system. This will probably be the most time-consuming step, but it is also one of the most important ones. Depending on what type of sprinkler system you have, you will use one of three draining methods: manual draining, automatic draining, blow-out draining. Some of these methods will require a professional, so we recommend consulting with an expert on which method is best for your system. 

Step 4: Insulate the above-ground components of your sprinkler system by wrapping them in foam covers or insulation tape. If doing this on backflow preventers, be sure to not block any vents/outlets. 

Every sprinkler system comes with a manufacturer’s user manual that you can refer back to when winterizing your system. The steps listed above are pretty generic, so make sure to check your manual to see if your particular sprinkler system requires any special steps. 

2.    Enjoy the leaves but don’t forget to clean out your gutters 

The gutters on your home are vital to proper water drainage. They help protect your roof, walls, foundation, and landscape from the flow of rainwater. Clogged cutters can lead to water damage on both the interior and exterior of your home. 

You could do this job yourself, but it can be dangerous. We recommend hiring a professional to get the job done. 

In addition to getting your gutters cleaned out, adding gutter covers can prevent debris from settling into your covers and might save you some time and money in the future. 

3.    Get your chimney cleaned and ready for cozy fires 

Getting cozy and unwinding next to a fire after a long day is one of the best ways to get through the colder fall and winter months. Make sure to get your fire place cleaned and inspected before these warm rituals turn into a safety risk. Too often, house fires could be prevented if homeowners invested in a chimney cleaning and inspection. 

Here are a few reasons why having your chimney cleaned and inspected before winter months can save you money and protect your home and family… 

·      Along with your gutters, chimneys can also get clogged up with debris and sometimes even animal nests. If you light a fire when      your flue is blocked, you could spark a fire or become exposed to carbon monoxide when it comes back into your house since it can’t escape through the flue. 

·      The dark, tar-like substance that sometimes lines the walls of your chimney is creosote. This is a highly flammable chemical that forms in your chimney when you burn wood. A stray spark or even just high temperatures can easily ignite creosote and can cause damage to your chimney and surrounding areas of your house. Hiring a professional is the surest way to remove all of the creosote from your chimney. 

·      Having the flue of your chimney cleaned at least once a year can keep it in better condition so it lasts longer. The flue is the chimneys first defense against a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning, so it is an important piece to keep clean. 

4.    Get your furnace serviced 

Getting your furnace serviced before switching your system to heat is an important step in preparing for fall and winter months. A properly maintained system will ensure maximum heat output without wasting energy. Getting a jump on your furnace maintenance will allow you time for repairs if needed before the cold weather arrives. 

Proper maintenance tasks for your homes furnace might be difficult to do on your own. It is always a good idea to hire a professional to inspect the system and ensure that it’s running properly. 

5.    Don’t forget to mulch 

By adding mulch to the areas of your landscape that have soil, you are providing insulation to the soil in order to create a warmer environment during the cold season. Fall mulch can insulate plant roots, help organisms in your soil stay alive and active, and can prevent freezing and thawing patterns. The freeze-thaw patterns put stress on anything along the top few inches of soil, but mulch can moderate these temperature swings. 

Below are a few tips for applying your Fall Mulch 

·      Choose a mulch that traps air to provide insulation and warmth to the soil and roots of your plants. 

·      Aim to apply a three-inch thick mulch layer. 

·      Put down your mulch after the leaves fall but before winter arrives.