Prep Your House For Fall in 7 Easy Steps

Sweater weather is right around the corner, but before you cozy up in front of the fire with your steamy--or spiked--beverage of choice, you’ll need to prep your home for the coming season. The changing of the seasons is a big transition for your house, both inside and out. That means tackling a few crucial tasks, from yard work to light HVAC maintenance. We’ll be totally upfront--not all these tasks are fun. That’s why we put together a handy list to help you check ‘em off so you can get back to enjoying the fall festivities. 

Clean your gutters

Gutters are pretty unfussy in terms of maintenance, but they do need a little TLC at the end of summer. Leaves, grass clippings, and rodents have a tendency to set up shop in your gutters during warm weather. This leads to clogs, which creates problems like leaky gutters and flooding. Fast forward to winter, and clogged gutters can even lead to dreaded ice dams. Cleaning your gutters ensures they’re clear and unobstructed for the cold weather ahead. 

You can also spring for a gutter cover to stop leaves from blowing into your gutter. No more rickety ladders or dirty gutter cleaning jobs! 

Pack up your outdoor furniture

Nothing takes the cheery gleam off summer furniture quite like a relentless freeze and thaw cycle. It doesn’t matter if the label boldly claims it can withstand hurricane-like conditions. Freezing temperatures, ice, and bitter winds will take their inevitable toll on even the sturdiest pieces. A waterproof furniture cover like this one by Enzeno will help take the edge off the worst of the winter weather. Even better is a nice, dry storage space like a garage or shed. Your furniture will thank you! 

Patch up any cracks in your driveway

You know those tiny cracks in your driveway? The ones you only see when you kneel down to tie your shoelaces? Ice has a way of getting into those little, barely-there cracks and making them...big. Way bigger, given enough time. That’s why it’s important to patch up any little cracks in the pavement before freezing weather comes your way. Pop a little concrete crack sealer over it and call it a day!   

Drain your outdoor faucets

As the balmy rays of summer fade into fall, you’ll find yourself packing up the sprinkler and kiddy pool. Don’t forget to disconnect the garden hose from the outdoor spigot and allow excess water to drain. This is an easy step to forget, but the oversight can be disastrous for your plumbing--like, exploding pipes disastrous. 

Check your windows for drafts

Feel a cold breeze near certain windows or doors? It’s not your imagination. Drafty windows account for up to 30% of energy used in the home, according to the US Department of Energy. That means higher bills, a bigger carbon footprint, and a stressed-out furnace. Luckily, this is an easy fix with the right supplies. Weatherstripping and window film are affordable and DIY-friendly. For a more permanent (and visually appealing) solution, you can spring for a nice set of insulated curtains

Freshen up HVAC air filters

There’s nothing like coming home on a cold winter day and taking a deep breath of...ice-cold air. Psyche! That’s no fun at all. Changing your air filter every couple months will keep your HVAC system running smoothly all winter long. A fresh filter also seriously improves your home’s air quality and lowers your heating bills. It’s a win-win! And if you want to take your environmental stewardship to the next level, you can invest in a reusable air filter. These flexible filters are made of a sturdy mesh and are tough enough to last for years. 

Replace your batteries

No, this isn’t a tongue-in-cheek reference to getting caffeinated on pumpkin spice lattes, although you can accomplish this task with one in hand. All of your home’s battery-powered systems, like the thermostat, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors will need a fresh pair of batteries for fall. Even if your device is hard-wired to your home’s electrical system, fresh batteries will keep these life-saving devices running during a power outage. 

What other steps do you do to prep your home for fall? Let us know in the comments! 

4 Signs You Need Replacement Siding

Siding is one of the most essential features of your home’s exterior. Not only does it give your home style and appeal, but it also has the lofty job of protecting it from the elements.

That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your siding’s health. Once siding starts to break down, it can no longer effectively protect the underlying framing and insulation. And that leads to all kinds of issues, like mildew, wood rot, and pest infestations. Yikes!  

Luckily, your siding will start dropping hints when it’s ready to be replaced. Here are some common warning signs that the time has come for replacement siding:

Mold

Mold is always a bad sign, no matter where in your house it pops up. Siding is no exception. When mildew grows on siding, it looks like gray or greenish stains. It may appear on all exterior walls of your home, or just in certain areas.

While mold doesn’t necessarily mean you need brand new siding (you may be able to powerwash it or scrub it off), it’s certainly a sign that your siding needs some TLC. However, if the mold is extensive or was left to grow for a long period of time, your siding may be damaged and need replacement. Especially if you have wood siding, which is more delicate and prone to weather damage than vinyl.

image via Aardvark Power Washing

Warping

Healthy siding will lay flush against the exterior walls of your home, with each board stacked neatly atop the next. They should like the crisp horizontal lines on a piece of notebook paper. If your siding is instead bowing or arching away from the wall, that’s a serious problem. It usually means the siding has suffered from water damage, pest activity, or poor installation. Although warping is most common for wood siding, homeowners are often surprised that it can happen to vinyl siding as well.

image via Reddit

Gaps and cracks 

Just like holes in a suit of armour, siding with visible gaps or cracks can’t protect what lies underneath. Water from passing rainstorms and melting snow will eventually make their way through the gaps. Insects and rodents may decide to seek warmth and refuge beneath your siding. Cracked siding can even lead to drafts, which make your home less comfortable and energy efficient. As you can see, siding gaps can lead to a whole trove of problems!

Discoloration

Siding is routinely exposed to wind, rain, hail, sunlight, and anything else mother nature can throw at it. All of that exposure will eventually take a toll on your siding. Each type of siding will react differently to the elements. For wood siding, you may see peeling paint like the image below. However, vinyl siding isn't painted because it's manufactured in a specific color. Instead, it fades in the sun, so certain areas of your home may look lighter or darker than others.

So, do any of these red flags sound familiar? If so, your home is an excellent candidate for replacement siding. Fortunately, there are lots of exterior remodeling companies out there that can help you upgrade your siding. Just be sure to check out their reviews before you let them anywhere near your house!