As summer ends and fall peeks around the corner, winter waits in the wings. And this means it’s time to prepare your home for the impending chilly temperatures.
Nobody wants to spend the winter in a cold, drafty house. Not only is that a chilly prospect, but it’s a surefire way to waste money on energy bills. Thankfully, small actions like sealing windows and cracks can help you save on energy costs. Use caulk or weather stripping to seal any air leaks around pipes, doors, windows, chimneys and electrical outlets. And consider installing insulated drapes or shades on windows to prevent drafts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use due to air leaks.
Add a layer of plastic over windows and a draft stopper at the base of doors. The plastic covering can create a DIY barrier, which will prevent cold drafts from entering the home. To help with insulating the door, owners can use a ‘draft snake,’ a long piece of material filled with insulating material, at the bottom of the doors.
Clogged gutters can lead to significant problems—and in fact, they can be a sneaky sign of pest infestation. Neglected gutters that are filled with leaves, debris and other things can create improper water drainage, potentially causing costly water damage to the home.
Moreover, standing water that remains in gutters can also lead to rotting, mold and pest infestation. Worst of all when that standing water freezes in the gutters during the colder months, it can cause ice dams, which are extremely dangerous and can irreversibly damage an owner’s gutters, roof and siding.
Changing the air filters in your home can help maximize airflow and make your indoor air system operate more effectively. And that will give you better air quality without using an air purifier.
Since most of us spend about 90% of our time inside during the colder months, it’s essential to monitor your home’s air quality, especially if you or a family member suffer from allergies, asthma or frequent colds.
Beyond air-quality concerns, there’s another reason to change your air filters this fall: Clogged filters increase the energy usage of your HVAC system. Ensure your home has a clean filter every 30 to 90 days to save up to $30 a month.
And be sure to check all your filters. This includes those in furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, humidifiers and air cleaners.
The ideal temperature for your house may differ from season to season, so be sure yours is set properly as fall arrives. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the ideal home temperature for the fall is between 68 and 78 degrees.
Keeping the air inside your home closer to the temperature outside will prevent your HVAC system from overworking. The energy-saving key is lowering the temperature by about 10 to 12 degrees at night or when you’re away from home. You can save as much as 10% yearly in heating and cooling costs by doing this for at least eight hours of the day.
Counting on a warm home this winter? Don’t just hope your furnace is in working order. The best way to prepare a system this fall is to schedule a maintenance appointment to make sure your furnace will work properly in the colder season. During the checkup, technicians inspect the furnace and make the necessary adjustments to ensure the system operates correctly and efficiently.
Fall is a great time to have your deck resealed or stained. After a long, hot summer with the increased traffic, chances are your deck is in need of some TLC.
If your deck is made of composite or is maintenance-free decking, clean the surface with a mild cleaner and a good hose-attached sprayer. Wood decks may need to be power washed or stripped and new sealer stain applied.
By sealing the wood before winter, you will help prevent water infiltration, which can lead to freezing, and then thawing damage created by the surface expanding and contracting from the elements.
As temperatures cool in the fall, it’s a good time to plant perennial flowers in your garden. Several flower varieties grow particularly well during the fall season. But you’ll want to start planting them a few weeks ahead of time, depending on individual maturity timelines.
First, determine if the varieties you’re selecting grow successfully in your grow zone, which you can find by looking at the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map. Plants that attract pollinators are recommended. Coneflower, for example, is guaranteed to bring birds to your garden, and its striking purple color makes it an excellent border flower.
As an added bonus, planting flowers that are easily pollinated by local wildlife and will return every year can help you save money on your garden budget.
The best fall gardens grow successfully with refreshed soil. Using a trowel or a cultivator, till your soil [to a depth of] about 8 to 12 inches, pulling out any rocks or weeds as you go. Removing spent plants and weeds also eliminates cozy homes for overwintering pests, so a good cleanup will also pay off with [fewer] pest problems the following gardening season.
After this is done, replenish the nutrients in your soil by adding in compost or fertilizer, then tilling the soil again so that any amendments are evenly distributed. Next, hydrate the soil. For the best results, consider a drip irrigation system to reduce water usage costs and keep your plants hydrated year-round.
For help, contact Monnick Supply.
135 Maple Street,
Call (508) 318-4788
Mon-Sat 7:00am to 5:00pm
759 Waverly Street,
Call (508) 386-9876
Mon-Sat 7:00am to 5:00pm