With the kids back in school and the sun rising later, it’s time to get your home ready for fall. Here’s what you should do before cold weather arrives.
Fall is the perfect time to prepare your home for the cold months ahead. Even though there may be a few summery days in the forecast, don’t put off these tasks. You’ll prevent costly damage and reduce your winter heating costs. Plus, your home will look and feel cozier once you’re done getting it ready for fall.
You only need a weekend to tackle these tasks. From simple changes in your home’s decor to what you should clean while the weather’s still nice, you’ll be ready no matter how unpredictable the forecast is.
Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Autumn
Home Decor You Should Change for Fall
Cooler temperatures mean it’s time to get your favorite cozy clothes out of storage. Fall is a great time to swap out your home’s textiles and furnishings, too.
Hang Heavier Drapes and Curtains
Hanging heavier drapes in the fall helps insulate your home. Darker colors absorb the sun’s heat through windows, which adds heat to your home. Open your curtains once the sun rises but close them before sunset to trap the warmth indoors. Don’t forget to clean your summer curtains before storing them, though.
Your living room’s fireplace is a natural focal point for your furniture in colder months. So, part of getting your home ready for fall often means rearranging rooms. Moving seating areas away from drafty windows and doors also helps you stay warmer. And when you’re warm sitting in your favorite spot, you’re less likely to crank up the thermostat. (Here are more ways to help lower heating bills.)
Rotate Area Rugs and Cushions
Bright summer sunlight fades fabrics. Lots of use wears out rugs and cushions, too. To help them fade and wear evenly, rotate your area rugs at the end of summer. Do the same with sofa and chair cushions, also. Don’t forget to add cozy throw blankets and pillows to help get your home ready for fall’s chilly nights, too.
What to Clean After Summer Ends
Kids play outside a lot more in the summer, but they also track a lot of dirt into your home. You may have put off some housework in favor of enjoying those bright, sunny days, too. Even if you’re not up for an official Fall Cleaning, here’s how to get rid of summer’s grime.
Shampoo Your Carpets
Cleaning your carpet reduces dust and odors in your home. This is a perfect task to do when you’re getting your home ready for fall. Cooler days mean you can open your windows to help your carpets dry faster without causing mildew. Be sure to vacuum well first, then follow these steps to shampoo your carpets like a pro.
Wash Your Windows and Inspect Screens
Summer dust, storms, and pollen all leave windows grimy. Sometimes, you don’t even know how dirty they are until you’ve cleaned them. Washing windows is best done on a cool, overcast day, which makes them another great task to help get your home ready for fall. All you need is a bucket, a squeegee, and a homemade window cleaner that doesn’t streak. Make sure your screens are in good shape, too, or remove them for winter if you’re in an area that gets a lot of hail.
Clean and Reverse Ceiling Fan Blades
Ceiling fans get super dusty over the summer. To clean them, use an extension pole and a ceiling fan brush. Then, push the switch on the side of the motor housing to reverse their direction. When the blades rotate clockwise, they pull warm air down from the ceiling into your room where you need it.
Clean Your Storage Areas
The end of summer is an excellent time to make sure your garage, basement, and attic are free of mold and spider infestations. Don’t feel like you need to get them areas spic and span, but do give them a little attention. Look for cracks and water damage while you’re in there, too.
Get Your Heating System Ready for Winter
Whether you rely on a furnace or fireplace for heat–or both–there are a few steps you should take before you fire it up. It’s always best to do this early in the season before repair companies get busy, so try to do it when you’re getting your home ready for fall. Once winter sets in, you won’t enjoy shivering for several days until they get your heat working again.
Seal Cracks And Gaps Around Doors and Windows
Eliminating gaps will keep your warm air inside and the cold air out. To discover hidden gaps, hold a lit stick of incense or a candle in your hand. Move it around your window and door frames slowly. If the smoke or flame flutters, you’ve got a gap. Seal it with caulk or weatherstripping. You’ll save your heating system extra work, and that will save you money, too.
Clean Your Furnace and Change Filters
A quick service inspection keeps your furnace running well all winter. But you can get your home’s furnace ready for fall by cleaning it yourself in minutes. All you need to do is shut off the system and remove the cover. Then, vacuum away dust, change the filter, and put the cover back on. Finish up by making sure nothing flammable’s near your system. (Related: How to Clean Your Home’s Air Ducts.)
Change Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Some people change their batteries during Spring Cleaning. Others wait until Daylight Saving Time ends on November 1. The important thing is that you change them each year, so you know they’re working to protect your family. Remember to dust your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, too, so their sensors can do their job.
Reprogram Your Thermostat
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider getting one–you’ll save a bunch of money. Set it only to run when you’re home, or to kick on right before you return. Then program a low temp at bedtime when you are warm under the covers. This one even lets you set a different schedule for every day of the week.
Clean Your Fireplace and Get Your Chimney Inspected
Give your fireplace some TLC as you’re getting your home ready for autumn. Sweep away dust and cobwebs, so you don’t have to smell them burning when you light your first fire of the season. Use a little soapy water and a scrub brush to clean soot from your fireplace walls, too. And, if yours is a wood-burner, be sure to get your chimney professional inspected. Hidden build-up can keep your fireplace from venting correctly and put your family at risk.
Stock up on Firewood
If you have a wood-burning fireplace or fire pit, stock up on firewood before the demand peaks. You might even be able to find free firewood near you. Don’t forget to refill your stash of marshmallows to roast over your home’s wood fire, too!