winter ready & fall projectsSummer brings sunny days and barbecues, but after Labor Day when the weather gets a little cooler, it's time to take care of some winterizing duties around the home. It's also important to think about renovations and improvements that might be necessary before the snow starts to fall.

The time to handle winterizing isn't when you're already shoveling the sidewalk. Fall is a great time to enjoy the cool temperatures and to say goodbye to summer with tasks like getting things inspected, doing some cleaning, and changing things that work differently in the winter (like ceiling fans).

Simple Tasks Anyone can Do

Some projects require a professional and others are perfect for a weekend of home improvements. Consider the following projects Fire Safety: Check smoke alarms and make sure they're installed in all bedrooms and on every level of the home. Do you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen? Maybe now's the time to install one. Write down emergency numbers and place lists near all the phones in the home. Roof Integrity: Remove leaves from the gutters and make sure the gutters aren't leaking or deteriorating. Afraid of heights? Get a professional's help and get the job done in a few hours instead of an entire weekend of frightening hours spent on a ladder. Check the Filters: Change the air filter of your HVAC system. It's not just the AC that requires a clean air filter to work properly. For an environmentally-friendly angle, consider buying a washable filter. Ceiling Fans: Did you know that ceiling fans work in the summer and winter? You can switch the direction the fans turn to help the heater in the winter. According to the Department of Energy:
In the winter, reverse the motor and operate the ceiling fan at low speed in the clockwise direction. This produces a gentle updraft, which forces warm air near the ceiling down into the occupied space.

Important Fall Inspections

Skipping a roof inspection or forgetting about the water heater in the basement for a few years might not seem like a terrible mistake. However, tiny problems that might take a contractor or handyman a few hours to fix could turn into major problems in the middle of the winter or after a few seasons of abuse from winter storms and snowfall.

Inspections you'll want to think about in the fall include the heating system and the water heater, as well as the roof. Does your home use well water or a septic system? It might be time for a tune-up. Check the windows and doors for gaps and places where cold air might seep in during a cold, windy day.

The area around your home may also benefit from an inspection of features like trees and electrical wires. Do any of the trees around your home look like they might hit an electrical wire during a storm? If the branches are high and need some cutting, call a landscaper or tree removal company.

Tip: Consider an energy audit of your home. The results will help you decide how to improve your home before the winter winds start to blow.

Roof Care for the Winter

According to "This Old House,"
Maintaining a sound roof literally tops the list of crucial home repairs: It keeps you and your family warm and dry, along with everything in your house.
Roof problems aren't always apparent until the damage is already severe. Hidden damage is one of the most important reasons to take a fine tooth comb to your roof before the winter so problems don't become a catastrophe in the middle of a week of subzero temperatures.

Even if your roof was just installed a few years ago, it's never too early to have a seasonal inspection performed. That single shingle that's curled up and no longer flush with the roof could signal that more problems are on the way.

Remember: Winter brings ice and snow, and fixing roof problems in the winter is costly and dangerous.

It's also important to take a look at the attic and the structural integrity of the roof, as well as the condition of the insulation. According to "The Chicago Tribune,"

A big snowfall will stay on the roof of a well-insulated house until the sun melts it, or the wind blows it away — one reason rafters are designed to carry a lot more than shingles.

Considering an Exterior Remodeling Project?

Want to prepare for winter before the temperatures require long underwear and a scarf? Contact Erdmann Exterior Designs Ltd for a Free in Home Consultation to find out how we can help you repair, replace, and improve your home's roof and appearance.