September 22 marked the first day of spring, and with the weather already hitting single digits, leaving some scrambling to dig out their sweaters and jackets, it appears that—in the words of Game of Thrones character Ned Stark—winter is coming.
For homeowners, that means getting your home ready for the colder weather to ensure that you keep things running efficiently and avoid potentially expensive damage resulting from failing to prepare for the dropping temperatures.
Fall is the perfect time to start getting things ready; below are five things every homeowner should have on their to-do list.
Drain exterior water lines
This should be one of the first things you do as the seasons change; failing to turn off and drain your outside water lines can cause them to freeze. While they technically may thaw, leaving your home unscathed, trapped air can cause the pipes to burst, which can be a nightmare, especially in the winter. Considering it takes roughly 10 minutes of effort, it is certainly not a risk worth taking.
Replace your furnace filter
As chilly nights force you to crank your furnace to keep things comfortably toasty, it's worth starting the season with a brand-new air filter. While they sometimes go overlooked, dirty filters force your furnace to work harder than it should due to decreased airflow. This can reduce efficiency and lifespan as well as dramatically affect your home's air quality.
Check your roof (including shingles and flashing)
This one may require a professional, as homeowners need to climb up and navigate their roof, looking for missing shingles, damaged flashing or vents that aren't adequately sealed. These things can lead to more significant damage throughout the winter months—particularly as snow melts or rain falls, allowing water into your home. If you do find that repairs are necessary, it may be worth checking your attic, basement and crawl spaces for leaks or moisture.
Make sure doors and windows are sealed
It's wise to inspect the weather stripping and caulking seal around your doors and windows, taking the time to remove and replace anything that is overly weather-beaten or damaged. This is especially important for helping to keep the hot air in your home from escaping, which can force your furnace to work harder—costing you more money than you might otherwise not have to spend.
Check eavestroughs and downspouts
As the leaves begin to fall, it's not uncommon for them to clog up your eavestroughs, which ultimately restricts water flow—which can lead to sitting water. In winter, this water can freeze, causing the eavestroughs to sag, bow or become otherwise unaligned (at a considerable expense to homeowners).
Lastly, as with every season, it's wise to test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, replacing batteries or actual units as necessary.
Did your seasonal checklist bring to light the need for a larger-than-expected renovation? Contact LendCare today to find out how we can turn large contractor bills into smaller, manageable payments.