How Homeowners Should Prepare For Fall
Guest Blogger Clara Beaufort
Summer in Chicago is simply amazing. The weather is warm but not too hot, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy outdoors. However, there’s a price to pay for that great season. Fall can be dicey, and a brutal Chicago winter is never too far away.
That’s why you need to prepare your home when fall arrives. Before the weather gets cold and snowy, you should do some maintenance inside and out so your home gets to spring intact. It starts by taking care of your lawn and garden.
Protecting Your Lawn & Garden
Fall looks and feels great, but it can be hard on your plants and grass outside. To help them survive through spring, Living Direct recommends a few ways to protect your lawn:
- Use this time to aerate your lawn so more water and oxygen to reach the soil and grass roots found there.
- Seed your lawn with high-quality grass seeds. Then water frequently to give the seeds the chance to get established before it turns too cold to grow.
- Rake up your leaves so they don’t smother your lawn. Be sure to grind them up into mulch to feed to your outdoor plants.
Speaking of that, your home garden could use a little attention as well.
- For perennials, cut back any dry stems and use compost as a soil conditioner.
- Protect any tender bark on young trees by wrapping them up in wire.
- Clean up any debris (including fallen leaves) from your gardens.
- Spread a winter mulch around trees and shrubs after the ground freezes.
And when the snow starts to fall, make sure you clear off any snow from the bottom branches. This way, snow on the upper branches won’t fall down and add to the weight.
Outdoor Home Maintenance
Once your lawn and garden are prepared for the cold weather, you need to inspect the outside of your home. You know how cold it can get in fall and winter, which is why Angie’s List recommends looking for drafts around doors and windows. Not only can this make your family cold, it can cost you a lot of money.
If you do find any drafts outside, seal them up with caulk. Doors can also get weatherstripping to stop those drafts.
As fall turns into winter, you also need to worry about your gutters. If these get clogged with leaves and other debris, both your gutters and foundation can suffer. If you choose to hire a professional for this task, HomeAdvisor estimates the average cost to have gutters and downspouts cleaned in Chicago is $97 - $154 and takes around 3 hours.
Keeping Warm Inside Your House
Now that the outside is prepared for fall, you need to spend some time indoors. Since this is where your family will spend most of its time during the cold months to come, it makes sense to ensure it stays warm.
Better Homes & Gardens recommends that you get your furnace inspected and cleaned. If this has problems in a Chicago winter, your family will not be happy. An HVAC professional can maintain your furnace so it works right all season long. Make sure that the filter gets replaced as well.
You’ll also want to check for soot buildup in your chimney (if you have a working fireplace) and that any exposed pipes are wrapped and insulated so they don’t freeze.
Prepare Now For Cold Weather
You know how the Chicago weather can quickly get very cold. Now that fall is starting, prepare your house for the colder months. Keep your lawn and garden clean, clear out your gutters, and make sure to get your furnace inspected. This way, your whole family can stay warm this winter as they dream of spring.