It is hard to believe that fall is coming since it still in the 90s in Washington this week. The grass, which is turning brown from the lack of rain, looks more like mid summer but the calendar promises that it is fall. The kids are back in school, which brings back the early morning traffic and the Redskins are already promising a losing season. It must be fall - even if it feels like mid summer! So.... it is time to get the house ready for fall. Here are the honey do items on the list. After all, once you get these done, you can go shopping for spring bulbs and be ready to plant them if .... when the weather turns cool!
Schedule chimney and furnace maintenance. Have the furnace and fireplace checked out. RIght now the contractors aren't busy and you might be able to get a good deal on a service visit. Don't wait until the weather gets cold to check out your furnace, because you can guarantee that it will not work as the frost builds on the inside of your windows! Get your chimney cleaned and serviced too. You want to make sure that there are no animals living in your chimney - and if you don't have a chimney cap, you certainly want to add one! The metal cap with screened sides will protect your roof from burning embers and keep animals from climbing into your chimney!
If you are a lover of wood burning fires, now is the time to order a cord of wood. Just in case you don't know.... A common cord of wood is 4' by 4' by 8'. I remember once my father had a cord of wood delivered, but when it was stacked, the cord did not measure up to a standard cord. After my father measured the cord and insisted on the correct amount of wood, the delivery man packed all the wood back into his truck and left!
Inspect the roof and gutters. You want to wait to clean out the gutters and downspouts until after the leaves have fallen, but you can still give those areas a quick visual inspection now. Pull out any sticks or debris blocking the gutters and check out any worn seals around vent pipes and the chimneys. This is another task you can do yourself or hire someone to do it for you. The contractor cleaning your chimney may be able to clean your gutters while he is on your roof and advise you of any shingles that should be checked further, Don't forget to get the gutters cleaned when the leaves have finished coming down!
Cozy up with warm layers. Winter is coming so you might want to find your flannel sheets and fluffy duvets. Be sure to bring out those blankets and throws that you put away when the weather turned warm. Thicker area rugs and warm curtains will make your rooms feel cozier and may actually keep your home warmer. when it is hot in the summer, a cool floor might feel great on your tootsies, but in the dead of winter as you get out of bed in the morning - a warm carpet will feel so much better!
Remove window AC units. If you use window air-conditioning units, now is the time to either remove them or cover them outside with protective insulation. Removing the units is the better option because this will allow you to close the windows, minimizing winter heat loss. If you choose to leave them in over the winter, be sure to pick up insulating covers made for this purpose and securely attach them outside.
Add weatherstripping. If you have new double paned windows you have good energy efficiency, but if your windows are older, you might want to add weatherstripping to retain heat and stop drafts. If you have added weatherstripping in the past, you might check those areas again and remove or replace any weatherstripping that seems to have lost its effectiveness.
Declutter and organize clothes. As you get ready for a new season, it is a good time to look over your summer clothes. Which ones are ready for Goodwill? Which ones need to be cleaned and which ones are ready to pack away till next May? It is time to pack the Lily Pulitzers away and make room for the sweaters and wools!
Set up a homework or project area. Fall means homework and projects. Even kindergarten students have homework now! UGH! Kids are more likely to get their work done with an area that is comfortable, attractive and well-organized. If you have the room, consider adding a dedicated project table and keep all the necessary supplies at hand.
Maintain the washer and dryer. Cleaning out the dryer vents can be a DIY job, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, you can hire a contractor to do washer and dryer maintenance for you. Washing machine hoses need to be replaced from time to time, because a split hose can cause a leak — which can mean costly damage to your home. Clean dryer vents and hoses will help your machine work more efficiently and reduce the risk of fire. When I decided to clean out my dryer however, I found every con artist in the city of Bethesda.... so... do not go with the Groupon coupon or the cheapest company on the internet. I promise you will regret it!