Have you noticed the temperatures dropping?
Are you starting to pack away your beach bags, or contemplating putting on an extra jumper before you leave the house in the morning?
Before Autumn well and truly arrives, we recommend that you spend some time getting your home ready for the change of seasons.
Being well prepared could save you a huge amount of time, effort, and financial loss if weather conditions worsen and your home is unable to deal with what the elements have in store. Weather in South Australia is often unpredictable so it’s always best to start your preparations as early as possible; a little groundwork can really help you avoid bigger tasks or repair work further down the line.
If you’ve lived in your home for several years, the chances are you’ll know the approximate weather patterns and timings for each season to arrive. If you’re new to the area, it could be worth asking neighbours or community members about previous seasons and the weather they’ve had so you can ensure you concentrate on the right areas.
In addition, consider the type of home you live in. Try to identify possible problem areas; ask yourself which areas might be affected by the change of season and which parts you can check and prepare yourself, and which you may need professional help with. Start making a list of everything you see or think of – it’s easy to forget things when tackling a big project.
Break down your preparation plans into sections. You may want to divide these into physical locations within your home – such as roof, walls, yard and garage. You’ll also want to draw up a rough schedule of when you’ll do each task by and figure out what areas you should view as a priority over which ones may be ongoing.
INSIDE YOUR HOME
You’ll be spending far more time inside during the Autumn and Winter months so it’s vital to get your home as comfortable and weather-proof as possible before the Summer finally draws to a close.
We’ve shortlisted the key areas to focus on when getting the inside of your home ready for Autumn:
- Furnace Inspection
Keeping your furnace in good condition is one of the most important things you can do. Safety wise it’s essential to ensure air safety and to avoid fatal occurrences such as carbon monoxide poisoning.
You’ll also find that a quick check from an HVAC professional can test your heating efficiency, which may help you to stay warmer for less in the cooler months.
An HVAC professional will also help you to check all your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors but always make sure you replace batteries on these immediately if they expire.
- Drafts and Temperature Control
Drafts can make even the cosiest of homes feel like a wind tunnel and they are in fact easily avoidable. To avoid feeling the chill, identify where the drafts are coming from – this is usually around doors and windows. You can often replace the seals cheaply, purchase draft strips from hardware stores or opt for a thicker curtain or blind option in more extreme cases.
To more efficiently control the temperature in your home, make sure you have a programmable thermostat. You’ll immediately see substantial cuts to your heating bill by simply programming the temperature to be automatically reduced overnight or when you are away from the home.
OUTSIDE THE HOME
Once the inside of your home is cosy and warm, you’ll want to keep it that way. Don’t let exterior issues cause you a headache this Autumn. Get everything in good shape before the bad weather starts – working on key areas such as the roof, chimneys and garden.
- Roof, Windows and Doors
Start at the top. The roof is one of the most structurally crucial parts of your home so take the time to inspect it – either from a distance with binoculars, or up close if you have easy access to it. Check for any damaged or missing shingles, and if it’s a flat roof make sure you remove all debris and leaves.
Windows and doors can be reinforced during the cooler months so replace Summer screens with more durable materials. Storm windows and doors should be used if you live in an area that is prone to extreme weather conditions.
Some people like to pressure wash the exterior of their home and repair any damaged paintwork on the windows, walls and doors.
- By the fire
There’s nothing nicer than a wood fire in the middle of winter so make sure you have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected before you want to use it. You’ll also want to buy or collect a good supply of firewood for the cooler weather and store it away from the house if possible.
You can easily spot damage to siding as it’ll show up as cracks or holes.
Walk around your home and note any areas you think may need repairing.
Generally, it’s a good idea to get a professional to help with your gutter repairs and cleaning (we can help!).
All your gutters should be clear of leaves and debris and it’s best to check for leaks on a regular basis.
IN THE YARD
Whatever size or shape it may be, Autumn is an excellent time to tidy up your yard and to have all your outdoor equipment cleaned, serviced or stored away when not in use. We’ve highlighted a few of the main tasks you should consider doing in Autumn;
- Taps and Hoses: make sure that you drain your garden hose and disconnect it to avoid expensive leaks or the potential for water to freeze. All taps that are outside the house should be shut off as well as the valves that may be inside the home.
- Sprinklers: if you use sprinklers or irrigation systems in the summer, the chances are you won’t need them once the weather changes and you’re less focussed on perfecting your lawn or keeping vegetables and plants watered. It’s good to have this type of equipment serviced or to check it yourself before storing for the winter.
- Trees, bushes, shrubs, and leaves: have a look around your garden and do a visual inspection of any potentially dangerous trees that could fall over or have loose hanging branches. Trim back bushes and shrubs and bring in any plants or flowers that can’t survive cooler temperatures. Make sure you sweep up leaves to avoid them ending up in drain pipes, guttering or on pathways.
- Furniture: whatever material it may be, if you have summer furniture it’s best to take care when storing it for the winter. Make sure it’s all cleaned and cushions or fabrics are taken inside. Furniture should be stored in a dry environment – you can take the opportunity to rearrange the shed too!
IN THE GARAGE
You should treat your garage as a combination of interior and exterior space. You’ll want to give it the care and attention you devote to the indoors, yet you will also need to use it as a space to store much of the exterior equipment you have outside during the Summer months.
- Equipment Switching: It’s likely you’ve had some fun over the summer months with equipment that now needs storing over the winter. This could include anything from a motorbike or boat, to children’s toys.
Now that it’s heading into the colder months take the time to organise your garage and work out what will be needed when. It’s also a great time to ensure that all the summer power equipment such as lawnmowers and trimmers are in good working condition.
- Get Prepared: You may have an emergency generator in your garage in case of power outages in the home. Always make sure you’re fully prepared for an emergency by testing this prior to the winter months. It’s also useful to have extra stores of gasoline in case you’re snowed in and need fuel for machinery such as snow blowers. Take care to store this out of reach of children.
READY TO SAY GOODBYE TO SUMMER?
Whilst every home is different and how individual buildings hold up will depend greatly on the type of climate they are located in, it’s always best to be prepared for cooler months and the changing of seasons.
By taking some time to really prepare your home, whatever size or style it is, you’ll be giving yourself the peace of mind that things are in full working order and you shouldn’t be subject to unexpected issues. You could potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in emergency call outs, expensive repairs or wasted energy costs.
Saying goodbye to the warmer months doesn’t have to be stressful.
Make sure you enjoy the Autumn for the beautiful changing colours and the cooler temperatures rather than worrying about how your house is going to cope in its current condition.
Start early, prepare as much as possible and then head inside and enjoy the warmth!