With its cooler weather and promise of transformation, autumn is an ideal time to tackle cost-effective tasks around the house.
Use this guide to help you spend less in the coming months and give your home some extra TLC before winter arrives.
Grow a garden
A delicious and healthy way to save some green is by planting some of your own. No matter where you live in the United States, you could plant veggies like arugula, lettuce, radishes, spinach, and turnips greens in September. Simply sow their seeds directly in your garden, checking the back of the seed packets to see when they must be planted. This will ensure they have time to grow and yield harvest before your area’s anticipated first frost date.
Flush and shut off water
If temperatures will get below freezing in your area, you can avoid an expensive call to your plumber by winterizing your home’s outdoor water systems. Close water shut-off valves for your faucets and sprinkler system, and then drain them and your hoses of water that could freeze and cause damage. Consider using an air compressor to flush out your sprinkler system—but you may want to hire a professional to complete this task so you don’t risk harming it.
Inspect your roof
From the ground, use a pair of binoculars to scan your roof. Look for missing or broken shingles and dangerous moss or mold. If you spot anything that warrants attention, clean and repair the issue immediately to prevent expensive water damage from occurring in the months ahead; you may want to hire a professional to do this depending on the damage and the height and pitch of your roof.
Clear your gutters
You’ll also want to clean out your gutters before it gets too cold outside, ideally just before winter weather arrives and after most leaves have dropped. Otherwise, your gutters could freeze over and crack, resulting in costly damage. If you plan to hire a contractor, call as soon as you can to ensure you get on their schedule; otherwise, make a note of when you should tackle the task yourself.
Examine windows and doors
Inspect your doors and windows for issues like cracked windowpanes and gaps around their frames. Fix any damage promptly, and apply waterproof caulk or weather stripping to better insulate them and help reduce your utility bills. Using thermal drapes, cellular shades, and door draft stoppers can also help prevent the cold from seeping through your windows and doors.
Check your attic
A poorly insulated attic can allow a significant amount of heat to exit your home, costing you quite a bit over time. Closely examine the insulation in your attic—if it looks compromised or like it’s below or just at the level of your floor joists, you may need more to help keep your home well heated this fall. One option is to add a layer of unfaced fiberglass or loose-fill cellulose insulation for extra protection. You could also get an insulated cover to go over your attic’s entryway to prevent heat from escaping through it.
Maintain your furnace
You’ll definitely want to expand the life span of this essential appliance and help it run efficiently in winter. So schedule a maintenance visit from an HVAC expert as soon as you can this fall and swap out your system’s filter if it’s dirty. These simple tasks can offer a big payback, as they might help provide your home with cleaner air and lower your energy bills.
Keep air vents clear
On that note, your furnace may need to work harder and use more energy if your home’s air vents are blocked by furniture or other bulky objects. Obstructing your vents can also increase the pressure in them, resulting in cracks and leaks. Push furniture several inches away from your vents so heat can circulate freely throughout your home, and be careful not to place items in front of them throughout the season.
Get a smart thermostat
Switching to a programmable thermostat could save you money this fall by helping you reduce your energy consumption. For instance, you could set your thermostat to lower the heat at bedtime when you can easily use a comforter or blankets to warm you. You could also program it to turn the heat down or off completely when your family is at work or school.
Choose eco-friendly lighting
As the days get shorter, you may use more electricity to keep your home bright. Reduce your electricity bills by switching to LED bulbs if you haven’t already. The average household can save $225 a year just by choosing LED lighting.
By completing just a few of these tasks at home this fall, you might be able to spend less money on costly repairs and energy bills in the months ahead and instead sip some pumpkin-spice lattes, pick a few pumpkins, or go on a leaf-peeping tour.