🍂How to prepare for fall!🍂

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Exterior and Interior Painting Specialists are painting contractors based out of Central Illinois. They specialize in kitchen cabinets, interior work and exterior work.

Today we are going to share a few simple steps to getting the outside of your home ready for fall!!! 

There are three steps to this… (The first- and obvious one, prepping the Exterior of your home) and the not so obvious, the Interior and garage.

Exterior Maintenance

  1. Do a roof check. You should be able to do at least a visual inspection of the roof from the ground. Grab some binoculars to get a closer look or if you’re able and can do so safely, climb on up for a better view. Look for missing, damaged, or loose shingles. If your roof is flat, you may need to remove leaves and debris.
  2. Check the chimney and fireplace. If you have a wood fireplace and use it often, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
  3. Inspect siding. Check home exterior for cracks or holes. Repair them yourself or hire a professional.
  4. Clean the gutters. Hire a service to clear your gutters or do it yourself. Remove leaves, nests, and debris from gutters and check for leaks.
  5. Check water drainage. Rainwater downspouts need to be clear of obstructions and direct water away from foundations, walkways, and driveways. Add extensions to downspouts if necessary.
  6. Reinforce windows and doors. Remove screens and install storm windows and doors if you use them. Check caulk and seals around all doors and windows.
  7. Turn off faucets and store hoses. Drain garden hoses and disconnect from the outside spigots. Shut off exterior faucets, and if you have an older home, you may need to turn off the valve inside your home. Store hoses in a dry place so any residual water won’t freeze.
  8. Service sprinklers and irrigation system. Depending on your climate, your irrigation system may need to be drained and checked. Have a professional perform any necessary repairs and mark sprinkler heads near snow removal areas.
  9. Inspect trees. Check for damaged limbs that may break or that are too close to power lines or the roof.
  10. Trim landscaping. Cut back bushes, shrubs, and flowers as recommended for your climate zone.
  11. Bring in flowerpots. If you keep plants or flower in pots year-round, bring them inside. If you replace plants every year, empty, clean, dry pots and put away for next spring.
  12. Leaf removal. Rake and remove leaves from the yard. Put into a compost pile if you have one. Alternatively, put into yard garbage bags and leave at the curb for community pick up. Check with your local city or town for requirements and pick up schedules.
  13. Fertilize lawn. Applying fall lawn fertilizer will help prevent winter damage and spring weeds. Ask a local garden center or check online to find out which type of fertilizer you need and when to apply it. If you have a lawn service, they should do this for you.
  14. Put away seasonal furniture. Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture. Remove and clean cushions. Wash and dry furniture and store in a dry place over winter.
  15. Close the pool. If you have a pool and live in an area where temperatures dip, schedule a service to come and close it for the season or if you know how, buy the supplies and do it yourself.
  16. Organize the shed. As your shed is filling up with summer items in storage it’s a good time to organize and clean out the shed. Move summer items to the back and winter stuff up front for better access. Also, remove any liquids that will freeze.

Click here to learn how to clean your gutters and make sure they are in GREAT shape.

Interior Maintenance

  1. Check for drafts. Feel for drafts around the edges of windows and doors. A good tip is to use a lighted candle and if the flame flickers, there’s most likely a draft. If necessary, replace seals and repair caulking around window and door frames. Consider buying heavier or insulated drapery for especially drafty windows.
  2. Have your furnace inspected. Hire an HVAC professional to test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the filter. They can also do a carbon monoxide check to ensure air safety. It’s also a good idea to stock up on extra air filters and change them every few months.
  3. Winterize air conditioning. If your home has central air conditioning, (and you live in a climate where you won’t need it any longer,) it may be necessary to cover your outdoor unit for winter. If you use window air conditioning units, remove them or cover to prevent air leaks.
  4. Programmable thermostat. Buy a programmable thermostat, if you don’t have one. If you already have one, check the temperature settings. Setting your thermostat to lower the temperature automatically at night and when you’re not home, can result in substantial cost savings.
  5. Test home safety devices. Replace the batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices and test to make sure they’re working properly.
  6. Clean humidifiers. Replace old filters and clean inside compartment. Vinegar is inexpensive and works well.

Click here to read secrets on how to get professionally clean windows, YOURSELF!

In the Garage

  1. Service summer power equipment. Empty fuel and clean lawnmower and trimmer. Have lawnmower blades sharpened and oil changed. Have any necessary repairs done now, so that you’re ready come spring.
  2. Store summer vehicles. If you have a motorcycle, summer car, ATV or other type seasonal vehicle, now’s a good time to have that serviced as well.
  3. Get winter equipment ready. Service snow blower and make sure it is ready to go, especially if you live in an unpredictable climate.
  4. Test the generator. If you have an emergency generator for power outages, give it a test, and make sure it’s in good working order.
  5. Buy extra gasoline. Purchase extra gas to have on hand for use in your snow blower or generator, so you’re prepared for emergencies. Make sure you store gasoline in tanks away from fire sources and out of children’s reaches.
  6. Clean the garage. Since you’re in the garage prepping for fall, you might as well purge, organize and clean it while you’re there!

At Exterior and Interior Painting Specialists we know that there is a lot you can do to ensure you home is ready for the fall. Especially for a a large home these tasks can be daunting, so for the second part of this post we are going to highlight some tips to make accomplishing these maintenance tasks a whole lot easier.

  1. Stock up on firewood and starter logs. Its best to accomplish this now before the cold weather really hits and you find yourself scrambling to stock up. You can gather your own and store it in a dry area away from the house – or call a local service to have it delivered.
  2. Declutter your storage. With garages and outdoor decks its easy to amass clutter that often gets ignored for long periods of time as the seasons change. While it is still warm out it would be a good idea to take inventory and throw out any unnecessary items.
  1. Check for critters. When performing the various maintenance tasks above you will have the opportunity to explore areas of your home – both inside and out – that are not often explored. Take this chance to look for signs of life from rodents and any other critter that could be coming in from the outside. Look for any broken windows or any other signs of animal activity.
  2. Communicate with your neighbors. Besides your homes own care and upkeep, you should pay attention to your neighbors yard and observe anything like overhanging trees or weeds that might fall and break off into your yard.

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  1. Finalize any last minute outdoor projects. If there is a swingset you are waiting to build or have any art projects or home decor items that need painted make sure to finish them now while you can still find the time outdoors.
  2. If you have outdoor pets you should inspect the deck and any other outdoor areas for damage they might have caused that has gone unnoticed. Broken screens and chewed up furniture will sometimes go overlooked until it is too late to do something. Inspect these areas now and observe to make sure these repairs remain intact.
  3. Install carpet or cork in walkways. This is mostly concerning areas such as garage walkways or mudrooms – places that typically get colder in the autumn and winters months. Installing small areas of carpet or even cork boards can ensure you won’t be chilling when walking around in the coming months.

Look online for help with maintenance. If you are unsure where to look to get your chimney service you can head online and find a certified local sweep via the Chimney Safety Institute of America 

Freeze proof outdoor faucets yourself. When checking outdoor faucets, hoses, and irrigation systems you may need to reinforce them so they withstand the winter weather – especially if it is a faucet that is connected directly to the exterior of your home. They can easily be bought and replaced yourself in a matter of hours.

Install exterior lighting. This will help you conduct maintenance as it starts to get darker earlier in the coming months. Installing lighting in walkways and porch areas will also help ensure the safety of your home.

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