Autumn in Austin may be fairly subtle — the leaves don’t necessarily change colors as much as they just detach and drift to the ground. But the changing of the seasons is still a reminder of the cooler, rainier months to come.
A few little chores and checkups now could save you a lot of money and headaches as cooler temperatures arrive.
From September on out, Austin’s average highs and lows drop by about 10 degrees per month until January when temperatures begin to climb again. While Austin rarely gets really nasty cold weather and heavy ice, now is a good time to prepare.
There’s a virtually endless list of maintenance projects in any given home. But if you follow these three Cs — check, clean and create — you’ll be a step ahead of the game.
Many of the fall maintenance items here can be dealt with in a day or less.
Furnace: If you do just one thing, wait for a cool day or evening and give your furnace a test run to see if the air from your vents is adequately warmed. There is some disagreement whether homeowners should hire a professional for a furnace check-up every year. But, particularly if you haven’t had your furnace checked in recent years, it’s a good way to extend the life of your furnace, improve efficiency and discover any problems before a really chilly night sets in
Window caulking: While doing a walk-around check on your home’s exterior, check for gaps and deterioration in the caulking around windows and other places that lead into the house. A few squeezes of the caulking gun could make your home more energy efficient and help keep pests out.
Smoke detectors: In fall, many people tend to light more candles, cook indoors more and maybe even use a fireplace. That means it’s also a fitting time to replace the batteries in any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.
Gutters: Use a power blower to blast leaves, twigs and dirt out of your gutters to improve drainage. Run some water down them to ensure things are flowing properly. Clogged gutters can create little log jams that can eventually weaken joints on gutters. Those clogs can also create problems if water gets stuck and freezes.
Rooftop: While blasting the leaves out of the gutter, give your entire roof a once over to remove leaves, dirt and other debris that can damage your shingles and trap moisture. Be sure to adjust the setting on powerful blowers so you don’t damage any shingles.
Patio: Run that power blower a little more to remove any build ups of leaves and debris on your porch, patio and/or deck. Fewer leaves means less trapped moisture that could deteriorate your paint or stain. You may have to clear the deck a few more times as leaves continue to fall, but at least you’ll have a good head start.
Air filter: Remove and clean or replace your air filter regularly to improve your home’s air quality, improve heating efficiency and extend the life of your system.
Fall patio setting: Now for some fun stuff. Consider removing some of your summer decor and bring in the tones of fall. Consider decorating with pumpkins, gourds and corn stalks.
Home decor: Create a fall theme with simple changes in your home. Oranges, browns and whites help bring in the autumn bliss. Consider some pumpkins or gourds to spice it up.