Summer’s over and the weather is cooling off. The kids are back in school. So, It’s time to think about getting ready for winter. Making a list of easily completed projects can make your life easier and give you more time for other things.
10 Easy Projects for Fall
To make more room for winter storage, installing an overhead storage system in your garage makes the most of your unused space. Build a system using reinforced plastic totes that hang from carriages made from 2x4s and plywood strips in the unclaimed space near your garage ceiling to get the camping gear and summer stuff out of the way until spring.
Trim Plants Against Your House
Once you kill the unwanted insects, like ants, in your yard, take steps to ensure they don’t come back. Trim back bushes, shrubs and trees that brush against your house and roof Maintain a 6-in. clearance space between the soil around the foundation and the bottom row of siding to prevent ants from nesting in the siding.
Inspect Your Fence
Fall is an ideal time to inspect fences. Over the summer, rot and other structural issues can occur. Ground frost and wind can cause weakened fence posts to shift over winter. This will result in damage all along the fence line, which isn’t easy to repair in the cold weather.
Protect the A/C Compressor
Falling icicles and tree branches can damage your outdoor portion of your air conditioner. Don’t wrap your entire air conditioner for the winter, since many manufacturers advise against it. It may attract rodents and cause condensation, which can lead to corrosion. But, place some plywood on top of the unit to protect it from falling objects.
Switch Your Ceiling Fan Direction
Ceiling fans are useful all year to reduce your HVAC system costs. Ceiling fans should turn clockwise in the colder months. This pushes warm air back down into the room. Most fans have a pull switch that reverses the direction.
Make a Winter Driving Kit
In Houston, having a driving kit is a good idea all year, but it could be very useful during winter. It only takes a few minutes to put together and you probably already have most of the items. Some items that you might include:
- Ice scraper
- Flashlight, plus extra batteries (or a hand-crank flashlight)
- Jumper cables
- First-aid kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap).
- Bottled water
- Multi-tool, for example Swiss Army Knife)
- Road flares or reflective warning triangles
- Windshield cleaner
- Rags and hand cleaner (such as baby wipes)
- Duct tape
- Foam tire sealant for minor tire punctures
- Rain poncho
Test for Radon
If you haven’t tested your house for radon, now is the time to do it. Radon is a potential cancer-causing, naturally occurring gas that seeps into lower portions of your home. You don’t need to call in the professionals right away, you can get radon testing kits at the hardware store. The most commonly used method is the short-term charcoal canister test that passively absorbs small amounts of radon over 3-7 days. The canister is subsequently analyzed by an EPA-approved lab. If radon levels in the home exceed four (4) picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) the EPA recommends that homeowners should call a radon mitigation professional.
Check the Intake and Exhaust Pipes
Newer high-efficiency furnaces will shut off if something like a bird or ice buildup blocks either the fresh-air pipe or the exhaust pipe. You’ll need to go outside and look inside the pipes to confirm they are clear. You might also want to use some screening to keep animals out of the pipes. Sometimes an animal can get lodged in the pipe, which may require a professional HVAC technician to clear the pipe.
Inspect and Fix Your Garage Door
Cold weather can wreak havoc on garage doors and tracks. Make sure your garage door is in functioning properly or you might have your car stuck inside the garage. When opening and closing the door, listen for any unusual noises. Make sure the hardware is secure. You also might consider adding insulation to the inside.
Schedule Your Fall Furnace Inspection
The best way to avoid costly or dangerous damages is to maintain a regular, consistent heating tune-up. Making sure you have a professional technician looking at your HVAC equipment will ensure that potentially-harmful or expensive repairs are caught before they become an issue.
For more fall projects, see the full article on MSN.
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