Fall Colors Mean It’s Time to Get Ready

The trees are beginning to take on their beautiful fall colors, but while you admire the view, remember that fall means getting your home ready for cooler weather. With more than 25 years of experience in dealing with home comfort issues in the Greater Boston area, 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric can help make sure you’re ready.

“The cooler, crisp weather is a relief, but it’s also a sign that it’s time to get ready,” says Ryan Williams, general manager of 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric. “Doing the right things now can help protect your home and your family in the coming colder months.”

Williams offers 10 tips for homeowners to prepare for the fall season:

  1. Start at the top. Clear leaves, dirt, and pine needles from gutters, and examine downspouts for damage or loose pieces. Check the flashing around your chimney and any openings in the roof, such as skylights, for leaking problems.
  2. Examine your property. Before the grass is covered with snow, or it is too cold to venture outside, check walkways for cracks and loose paver material. Fix walkway and entryway areas before slippery weather can cause a tripping or falling accident.
  3. Change your filters. If you have a central air conditioning and heating system, change the air filter regularly. If you have a window air conditioning unit, remove from the window or place a waterproof cover over it to prevent damage. Change or clean filters in stove vents and clothes dryers.  Clean air filters will keep your family healthier in the fall and winter months.
  4. Check faucets and repair any leaky ones. Before the temperatures start to dip low, examine leaky faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms, and utility room locations. Most likely, whatever time and money you spend now will be considerably less than a broken pipe in the dead of winter.
  5. Prepare your fireplace. Discard old ashes and ensure the damper is open to allow air to freely move through the chimney.  Check the damper handle and springs to ensure the flue is operating correctly. Hire a professional chimney sweep if needed.
  6. Drain your hot water heater. If you live in an area with hard water, extra amounts of sediments could be building up in your tank.  Now is a perfect time to drain it and make sure rust is not developing in the tank. If your hot water heater is extremely old or is rusting, consider a new one that will be more cost effective and energy efficient.
  7. Check windows and doors for drafts. The majority of conditioned air in your home is lost through the windows and doors. Go through your home and open windows to ensure the seal and caulking around the window frame is in good condition. If you have some windows that are extra drafty, think of adding heavier draperies to help keep the heat in and the cold out.
  8. Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture. Power wash outdoor furniture and cushions.  Once dry, store cushions in a dry area to prevent cracking and fading over the fall and winter months. Next spring, you will be pleased that you stored them and they’re ready for use.
  9. Take care of your irrigation/lawn needs. Check your irrigation system for broken heads, and have a professional fix them before the cold weather sets in. To avoid spring weeds and winter lawn damage, fertilize now. Your local garden center can provide advice on what type of fertilizer to use and when to spread it.
  10. Make a home safety check an annual ritual. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, inspect (or install) fire extinguishers, review fire escape plans, and rid your home of old newspapers and other fire hazards.

Williams emphasizes the importance of the home safety check.

“Every bedroom should have two exit paths, and make sure windows aren’t blocked by furniture or other items” he says. “Ideally, each upper-floor bedroom should have a rope ladder near the window for emergency exits. Review what to do in case of fire, and arrange a safe meeting place for everyone away from the house. Have a plan, and practice.”

For more information about 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric call 781-245-9200.