Fall is officially here, and we couldn’t be more excited for the pop of beautiful colours, pumpkins, and Halloween decorations soon to be adorning homes in Calgary! The cooler weather, morning frost and crispiness in the air mean one thing – the first snowfall is just around the corner.
As much as we want to squeeze out every last bit of warmer weather and sunshine, fall passes as quickly as it comes. Now is a great time to tackle home maintenance tasks before the days become shorter and the weather dips below freezing. Here are some of our top fall maintenance tips to help you prep your Calgary home for winter.
1. Take care of your lawn
The summer heat puts a lot of stress on our lawn. Fall is an ideal time to help turf recover, breathe and get the water and nutrients it needs. As part of your fall lawn care, we recommend:
- Aeration removes soil plugs and relieves compaction, letting the soil ‘breathe’ and allowing nutrients to enter. Aerating in the fall helps with healthy growth come springtime.
- Fertilize – Before the last mowing of the season, fertilize your lawn to give grass roots the energy and nutrients it needs before the grass goes dormant. Roots store food for the winter – fertilizing in the fall helps with the initial growth spurt in the spring.
- Water – Continue to water your lawn in the fall, ideally about one inch of water per week. Before temperatures hit below freezing, be sure to empty the hose and turn off water valves for the winter.
2. Clean your gutters
Remove leaves, twigs and other debris from your gutters. Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams in the winter, which is a costly repair. Be sure to tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets and replace any damaged gutters or downspouts.
3. Check walkways, stairs and the driveway
Do a thorough inspection of the areas your household will be walking through, including the backyard, up and down porch stairs, the driveway, and walkways close to your property. Check for loose stairway railings, repair any dips or cracks in the driveway, and be sure the stairs are in good shape for winter safety.
4. Schedule furnace services
The last thing you want is to wake up on a freezing winter night to find that your furnace has stopped working. Scheduling an appointment with a professional HVAC company can help prevent this scenario from happening. They will inspect and verify that your furnace is in good working condition and recommend ways to save on energy costs.
Be sure to change your furnace filter every 3-6 months, depending on your unit’s specifications or how much build-up accumulates. A clogged filter reduces the efficiency of your furnace and can lead to a premature breakdown. Households with pets and family members with allergies may need to change their filters more often.
5. Drain hoses and shut off the outdoor water valve
Frozen water lines during the winter can lead to extensive damages. Before the weather dips below freezing, shut off the outdoor water valve and disconnect the hose. Drain the hose and store indoors. After you’ve shut the outdoor water valve, run the outdoor tap to release any residual water in the pipes.
6. Check and repair weatherstripping
Damaged weatherstripping leads to cold drafts, causing the heater to run more than necessary and increasing utility bills. Add or repair weatherstripping around the frames of all windows and doors. This will keep warm air in and help you maintain a cozy and comfortable home.
7. Test all safety devices
Cooking a Thanksgiving dinner, more time spent indoors as the weather cools down, seasonal lights, and candles burning are just a few household risks this season. Keep you and your loved ones safe by testing all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as needed. Be sure to check the expiration date on the fire extinguisher as well.
8. Stock up on winter supplies
Last but certainly not least, have your winter supplies ready well before the first snowfall, including:
- Replacing any damaged shovels and ice scrapers
- Purchase ice melt
- Stock up on batteries, flashlights, lighters and candles
- Have a wireless heater on hand
- Service your snowblower
- Stock up on non-perishable foods and other necessities
Whether you’ve owned your property for years or you’ve just moved into one of our Douglas Homes builds, we hope you enjoy this season with your loved ones in the comfort of your home.