The weather is cooler, trees are turning, and there are other signs of the approaching winter months. It’s time to tackle some projects to ensure you stay warm and give your home some extra TLC.

Following a to-do list will ensure your home’s systems and appliances work properly, which can increase its energy efficiency and lower your utility bills. Think of it as an annual checkup for your home.

At Al Williams Properties, we want you to enjoy your home, inside and out, all year long.  

Indoor Projects

Fine-tune your HVAC system

Change the air filter, which becomes dirty and inefficient over time. Hire a professional for a full maintenance check and tune-up, if needed.​

You can get by with a heating and cooling system inspection every other year, but only if you change the filter regularly.

Check seals and weatherstripping

If you see gaps between exterior windows or door frames, you may need to re-caulk them or install new weatherstripping.

You can do the “paper test” for a quick assessment. Simply shut a door or window on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you have a leak and you are losing energy.

For more home energy-saving tips, go to

Do a sweep of fireplaces and stoves

Clean chimneys before winter to ensure the flue isn’t blocked, soot hasn’t accumulated, and the brick-and-mortar joints aren’t leaking water or fumes. Check that a gas stove burns properly and is free of carbon buildup. DIYers should make sure to use a non-combustible sealant.

You should also check the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Reverse ceiling fans​

After turning on the heat, reverse the switch on your ceiling fan at low speed so the blades turn clockwise. According to Energy Star, this creates an updraft to push down warm air near the ceiling. It’s especially helpful for rooms with high ceilings. Doing this may allow you to lower your thermostat, saving you money.​

Outdoor Projects

Clear gutters and downspouts​

Even if you don’t have trees, leaves, pine needles, and other debris can clog gutters in the fall. That can cause water to back up, damaging the roof, siding, or trim. Clean out gutters and downspouts, and direct downspouts 2 to 4 feet away from the foundation.

Repair roofs​

Remove branches and other debris that collect on roofs. Repair or replace loose shingles and deteriorating flashing seals around vents and chimneys to keep out water. If you have a flat roof, patch cracked or blistered seams. DIYers should be cautious about getting up on the roof and take safety precautions. You may want to hire a handyman to repair a few shingles or a roofer for larger sections.​

Power wash your house

After a full spring and summer of heat and humidity, fall is a good time to consider power washing your home. Power washing can ensure that your siding is free of dirt, mold, or mildew, giving your house a clean glow heading into winter.

Mulch and trim

Your plants have worked hard all summer to grow beautiful foliage and flowers. As the days gradually grow shorter, they store energy in their roots, which will eventually be fuel to get through the long winter ahead.

Perennials are a long-term investment in your landscape – it is important to protect them and give them support for the cold weather to come! Applying a layer of mulch around your perennials is a great fall improvement project that will provide your plants with extra nutrients and protection from harsh weather. More mulch means less weeding come spring!

While it is normal to want to rake leaves from lawns, The U.S. Department of Agriculture says lawns benefit from a thin layer of leaves. They create a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds while fertilizing the soil as it breaks down. The leaves also serve as a habitat for wildlife. Use a mulching blade on your mower. What you don’t leave on the lawn can be piled up around ornamental trees, shrubs, and perennials or put in a compost bin.

Remove tree limbs close to your home or a power line. Prune trees overhanging the roof or if you live where storms can topple trees onto your home.​

Winterize lawn equipment

This is the season when your lawnmower and other outdoor power equipment need a bit of TLC, too. Any fuel inside the engine will decompose during winter, which may make it difficult to start next spring.

Clean the equipment, lubricate, and follow manual instructions for other needed maintenance. If you use a fuel stabilizer, fill the tank; otherwise, run the engine to empty it. Store equipment in a dry place. For mowers left outside, cover them with a waterproof material.​

If you are looking for a home on the Crystal Coast or a second home to visit when you choose, call us at Al Williams Properties to help you find the perfect property in an ideal area in any season.

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