Fall in Chicago is a glorious time filled with beautiful leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and fuzzy sweaters but it also means that winter is right around the corner. It’s important for homeowners to take a break from the fall festivities in order to prepare our homes before the colder weather rolls in. Here’s our fall maintenance checklist, the list of repairs and upgrades to make your home cozier and safer this season.
☑ Clean your gutters
Make sure to clean out your gutters and downspouts. All those leaves sure are pretty but they can cause costly damage if they build up in your gutter for too long. Leaves can cause bottlenecks and if water collects and then freezes it can cause damage to the structure of your gutter or even worse, your roofing.
☑ Check your fireplace
We love our fireplaces in Chicago but it’s important to do a yearly inspection.
Check for cracks or other damage.
Remove any overhanging tree branches – in addition to causing damage to your chimney, these can be a fire hazard.
Clean any ash or debris out the firebox.
Have a gas fireplace? These should be cleaned and inspected yearly as well. Fixer can help make sure your gas fireplace is in good working order.
☑ Replace your furnace filter
Before you turn up the heat, it’s a good idea to install a clean air filter. Changing out your filter at least every three months is critical to maintain your furnace and indoor air quality. Learn how to easily change your furnace filter. Pro tip: you can buy a smart filter now that will notify you when it’s time to change it again.
☑ Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
As you’re completing other repairs, it never hurts to add this one to the list especially if you’re fond of fall scented candles. Test safety devices and replace the batteries if needed.
Did you know the city of Chicago requires carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in most homes and condos? If your home is heated by gas, coal, or oil you are required to install a carbon monoxide detector. If your condo has its own furnace or space heating device that burns a fossil fuel, you must install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. Fixer is always here to help you navigate any city guidelines.
☑ Weatherproof doors – Fixing drafty doors and windows will help make your home more energy efficient during any season of the year. Here are a few things to consider before it gets cold:
☑ Check the fit of doors in jambs
☑ Add weather stripping on door frames and jambs
☑ Replace screen doors with storm door inserts
TIP: Place a piece of paper in the closed door. If it’s easy to slide it out, you need new weatherstripping.
☑ Fix drafty windows
☑ Check windows and frames for drafts
☑ Add weather stripping or temporary caulk to block cold air
☑ Remove or cover any window AC units
Did you know Fixer offers winterization services? We can tackle just a few issues for you or can do a full home consultation to gain the best energy efficiency and warmth during fall and winter.
☑ Install smart thermostats
Another way to make your home more energy efficient is to use a smart thermostat. Fixer is here to help with installation, either in-home in Chicagoland or over real-time video chat.
☑ Change the direction of your ceiling fan
Did you know that ceiling fans are still useful after summer? Your ceiling fan should spin counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. There’s a little switch on the base of your fan that will change the direction. Fans don’t actually cool or heat a room but they help circulate the warm air to reduce heating costs.
☑ Turn off outdoor water outlets
Chicago is already reaching freezing temperatures at night so make sure to turn off any outdoor water outlets and insulate them. And drain your hoses and store them inside. Check out a few more tips to get ready for winter.
☑ Bonus: Make your outdoor space fall-friendly without breaking the city’s new guidelines.
Usually patio season ends when apple cider season begins but this year is a bit different. With social distancing still in effect, people want to extend outdoor recreation for as long as possible. The city of Chicago has released some guidelines for both individuals and businesses who want to build outdoor structures.
Structures meant to accommodate multiple parties must have at least half of the sides open. If your structure is larger than 400 square feet, you must obtain a permit and all building materials should have fire-resistant certification. There are also some regulations for heating devices that we can help you navigate.
Fixer can help with assembly of a temporary outdoor structure and make sure that it complies with the city rules. We can also help install a fire pit or assemble a fire table to add ambience and warmth.