It’s sad to say but the Irish summer is slowly beginning to come to a close – and what a strange summer it has been! The May “lockdown heat wave” is beginning to feel like a distant memory. In just a little while we’ll begin to welcome the falling leaves of Autumn with longer, colder nights. Heavy jackets and boots will begin to replace our light layers and the familiar feeling of the country sinking into the relaxed, cosy atmosphere that Autumn brings will be upon us.
Before that happens however, we have a few things to sort out. With Autumn comes a need to start preparing your home for the upcoming season. If there’s “spring cleaning” for your home, this should be called “fall preparation”. Ensuring that your home is ready for the fresh onslaught of rain and colder weather can be the difference between smooth sailing through to Christmas and finding yourself standing in three inches of water while on the phone with your home insurance company.
But where to start? We’ve got you covered. Today at Insuremyhouse.ie we’ve put together a comprehensive list below of how you can prepare your home for the coming season. Follow along and let us know if there’s anything that we’ve missed!
When it comes to the interior of your home it can often be neglected when preparing for colder seasons, but it’s an area that absolutely must not be missed! Let’s get started.
1.Clean out your fireplace
If you are lucky enough to have a natural fireplace, you also know that it can take some serious work. However, ensuring your fireplace is cleaned correctly is imperative. In 2018 2,245 fires occurred due to chimneys/flues/soot and hot ash. Many could have been prevented had proper cleaning been performed – including having a professional check and clean your chimney.
A fire starting from your fireplace can be detrimental to both your home and your insurance and should not be taken lightly. Make this one of the first items on your list!
2.Maintain your furnace or boiler
One of the next steps that you should carry out in the interior of your home when preparing for fall is to have your furnace or boiler inspected and maintained. When you’re a homeowner this is one of the items that can easily slip by, so ensure that you make a habit of a yearly inspection.
Failing to do so puts you at risk of your furnace or boiler going on the fritz when you need it most and this can cost you a huge bundle for an emergency repair. Put yourself and your family in the best position by having it serviced early and yearly.
3.Identify and seal draughts in your house
Do you want to spend an excessive amount to heat your house this fall? Of course you don’t. That’s why this next step is a life saver when it comes to keeping your energy bills low. Identifying and sealing draughts off in your house can save you a ton of money on your heating as well as keeping your home free from damp.
Typically, draughts seep in through letterboxes, cracks in window frames and doors, fireplaces and floorboards. Inspect these areas and look to repair or seal them with draught protectors. This simple step can save you bundles in heating bills throughout the year.
4.Ensure that your power-outage kit is stocked and up to date
Imagine this, it’s the first storm of the season, you’re curled up on the couch watching Netflix, or maybe you’re in the middle of making a hearty stew to combat the cold outside and… your power goes out. Do you know exactly where your power-outage kit is? Do you have one? If not, now’s the time to start and it’s easy!
A power outage kit should contain 1 torch for each member of your family, spare batteries, candles, matches and a lighter in a waterproof container. This should be enough to get you through a standard short power outage. If you live in an area at risk for longer outages, food, toiletries and water supplies for family and pets, extra first aid kit and a camping stove are some suggested useful additions.
The exterior of your house is what requires a bit more of the hard and heavy lifting work. It’s suggested that you get to work on these early to provide yourself with enough time and energy to get them all done.
1.Clean and securely store all patio furniture
When the sun has set on your final back garden barbeque of the season, it’s time to start considering putting away the garden furniture. The first step that you’ll want to take is washing down and allowing all furniture to dry thoroughly. This is going to keep it in the best possible condition for the following season and extend its overall lifespan.
Once the furniture has been cleaned and dried, you’ll want to ensure that it is stored securely as to not risk any damage to your home in the case of a storm. If possible, store furniture in a secure garden shed on your property. If this isn’t possible, another option is to cable tie all pieces together and secure using one or two large tarps . Store furniture as far away from the house and any windows as possible to prevent potential damage in case it is picked up in a windy storm.
2.Take care of your exterior landscaping
Once your furniture has been put away, the next step is to clean the landscape of the house. This is going to help you so come next spring you won’t find yourself with knee high weeds streaming across your garden, a broken hose and a flooded lawn .
Start by pulling weeds, removing any dead leaves and branches, mowing and fertilizing any grassy areas. If you have a garden which is mostly stone, use a weed killer in between the stone and scrub the stone thoroughly to prevent a slimy build up. This will make your clean up in the spring a lot easier. By removing debris from around the garden it can help to keep you safe by preventing tripping, slipping and flooding during stormy seasons.
3.Get to the gutters
You knew that this one was coming, but an absolutely must do in the autumn season is clear out your gutters. Gutters stock up a ton of debris, even in the summer season and as the rain starts to pour heavier, it’s better to get a jump on clearing your gutters out now before the debris becomes a heavy, soggy mess.
You can start by getting up on a ladder and identifying the areas that need cleaning and begin clearing the brush away – but watch out for nesting birds. Always ensure that you’re wearing heavy duty gloves to prevent cuts and scratches from twigs and other debris.
When cleaning, you want there to be enough space for water run off to pass through your gutters and through your drainpipes. Cleaning your gutters can save you thousands in potential flood damage and can affect the overall cost of your house insurance.
4.Drain exterior faucets
This one is easy to forget but can be incredibly important. If you have exterior faucets outside of your home such as those you attach your hose or sprinkler to when watering your garden, you want to ensure that they are completely empty and drained. If not, when left unattended for an extended period of time in cold weather, water trapped inside can freeze and cause the pipe to crack which means upon thawing – water damage.
Ensuring the water is cleared from the faucet and pipe area will help you rest assured that you won’t be experiencing any surprising floods inside or outside your home.
As you can see, preparing your home for the Autumn season can be quite a bit of work. However, if you get started on it early you can tackle each item in a number of weeks. Preparing your home can provide you with the comfort and security that your home is in its best shape to tackle the often-harsh Irish autumn and winter.
For more information on keeping your home safe and secure, view our blog and keep an eye out for more of our upcoming articles at insuremyhouse.ie.