4 tips to ready your home for autumn

While it happens every year, it always seems like autumn creeps up on us. It's back again, and now is the perfect time to prepare your home for the colder months ahead.

What does that mean, though? There are hundreds of things you can do to ready your home for fall, and not all are equally important. So, take a look at our list of four effective tips to get your home in tip-top shape as the season changes:

1. Clean up the exterior
It helps to start with the outside of your home. To begin, walk around your property and look for anything loose – for example, patio furniture or children's toys. Pack up all this stuff and store it in your basement, shed or garage. You don't want small items covered in snow or lost in mud once spring hits. You should also unhook and bring in all exterior hoses, and even consider storing your grill indoors, if you don't want to invest in a heavy-duty winter cover. Cleaning up extends beyond this, though. You should also look at your gutters, roof and other important components of your house. Now is also the time to make minor repairs to walkways or decks and check vents, windows and doors. Cold weather and snow can turn an easy repair in the summer into a headache in the winter.

2. Seal up your home
Just like you put on a winter coat, you want to wrap up your house in a bit of protection. While you should always be on the lookout for major repairs, like damaged roofs, walls or windows, now is when you want to search for smaller problems. One issue is poor seals around windows and doors. What you should do is look around for any drafts coming through, and seal up every gap with weatherstripping and caulk. Not only will this keep your family warmer in the winter, but it will also save you money on utility costs. Do the same with other exterior doors, like your bulkhead and garage door. Major gaps here can lead to leaks and even water damage once snow starts and ice begins to melt in the spring.

Sealing up windows and doors will keep your home warm in the winter.Sealing up windows and doors will keep your home warm in the winter.

3. Have your home inspected
The fall is also when you want to have all your heating components inspected. You'll be relying on them heavily in the winter, and it goes without saying that losing heat in January or February is not something you want to deal with. To avoid that, call in a trusted home inspector or industry professional to look over your furnace, boiler, chimney and other heating elements. If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace that sees heavy use, call in the cleaner! That will help everything run more efficiently and keep you warm. Furthermore, inspect your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as well. Your home will be sealed up tight in the winter, so it's a must that these protections are in working order.

4. Stock up on supplies
Finally, fall is when you want to stock up on any supplies and resources you'll need to get through the winter. While we obviously have it pretty good compared to our ancestors, you still can benefit from buying ahead in a few key areas. For starters, load up on firewood if you have a wood-burning stove. Also, make sure you're stacking and storing it properly. You should load up on gasoline, batteries or even a space heater or two, just to be safe – gas if you have a generator or snow blower, batteries for any flashlights, smoke detectors and the like and space heaters just in case your heating system goes.