It’s the thought that counts…plan ahead for cold weather home improvements.

Fall is the perfect time to plan and execute interior and exterior home improvement projects. Making a checklist of fall projects can help keep you organized and on-track.

Squirrels may be rushing around collecting nuts and acorns to store, but New Englanders are just as busy getting ready for old man winter. There are many home improvement projects that need to be addressed during the fall months, and there’s little time to waste. Here, then, is a checklist of just some of the projects:

o  Clean the attic

o  Organize the garage

o  Shut off outdoor faucets and store hoses

o  Seal gaps for critters

o  Paint/wallpaper

o  Change kitchen hardware

o  Buy or do maintenance on generators

o  Clean the gutters

o  Rake leaves

o  Aerate and fertilize lawn

Decorating sense
Jeremy Lambert, a designer at Ring’s End in Darien and Danbury, says autumn is the perfect time to revitalize your home with fresh paint or stunning wallpapers. Ring’s End carries paint from Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball, a British line of paints largely based upon historic color palettes and archives. And wallpaper is back in style and desirable. “Many people like to get ready for the holidays by changing paint colors in their rooms. We have a full design department and our trained professionals can help you with everything from reupholstering, shades and blinds, custom throw pillows, and fine rugs,” says Lambert. “We are not just a lumber yard,” he said.

Sarah Scott, manager for Ridgefield Hardware in Ridgefield, says the store also carries paints and hardware for perking up rooms. “I think a lot of people are home now while the kids are in school and decide to spruce up their rooms. We have a large assortment of cabinet hardware including handles and knobs. Satin nickel finishes and oil rubbed bronze and copper pretty much go with everything,” she says. This is also the place to visit if you’re looking for driveway markers, pruning tools, or almost any other product related to preparing for the fall and winter.

Interior painting is a fall home improvement project that provides big impact. Here, a kitchen renovation includes Benjamin Moore cabinet paint in Barren Plain and wall paint in Calm, available from Ring’s End in Darien.

Heads up!
Remember how hot it was in the attic this summer? Well, it’s not so hot anymore. If you’re storing clothes up there, it’s a good time to delete those you’re never going to wear again and pack them clean and neatly for a local charity. If you’re storing odds and ends, then consider using shelves and bins of different heights and sizes to organize items so everything is visible.

Whether you store your snow blower, snow shovels, or salt and sand in the garage or cellar, organize the items so that you can easily reach them when you need them. The last thing you want to do when the snow is mounting is to start pulling things out of the way so you can reach what you need.

Baby, it’s cold outside
It’s time to turn off the exterior water faucets. You don’t want water to freeze in them. First, make sure there’s no water left in the faucet. When things freeze, they expand, and you don’t want your pipe or faucet to burst. Once you’ve done this you can store your hoses behind the snowblower, shovels, and sand.

When it gets cold everyone wants a warm space. That includes mice and other critters. Check around your doors and windows and make sure that there are no gaps. Remember these critters can fit into very tiny openings. Therefore, now is the time to caulk and secure gaps, which will also prevent cold air from entering the house.

Power trip
Another important item on your home improvement checklist concerns your generator. Whether you own an automatic generator or a portable one, you need to make sure that it is in good working condition before winter power outages catch you by surprise.

Nicholas Rivers, project engineer for Northeast Generator in Bridgeport, knows a great deal about generators. He says that summer is the best time to buy one since fall is hurricane season and it’s possible here in New England to experience a storm that knocks out our regular service.  

People who already own generators may not realize that they need to be maintained. Rivers  uses the analogy of a car and explains that generators also need tune ups … you should check the oil, the filters, and spark plugs. “One of the most common questions we get is about oil changes,” says Rivers. “People should check their owner’s manual regarding how often the oil needs to be changed.”

Whether you have an automatic system that turns on the instant you lose power or a portable generator that must be rolled outdoors to use, there are certain procedures that must be followed. Not only does Northeast Generator install and service generators, but it offers 24/7 emergency service. “We install, maintain, and service generators of every type. We’re a one stop shop,” Rivers says

He also notes that with so many homes losing power here in the Northeast, contractors and builders of new homes and business are automatically having generators installed.

Don’t be left in the dark this winter … prepare your home now and avoid problems when the bad weather hits.


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