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Complete these chores now before the cold weather settles in.

Summer is coming to an end here in Chicago, and fall is just around the corner. As the leaves begin their descent, it signals that old man winter will soon follow. You’ll want to settle down for a long winter’s rest, so prepare for fall and winter now with these easy cleaning tips.

Think Fall Cleaning Instead of Spring Cleaning

We’re so accustomed to the idea of spring cleaning, but the truth is we spend a lot of time outdoors when spring comes around. And, we spend more time indoors during the fall and winter season.

So, doesn’t it make more sense to make sure we’ve thoroughly cleaned the inside of our homes when we plan to be inside of it the most? After all, we have to deal with cold and flu seasons keeping us down, and we don’t want to add allergies acting up from dust to the mix. And, if you’re severely allergic to dust, you may even want to have someone else clean for you.

So, first things first. Improve the air quality of the inside of your home during the fall and winter season by doing a clean sweep from top to bottom, just as you’re used to doing in the spring. We’ve already shared our spring cleaning tips in a previous guide. But, just to quickly recap, you’ll want to:

  1. Rid your home of clutter. Minimize unwanted items by getting rid of clutter, working one room at a time. Donate items you don’t want to keep.
  2. Clean hard-to-reach areas. Clean under your bed, behind and under big pieces of furniture, vacuum cushions, wipe light fixtures and ceiling fans, and wipe down the walls and baseboards.
  3. Clean your windows to a sparkling shine. Of course, if you’re planning to shutter the windows, you may want to skip this step.
  4. Steam clean the carpets. Summertime tends to bring in more dirt on the carpets from venturing outside more frequently. Once summer’s over, it’s a good idea to give them a good cleaning with a steam cleaner.
  5. Wash linens, i.e. pillows, bedspreads, blankets, comfortors, etc. You probably stored away some of your heavier linens during the summer months. Time to bring them out and wash your bedding items before putting them on the beds.
  6. Do a good regular cleaning on a regular basis. Dust furniture, mop floors, clean bathrooms, etc.

Cold Weather Maintenance Tips for Your Chicago Home

Chicago receives some harsh winter weather conditions during the fall and winter months. Before the colder weather settles in, you’ll want to make sure that your home is winterized. Check these items off your list by doing them sooner rather than later:

  •   Service the furnace – This is probably already on your list. But, we just wanted to remind you. Clean filters or consider upgrading your filter to one that has a higher rating with at least 1250 MPRs. A better filter usually means more efficiency at removing dirt, mold, and animal dander as well as doing a better job of keeping your home warm.

It’s also a good idea to have your furnace unit checked out by a professional to ensure it’s in good working order and free of carbon monoxide leaks. It’s a good idea to schedule this early before work crews get slammed with orders.

  •   Do a chimney sweep – This is probably one chore that’s best left to a professional, but you definitely want to have your fireplace and chimney cleaned out to prevent hire hazards and make sure the damper is properly sealed to keep out drafts.
  •   Fix air leaks in your home – You’ll want to check for cracks in the siding of your home as well as shingles. You’ll also want to check windows and doors to be sure there are no gaps that would allow cold air to come inside. Use weather stripping or caulking to help seal any leaks.
  •   Turn off outdoor faucets – Drain any outdoor faucets to keep your hoses from freezing over and cracking. Then, store your hoses in a frost-free environment.
  •   Service the snowblower – If you have a snowblower, now’s the time to have it serviced. You’ll want to make sure it’s ready for the upcoming winter weather.
  •   Remove debris from gutters – Clear gutters of any debris to prevent clogging before winter arrives.
  •   Store outdoor furniture – You can prolong the life of your outdoor accessories and furniture by bringing them in away from the elements of winter. Store them in your garage or under a covered area.
  •   Inspect dryer exhaust – This is a chore that is often overlooked. But the exhaust tube and vent often has built-up lint and debris, and birds during the spring and summer months will even build their nests there. You’ll want to make sure the vent door on the outside closes properly as well.
  •   Drain sediment from hot water heaters -This is another thing that should be high on your list. If too much sediment builds up, it could affect the performance of your hot water heater. Your could end up with less hot water than you’d like when you need it the most. If you’re not confident about doing it yourself, call a plumber to do it.

This is a fairly comprehensive list of the things you should do to prepare your home for the fall and winter. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but by checking off one thing at a time, it can be done.

If time and energy are in short supply, consider getting help. A cleaning agency and other appropriate professionals can help you tackle some of these chores and give you more time doing what you love best.