Summer is cooling, the leaves are falling and our thoughts turn to the coming of winter. As the saying goes, the past is another country. In a way, so is winter, as the landscape transforms and we change our ways of living to deal with colder weather.  The harsher the climate the more important it is that we pay attention to keeping the cold out. Fall is the time to look at our homes with a fresh and critical eye, and to make preparations for the changing of the seasons.

Unless you’re close to the equator, one of the top green tips for fall is to start thinking about heating your home. If you haven’t used your furnace for six months or more, this is a good time to check it or, even better, get someone in to give it that all important annual service. Fall is the best time to schedule this check. It’s not just vital for safety but could prevent you from ending up enduring a breakdown that will ruin your winter peace of mind.

If you have air conditioning, you’ll probably want to shut it down properly now, or store it away if it’s a portable model. If you’ve been smart enough to adjust thermostat settings at the beginning of spring, its now time to reset them. Refrigerator thermostats can be turned down in winter, for example, especially in unheated kitchens. It all saves money and consumption of energy.
Fall is also a good time to inspect the exterior of your home for problems that might ensue in the testing weather expected during the cold months to come. Will rain or snow dislodge shaky gutters? Are there any structural issues that will allow the cold air in and raise your home energy bills? Is the external piping and plumbing in good order? Don’t wait for the big freeze before you deal with them.

The yard is a priority to attend to in the fall. You’ll probably have all sorts of odds and ends out there, like barbecues and patio furniture that may need storing safely away to keep it in tip-top condition for the return of outdoor living next spring. It’s especially important to put electrical equipment somewhere warmer to avoid potentially hazardous damage to cables in freezing weather.

The garden is another big priority for attention and keen gardeners will be aware of green tips for fall gardening. Mow the lawn for the last time, before storing the mower. Rake up the falling leaves; they can be stored in garbage bags to make leaf mold, which is a great soil improver. It’s not all about winter preparations though. There are all sorts of things you can do in the fall to get your garden ready for a great display of spring flowers. In fall you can start preparing beds for planting spring bulbs, and mulch existing plants to protect their roots from freezing in a cold snap. Tender pot plants may need moving to a sheltered spot.

With green tips for fall followed, and precautions against the cold in place, it’s time to curl up in the warm, secure in the knowledge that you’ve protected yourself and your home against the punishing effects of the coming winter.

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