The fall smart home checklist: How to prepare for cooler weather

Fall (and the coming winter) brings many changes, including changing temperatures, new habits around the house and holiday plans. That’s why fall cleaning is at least as important as spring cleaning, both for your health and peace of mind.

While there are extensive projects to prepare for fall, such as For example, cleaning your gutters and checking your weatherstrips, we wanted to provide a more tech-centric guide for smart homes and homes that want to get smarter. Check to make sure the important items are on both your list and ours!

Check your thermostat schedule

Photo of a woman adjusting a Nest thermostat.

If you have a smart thermostat, take a few minutes to dive into the app and review your schedule and heating limits. Is your heating system ready for use at the right temperature? As the days get darker, they also get colder, which could mean adjusting how the thermostat works mornings and evenings – offset by alternative heating measures such as fireplaces. Apps make customization super easy, and some apps even make suggestions on how to change your thermostat for fall to save more money.

Replace your filters

This is also the perfect time to change out all your filters. If your HVAC system has a replacement filter, make sure you replace it with the correct size model (pointing in the right direction). If you have a separate air conditioner, replace or clean its filters as well. While you’re at it, check your fridge filters: Today’s fridges from brands like LG and many others let you know when your fridge filters should be replaced.

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Clean your coffee maker

The Keurig K-Duo coffee maker set on a kitchen counter.

On the shorter, darker days, many of us reach for an extra cup of coffee. That makes this a perfect time to clean out your coffee maker. Many new coffee makers have cleaning cycles to run hot water through them to remove dirt and stale odors. Brands like Keurig even sell their own cleaner, or you can buy some from a third party (or just use a vinegar mix and wash ’til it’s cleaned out). If you’re starting to wish your coffee maker was a little smarter to help with things like this, take a look at our list of smart coffee makers.

Service your smoke alarms

Nest Protect on the wall in the bedroom.

Some fire hazards may increase in the fall when heaters are turned on and more cooking is done indoors. Be prepared by checking your smoke alarms and replacing batteries if necessary. Smart smoke detectors such as Nest Protectcan send status updates straight to your phone so you know how it’s working and when the batteries need changing.

Adjust your sprinklers

If your lawn looks a lot less lively in the winter, now is the time to adjust your sprinklers and phase out your watering schedule. Smart irrigation systems make this very easy, but even if you have a traditional irrigation panel, resetting the schedule or turning it off isn’t usually difficult.

Check your leak sensors

If your smart home or security system includes leak sensors, have them checked. If necessary, make sure the batteries are charged and make sure they are placed correctly. Fall and winter increase the risk of various types of leaks and high humidity situations, including attic condensation, leaks from frozen pipes that rupture, and other problems. If you don’t already have leak sensors, find options to add them to your security or smart home platform.

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Besides checking the leak sensors, this is a good time to winterize other parts of your home. Do your pipes need insulation? Do you need to block vents in your foundation to increase heat output? Need to check the attic vent to make sure moisture isn’t collecting there? What about your chimney? Complete all of these steps and your home will be ready for the fall weather.

Get a vacuum cleaner robot to deal with the dust

iRobot Roomba 694 robot vacuum cleaner with smart sensors to focus on dirt and debris.

The colder months are somewhat notorious for problems with dust. Houses tend to be more enclosed, so any dust that’s inside (or, yes, falls off dry winter skin) lingers over time. If you hate dust in your home, consider a robot vacuum cleaner one of the newest Roombas help out Robot vacuums excel at removing dust at low levels, and today’s models are smart enough to self-drain and auto-charge so you don’t have to do much at all.

Find an air purifier to keep the air clean

If that dust and flaking is causing health problems in your home, it’s also time to invest in a good air purifier. The best air purifiers on the market are quiet, easy to use, and contain multiple filters to remove odors (another thing that can accumulate during the winter), dust particles, and more. Smart versions can even show air quality in a room and provide updates, while other models include humidifiers to combat the dry air.

Pick some smart plugs for the holidays

Eve Energy Smart Plug installed with oscillating fan.

Smart plugs plug into ordinary sockets and allow you to plug other things – like lights – into them, so you can monitor their use and schedule them to turn on and off. This is an invaluable feature whether you’re decorating for Halloween, putting up your Christmas tree, or just making sure you can control a portable heater from anywhere. Take a look at some of the best smart plugs, and if you’re using them for outdoor lights, make sure you get a weatherproof outdoor model.

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Use a smart LED light to fight SAD

SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, can creep in as the days get darker, leading to depression and fatigue. If this happens to you every year, consider trying a smart bulb to deal with it. These lights specifically mimic sunlight, making the room appear brighter, and may help treat some symptoms of SAD. Check out models like that Verilux HappyLightwhich allows you to adjust brightness, color temperature (more or less like sunlight), timer and more.

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