It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to take the time to get your home ready as the temperatures start dropping and we anticipate harsher weather. Taking steps now to protect your home and belongings can help you enter the new season worry-free, and you might save money in the process.

  1. Clean your furnace and switch out filters. Check your furnace for soot, ignition problems, pilot-light health, and the state of its components to make your home ready for fall. You should also clean up dust and dirt, and if you see anything that could spell trouble, call for an inspection. This is also a great time to switch out your filters as you’ll probably be using your heater, which draws air from the outside. You may also need to winterize your outdoor air conditioner unit, depending on the type of system you have. This usually involves cleaning your coils and covering the unit to protect it from the elements.
  2. Check your insulation. Fix insulation issues before the cold weather arrives. You’ll need to climb up into your attic or down into your crawlspace during daylight hours, which is the best time to spot any rays of light in the corners. You should be getting light only from attic vents. If you see light in a corner, it could mean you have cracks somewhere or you need to replace some of your insulation. You should also inspect your ducts. Have a family member or friend shine a light into your ducts while you watch from the crawlspace to see if any light comes through, which would mean you may have a crack in your vent. Those cracks mean that precious hot air is leaking, which will cost you money.
  3. Tend to your fireplace. Clean out your fireplace, check your chimney for blockages and make sure that your damper is working smoothly. If your chimney is coated in soot, you need to have it cleaned to prevent fires. For gas fireplaces, vacuum out any dust and check that the pilot light is properly turned on.
  4. Prepare your outdoor furniture. Wash your outdoor furniture and bring in any sensitive cushions or fabrics. This is true even for durable outdoor padding, as it can develop mold over wet seasons.
  5. Insulate pipes. When temperatures drop below freezing, standing water in your pipes can start to freeze. This can ruin valves and even crack brittle pipes, leading to leaks and water damage. If your pipes aren’t protected or you have installed new plumbing, you can get your home ready for the cold by insulating your pipes. This can be done with simple foam sleeves.
  6. Inspect screens and windows. Check your window screens to make sure they aren’t bent and don’t have holes. Insects can enter your home through spaces in faulty screens. While you’re at it, check your window weatherstripping to make sure the felt is intact and not letting any drafts through.
  7. Clean your rain gutters and downspouts. Climb a ladder with a garden hose and flush out your rain gutters to remove natural debris like twigs and leaves. After flushing them, don a pair of gloves because you will likely have to dig in there with your hands to get the rest of the debris out. While you’re doing that, check the gutters for damage, and repair as needed.

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