BACK TO BASICS: 20 WAYS TO PREP YOUR HOUSE FOR FALL

If clients are overwhelmed by figuring out all they need to do to get their houses ready for fall and winter, hand them a short checklist of projects to tackle.

Indoors:

1.    Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries on November 2nd when daylight savings ends.

2.    Inspect and clean and boilers and water heaters.

3.    Turn down the temperature of your water heater to 120°F.

4.    Hire a HVAC professional to inspect, clean and tune up your furnace.

5.    Replace your furnace filter monthly.

6.    Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors to make them as weather-tight as possible. Check out Lowe’s site for good tips.

7.    Hunt for and seal air leaks. Don’t forget to check small spots, such as outlets and switches, recessed lighting, door bottoms, and behind cupboards. Energy.gov can help you through the process.

8.    Install and learn to use a programmable thermostat. When you’re home, keep the temperature as low as you can to still be comfortable. Kick the temperature back by 10 to 15 degrees (do the opposite in summer) when you’re out or asleep for eight hours. The strategy can save about 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.

9.    Close your fireplace damper and only open it when you’re going to burn fires.

10.    Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators.

11.    Change the direction of your ceiling fan to push warm air down from the ceiling.

Outdoors:

12.    Drain outdoor faucets and store hoses.

13.    Clean window wells.

14.    Clean gutters and downspouts to prevent ice dams.

15.    Look for cracks and damage to the roof and chimney and have them repaired.

16.    Rake leaves and shred them for mulch.

17.    Cover the central air conditioning unit and remove window units.

18.    Clean and store garden tools and get out your winter gear.

19.    Stock up on all the tools you’ll need for winter — shovels, brooms, ice scrapers, and eco-friendly ice melt.

20.    Put the garden to bed and prep it for spring.

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