Your Fall Home Checklist

From the first days, which probably still feel like summer, to the last, when you may notice that first chill in the air, September is a time of transition. Get your home ready for the season ahead by ticking off these to-dos, from adding cozy layers to scheduling necessary maintenance — and then curl up in your favorite chair and savor the comforts of home.

01

Schedule chimney and furnace maintenance. Make sure your fireplace is clean, safe and ready to go by having a pro look at them now. Having your chimney cleaned will also ensure that you don’t try to start a fire when an animal family (or an old nest) is inside. And if you don’t have a chimney cap yet, speak with your chimney sweep about adding a one. The metal cap with screened sides can prevent critters from getting in and helps protect your roof from burning embers.

03

Service Heating System. The beginning of fall is a great time for a professional to come out and inspect your heating system. You can’t take your family’s comfort over the winter for granted and having a fully checked system (coils, vents, filters, etc. all examined) can certainly put your mind at ease.

02

Cozy up with warm layers. Have you felt that first nip in the air yet? When you do, think about swapping out lighter-weight bedding for flannel sheets and fluffy duvets. Bring added warmth to the other rooms in your house with throws and pillows in rich fabrics like wool, velvet or faux fur. Thicker area rugs and curtains not only feel cozier, but they also can actually help your home feel warmer — and cut down on your energy bills.

04

Add weatherstripping. Newer double-pane windows may not need weatherstripping, but it will help most older windows retain heat and stop drafts. Check areas with previously applied weatherstripping and remove or replace as needed.

05

Clean Vents. It's suggested that you clean vents and baseboard heaters throughout your home. Consider having your air ducts cleaned as the build up of dust can create an unhealthy environment for your family and any pets in the home.

08

Set up a homework or project area. Encourage kids to get their work done with an area that is comfortable, attractive and well-organized. Ideally, make available a large surface for spreading out big or messy projects. The dining table can work, but if you have the room, consider adding a dedicated project table and keep all the necessary supplies at hand.

06

Maintain the washer and dryer. Cleaning out the dryer vents can be a DIY job, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing so (or if you’ve been putting it off), you may want to hire a pro to do washer and dryer maintenance for you. Washing machine hoses need to be replaced from time to time, and a cracked hose can cause a leak — which can mean costly damage to your home. Clean dryer vents and hoses will help your machine work more efficiently and reduce the risk of fire.

Consider beefing up insulation. Looking for a way to save on your energy bills this winter? You may want to think about adding insulation to your attic space or inside walls. This can make a big difference in how well your home retains heat in winter and stays cool in summer.

Inspect the roof and gutters. It’s generally fine to wait until most of the leaves have fallen in autumn to actually clean out the gutters and downspouts, but giving these areas a quick visual inspection now is a good idea. Pull out any sticks or other debris blocking the gutters, and make note of any worn-out seals around vent pipes and chimneys. If you do not feel comfortable on a ladder, or have a home of two or more stories, hire someone to do a quick inspection for you. Schedule any needed repairs now so that your home will be all buttoned up for winter.

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excerpt from Houzz.com

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