Fall Checklist for Staying Cozy and Efficient

It’s official. Summer is over!

The following tips feature easy checks, adjustments, and maintenance practices you can undertake now to ensure your fall and winter seasons stay warm, dry, and efficient.

Insulate before it’s too late

A poorly insulated home causes your heat to travel to unnecessary locations, while working harder in the places you do need it, such as the living spaces and bedrooms. Upgrading or increasing your insulation is one of the most effective ways to achieve energy savings.

Check for drafts and cracks

Keep the cold out and the heat in.Test each window and exterior door in your home for drafts coming through. On doors, look for cracks where a bit of sunlight peeks through. Simply apply new weather stripping (potentially with a larger thickness). Window cracks or seal breaks will require caulking or weather stripping as well.

See the light

With shorter days descending upon us, the lights must stay on longer. Check both your indoor and outdoor lights to ensure they’ve all been replaced with energy efficient light bulbs. This is particularly important for outdoor lights, which tend to stay on for long periods of time in the fall and winter. Take it one step farther by installing lighting products that feature automatic daylight shut-off, motion sensors.

Get your mind in the gutters

Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts. It is so important to keep this system flowing

smoothly. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and to water in your

basement. They are also more prone to rust and corrosion. Before the leaves fly this fall, have your gutters cleaned, then covered with mesh guards to keep debris from returning.

Freshen your filter

Clean or replace dirty furnace filters.

Give your furnace a physical

Preparing your heating system for the weather change is perhaps the most important component of fall and winter comfort. Sediment build-up in your furnace or heat pump causes inefficiency and can even present a safety issue. Consider having a professional inspect your heating system.

Gather round the hearth

Check fireplaces for soot or creosote build-up. Better yet, schedule a visit from a reputable chimney sweep. Wood stoves are making a comeback. To avoid a deadly situation, be sure to inspect yours before firing it up.

Keep your family safe at home

A home safety check should be an annual ritual in every household. Test smoke and CO monitors, inspect (or install) fire extinguishers, review fire escape plans, and rid your home of old newspapers and other fire hazards.

*(Information gathered from the Dept. of Energy and Better Homes and Garden home improvement)