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Fall Maintenance Tasks -  Inside

1.    Check your heat pump, furnace or boiler.  Have a heating professional make any repairs that are necessary.  If there are the filters associated with your heating system, check them out. Be sure you know what kind of filters you have as each furnace accepts a certain size filter. There are 30-day, 60-day and 90-day filters. There are also filters that you do not replace, but that you simply remove, hose off, and put back into the furnace unit. Properly maintaining your furnace (keeping it running efficiently and preventing leaks) conserves fuel.

2.    Make sure there are working nightlights at the top and bottom of all stairs.

3.    Check all window and door locks for proper operation.

4.    Fireplaces, wood burning stove connector pipes and chimneys should be inspected at least annually. Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean the flues and check your fireplace damper. Soot and creosote, which build up inside the chimney, can ignite when a fire is lit in the fireplace.

5.    Inspect and clean dust from the covers of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

6.    Check for cracked or missing caulk around the base of your toilet, bath tub, and bathroom cabinets. Properly sealing gaps between your bathroom fixtures and flooring material can prevent water from seeping into the sub-flooring.

7.    Check the weather stripping around every outside door and window.  Changes in temperature and humidity levels cause doors and windows to expand and contract. Normal settling of a house sometimes changes the alignment of the windows and doors slightly, resulting in misalignment of the weather stripping. Over time, the weather stripping can also deteriorate from normal wear and natural elements, such as the summer heat. In the fall, it should be checked for deterioration and/or alignment and replaced, if necessary. This will help to keep cold air out and the heated air in.

8.    Check around windows and doors for air leaks. An easy way to check for leaks is to move a lighter around the window or door frame and see if the flame moves with a breeze. If you find a leak, you can caulk it or you may have to replace the wood frame. If you are unable to repair the leak around a window frame, you can buy a plastic sealing kit from any home improvement store that can be placed on the outside of the window to prevent air from getting in. For door leaks around the bottom of the door, you can install a new door sweep. Having these leaks repaired can save you money on your energy bill during the cold months.

9.    If you see any dark, dirty spots, it may indicate that you have air leaks coming into your home. Check the insulation. You need to try to locate these leaks and repair them.

10.    Fall is also a good time for indoor painting. Dry weather that is not too cold enables the paint to stick better and dry more easily. If the weather is still warm enough to leave windows open, then this, of course, helps with ventilating during painting. Since most professional painters are not as busy in the fall months as during the rest of the year, you may be able to get a good price during the fall season. After the painting is done, make sure your leftover paint is stored in a heated area of your home, like a garage, to prevent it from freezing.

By performing these fall routine maintenance measures, you can prevent possible problems later on during the colder months. If you have to have repair work done during the colder weather, it could be more costly. If you do not feel comfortable tackling these maintenance projects yourself, research your area for reliable, insured professionals.

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