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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

1. Replace batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.

2. Check your chimney for soot and blockages. Burning wood in your fireplace will produce soot and creosote, a natural by-product that can build up in your chimney, causing a fire hazard. Get your chimney checked and cleaned before you start a fire.

3. Clean your gas fireplace. If you have a natural gas fireplace instead of one that burns logs, you don’t have the issue of soot build up. But you should still clean your gas fireplace to remove dust and cobwebs, and to check the ceramic logs for any cracks or signs of wear.

4. Flush your water heater. Make sure your water heater is in top operating condition by flushing your water heater annually to remove silt and debris.

5. Clean lint from your dryer exhaust duct. Lint is highly flammable and the cause of 3000+ home fires annually. Vacuum loose lint from the connection, then use a dryer vent cleaning tool to clean the hose itself.

6. Find and fix air leaks in your home. Air leaks are not just windows and doors. Check for air flow at your electrical outlets and light switches, recessed lights and any plumbing inlet or outlet.

7. Insulate your water heater. Water heaters are typically installed in a non-temperature-controlled area of your home, such as a garage, basement or attic. Wrapping your gas water heater helps it operate more efficiently.

8. Clean gutters. Make sure to clean out leaves, pine needles and debris. Clogged gutters can cause rain to back up under your shingles, or cause rain to fall closer to your home, undermining your foundation.

9. Check home drainage – Check the downspouts where your gutters empty. Downspouts should be extended 3-6 feet away from your home to prevent damage to your foundation.

10. Add insulation. Check your insulation. Insulation degrades over time. So even a home that’s perfectly insulated when it’s built needs more insulation as the years go on.

11. Test your sump pump. A heavy rainfall or ice jam can cause your basement to flood. If you have a sump pump test it now.

12. Seal foundation and driveway cracks. During the winter cold, water can enter these cracks and expands as it freezes. That can make small cracks grow to a bigger problem.

13. Insulate water pipes. Locate water pipes near outer walls, in crawl spaces or in attics that may be susceptible to freezing.

14. Review your roof. Take a look at your roof. You’ll want to see if there are any missing shingles or holes in your roof and get that repaired before the winter.

15. Get a furnace tune-up. Your furnace needs a tune-up each year, just like your car. This is both a safety issue and can help with energy efficiency.

16. Change your furnace filters.

17. Remove lawn hoses from the spicket and drain the hoses.

18. Winterize your sprinkler system.

19. Check and repair caulking around doors and windows that show signs of deterioration.

20. Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible. Be sure it is fully charged.

21. Check trees for dead limbs and remove.

22. Test your emergency generator.

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