The fall rituals are well underway, with homeowners raking leaves, draining sprinkler systems and storing hoses to prepare for the winter ahead.
But many may be overlooking equally important tasks that will protect their homes when the temperature drops. From sealing drafts to insulating plumbing, such tasks can save money and prevent disastrous damage that comes from burst pipes and other cold-weather issues.
Here are some key items to add to your fall to-do list (once all those annoying leaves are bagged!):
Seal drafts: Check windows and doors to see if air is leaking through. If so, seal any holes or cracks in order to keep heat in and save on energy bills.
Clean gutters: Some people associate gutter cleaning with spring, but winter brings plenty of precipitation that can cause damage, should your gutters become clogged. Take time to remove all debris before the snow flies.
Tune up your furnace and replace the filter: There’s nothing quite like finding yourself without heat on a bone-chilling day. Make sure the furnace is working properly and change the filter to help it operate at peak efficiency.
Clean humidifier filter: Humidifier filters can suffer mineral deposit build-up that lessens their efficiency. Start each winter with a clean filter.
Winterize evaporative cooler: The water line to the evaporative cooler requires draining before winter; disconnect and blow out the line. Depending on your cooler design, cleaning the pads to avoid hardened calcification may also be important.
Insulate pipes: Insulating hot water pipes in unconditioned areas (attic and crawl space) allows you to lower the thermostat setting on your water heater, saving you money.
Insulate water heater: Wrapping an insulation blanket around your hot water tank will help keep the water hot, and save energy in the process.
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