Home Checklist: 5 To-Dos for Fall

While the warm weather makes it feel like it’s still the peak of summer here in Las Vegas, the triple digits really won’t be here for much longer. September has arrived, school is back in session and fall is just around the corner. And that means now is the perfect time to take care of some of the items on your home checklist to get ready for the coming season.

1. Chimney & furnace maintenance

You’ll want to make sure your heating system and fireplace are in good working order before you’re ready to use it. Hire a pro to come check everything out, and if necessary, have your chimney or furnace cleaned. If you don’t already have a chimney cap, ask your chimney sweep about adding one. It’s a metal cap with screens on the sides and can help prevent unwanted critters from crawling in your chimney.

2. Inspect roof & gutters

Most people usually wait until later in the fall to clean out their gutters and downspouts, but it’s not a bad idea to do a quick visual inspection before the wet weather moves in. And while you’re at it (and as long as you feel comfortable on a ladder) take a peek at the roof too. Keep an eye out for cracks or signs of damage, as well as worn-out seals around vent pipes. Go ahead and schedule any necessary repairs as soon as you can – it will be easier to get those taken care of before the rainy season begins.

3. Add/replace weather stripping

If you have a newer home, you may not need to worry about this step. However, if you have an older home, adding weather stripping (or replacing old damaged weather stripping) around the frames of your doors and windows can help keep your house warmer and those chilly drafts out. On newer doors, weather stripping simply fits into a groove in the door casing. Replacing it is easy. Simply pull off the old weather stripping, cut a new piece to the appropriate length, and place it back into the groove. On older doors that don’t have the groove, you can use self-adhesive foam weather stripping (it comes on a roll) or strips can be attached with nails.

4. Washer & dryer maintenance

Using your washer and dryer is probably part of your weekly routine, but did you know cleaning and maintaining the machines should also happen on a regular basis? Lint build-up in dryer vents can prevent your dryer from operating efficiently and in some cases, can even cause a fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “more home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.” You can hire a professional to clean the vents for you, or you can do it yourself. If you decide to go the DIY route, check out this step-by-step guide with pictures. Make sure to check out your washing machine as well – look for any cracks in the hoses. Cracks can lead to leaks and possibly costly damage.

5. Check safety devices/detectors

Check out your smoke detectors and make sure they are working properly. Simply press and hold the “test” button on the unit. The sound that comes from the detector should be ear piercing. If not, it’s time to replace those batteries.

Pull out your fire extinguishers too and check the expiration date. If yours doesn’t have a date, check the pressure gauge. Fire officials say if the needle is in the green area, it is considered functional. If the needle falls anywhere else, you should get the unit serviced or replaced. Also, if you notice cracks or breaks in the nozzle, if the locking pin on the handle is missing, or if the handle is broken, officials recommend replacing it right away.

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