Angie's list

Before the weather grows colder, it’s important to prepare for the winter months to prevent costly damage or heating bills. There are some simple fall preventative home maintenance steps that every homeowner should follow. We check out the fall home maintenance checklist in today’s Angie’s List report.

As the last of summer’s heat grows into a memory, and you’re pulling out your jackets more than your flip-flops, it’s time to tackle a few simple chores that’ll make winter more pleasant and the first thing to do to prepare for the seasonal change is to check your insulation. Here’s a quick tip: If you can see the wood beams in your attic, it’s time to add more.

The key to keeping cold out is finding out how it’s getting in.

“The first sign of cold is a great time to check the seals around your windows and doors, and an easy, do-it-yourself way to do that is to take a candle around in front of the windows lit and if it flickers, then you probably have a draft that needs attention,” says Angie Hicks the founder of Angie's List

If you’re starting to see cracks in your caulking, don’t worry – it’s an easy task with the right tools.

“Don’t go cheap on a caulk gun because then you’ll have a caulk gun that stays triggered and then it continues to spread the caulk, so don’t get any real cheap caulk gun. Get one that works really well,” David Price of Well Done Handyman and Home Revovations.

Before the cold wether really hits, make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris. For your own safety make sure your chimney is clean; service your furnace and change the filter; and show some love to your water heater – you don’t want to be stuck without any of these in the dead of winter.

“Many homeowners don’t think about their water heater until it goes out and they get a cold shower, but there is some simple maintenance you can do that can really increase the efficiency of your water heater. Simply by draining the water heater once a year, you can increase its efficiency by 50 percent,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

Be sure your summer equipment, such as your lawn mower, is appropriately maintained and stored.

“Fuel is the biggest issue on storage of the mower over the winter time. Either run it out of fuel and store it completely empty or stabilize the fuel and store it full” says Chris Arvin of Mow Better.

Angie also suggests you get a roof inspection in the fall. Finding and repairing any minor damage now could save you big bucks after a long winter.

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