Page 8 - Network Magazine Fall 2018
P. 8

                     7 Essential Autumn Home Maintenance Checks
TOM BARTHOLOMEW, CLU, CHFC STATE FARM
As the leaves change and the days get shorter, take the time this autumn to prepare for winter. By making this fall home mainte- nance into a tradition, you'll have peace of mind in the winter and more time to hibernate.
Indoor Tasks
Heating system checkup
Be sure to change the air filter in your furnace and check its efficiency before the cold weather begins. Call in an HVAC contractor to test the heating output and give the system a tune-up. This technician can also check for and correct possibly hazardous carbon monoxide levels generated by your heating system. Stock up on several air filters for the winter and change them every month. If you don't have a programmable thermostat, purchase one for the system to help lower your energy costs.
After your furnace has been tuned up to its maximum efficiency, take a moment to inspect your heating ducts and vents. Dust them off and clear away anything that may have gotten into them over the summer. Then check your windows for any leaks that may compromise your heating efficiency. If you feel cold air coming in, purchase a plastic sealing kit from the hardware store and place the plastic around the window to keep the heat from escaping. Be sure to check your doors as well and fix their weather- stripping if needed.
Check the fireplace and chimney
Most chimney sweeps recommend an annual sweeping, but depending on how often you use the fireplace, you might be able to wait on a full sweep. But if you will be using the fireplace often, call a chimney sweep for an inspection.
Hopefully, you will have your older, seasoned firewood now ready for use after sitting for the spring and summer. It's recommended to keep the firewood at least 30 feet from the house and covered. Seasoned wood is best for fires, as it burns cleaner and longer.
Review home fire safety
The introduction of the heating season brings new po- tential for fire hazards, so take a moment to review fire safety in your home. Check and replace fire extinguishers if necessary and change the batteries in your smoke de- tectors. Also, go over the home fire evacuation plan with your family.
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