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Don’t fall behind on your home maintenance checklist

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Daylight savings time has ended, which means time is running out to winterize your home. Get ready for the long, cold months ahead with these fall home tips. 

You're burning daylight. With the usual suspects—cold temperatures, snow, and higher utility bills—arriving sooner rather than later, you need to prepare your home for those long, cold winter nights. We have a list of maintenance and DIY home improvement projects that is so quick and easy, you might be able to complete it during that extra hour on Sunday. (O.K., probably not. Sleep that extra hour, but then get up and get this done.)

Save your hose 

​As you remember from high school science class, water expands when it transforms from a liquid to a solid, so you'll want to make sure your hose doesn't become a victim. Remove all hoses from all faucets, drain them, and then wrap them up for next spring. Turn off all outdoor water, too, so your pipes don't get too big for their britches.

Replace furnace filters 

Before the cold settles in for the winter, replace your old furnace filters. Having dirty air filters lowers your home's energy efficiency and can create an unsafe environment. How often you need to replace your air filters varies depending upon the make and model. Some units are high maintenance and require a change every month. Others require you check on them only once or twice a year. Find out more about your heating system and how to keep it functioning properly and safely in our vipTIPS

Prep your lawnmower 

​Before your lawnmower hibernates for the winter, it needs a bit of work. Take out your mower's manual (you kept it, right?) and read the instructions. Some manufacturers suggest adding a stabilizer to your gas and a capful of engine oil, then running the mower for a bit. Others suggest replacing the spark plugs, running the engine try, or even changing the oil out completely. You also might want to check your blade to make sure it's not dull, and if it is, replace it. Once you complete the necessary maintenance, roll that mower away until you spring ahead next year.

Secure your foundation 

​To prevent water from expanding and cracking your home's foundation during the winter months, check the land around your foundation to make sure water drains away from the house. The land should be sloping down at least six inches per every 10 feet. Also, make sure dirt or soil isn't touching your siding. If it is, that dreaded word everyone hates to hear – moisture – might infiltrate and create water damage, so call a professional to explore ways to save your home from drainage and soil issues.

Insulate, insulate, insulate 

​Insulate your attic for heat retention, which should lower your utility bill. Consider investing in a stair cover for your attic's hatchway. Insulate your water pipes with foam rubber sleeves or use insulation wrap to keep them cozy all winter long. Finally, insulate your window treatments to add an extra layer of warmth—like another blanket—to keep the cold out and the heat in.

Install socket sealers 

​You may have never thought about all the heat you're losing through your outlets. Stop the heat – and your utility bill – from slipping away from you by installing socket sealers. Simply remove the outlet's faceplate, install socket sealer, and then replace faceplate. As we said, quick and easy.

Set your thermostat (lower) 

 It doesn't need to be super fancy, but a programmable thermostat can help you save money. By lowering temperatures at certain times of the day—say, during work hours when you won't be home—you can also lower your heating bill. Learn more winter home hacks in "Not-so-scary essential fall home maintenance." 

Keep up with your fall home maintenance this year with the help of vipHomeLink. Our reminders and recommendations help you stay on top of your home maintenance, and check out our vipTIPS to help improve your home. With your home running in tip-top shape, you won't have to worry about the shorter days and longer nights.

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