Tune-Up Your Heater and other Fall Maintenance Tips

We’re full of fall maintenance tips these days and hope to get everything accomplished this weekend which will be hard to do as we’re headed to Seattle to bring in the new season and enjoy a few days in the PNW.
But if you’re home these are some simple tune-ups you can do for your home that will save you time and money now and are much easier to perform in the mild post-summer weather.
1. Tune up your heating system. For about $80 to $100, a technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair so that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage. And you minimize the chance of being 200th in line for repairs on the coldest day of the year.
2. Buy a programmable thermostat. Or, if you already have one, double-check the settings. Energy Star says that, on average, for an initial investment of $50 to $100, you will save $180 annually on heating (and cooling) bills if in winter you keep the thermostat set to no higher than 70 degrees
3. Hit the roof. Or at least scan it closely with binoculars. Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms or from melting snow. If need be, hire a handyman to repair a few shingles ($95 to $125, according to www.costhelper.com) or a roofer for a larger section ($100 to $350 for a 10-by-10-square-foot area).

4. Caulk around windows and doors. If the gap is bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Check window glazing putty, too (which seals glass into the window frame). Add weatherstripping as needed around doors, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.
5. Trim landscaping. Clear the area at least 1 foot away from exterior walls, and rake gunk out of corners and away from the foundation. Cut back tree limbs growing within about 5 feet of the house, or worse, scrubbing the house or roof. You will create better ventilation, help dry out surfaces and prevent decay and damage.
See the complete list of fall maintenance tips from Kiplinger.

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