Your Fall Maintenance Checklist

I love a good list. It keeps me organized and focused, and I savor the sense of accomplishment when I can draw a big line through a completed item. Thanks to Kiplinger’s newly released fall and winter home maintenance checklist, you now have a handy guide of must-do tasks that will help winterize your home–and combat high energy costs.
Kiplinger’s associate editor Pat Mertz Esswein writes that the top task to tackle is a heating system tune-up. Since you’ll rely heavily on your home’s heating supply during the cold winter months, it’s best to make sure everything is clean and working properly. Call in a technician and expect to spend $80-$100 for a basic tune-up. The technician will also inspect for carbon-monoxide leakage, a potentially life-saving diagnosis.

Other tasks include:
+ Reverse your ceiling fans, which will produce an updraft that pushes heated air down into the room. This is especially important if you have high ceilings, and just may result in savings on your energy bill.
+ Prevent ice dams by calling in a home energy auditor or weatherization contractor who will identify air leaks and/or inadequate insulation. A tip? If you have this work completed by Dec. 31, 2010, you can claim 30 percent of the cost (excluding installation), up to $1,500, as part of the federal energy-efficiency tax credit, according to Esswein.
+ Check your roof.
+ Clean the gutters.
+ Have your lawn‘s irrigation system professionally drained.
+ Clean and inspect your chimney. An inspection by a chimney sweep will set you back between $80 and $200.
Read the full list
Photo by svaldilfari

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