Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fall Checklist

Does the smoke alarm work? Are downspouts and gutters clean? And doesn't the chimney need some attention?

Do these questions sound familiar? To help you get back into the spirit of winterizing your home, here is a checklist of some of the most important to-do's.

Remember to:
• Install carbon monoxide detectors near all combustion appliances. The American Lung Association® (ALA) recommends detectors with digital displays because they are easy to read.

• Change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Most of these safety devices require a fresh pair of batteries at least once a year. But it pays to do your homework, so consult the manuals.

• Replace the furnace filter. A clean filter will improve the flow of air, which will make your home more temperate and help to lower utility bills.

• Check the dryer vent to ensure that the plastic housing is tight and that the flap swings freely.

• Arrange for a professional to inspect all fuel-burning appliances, such as your furnace, hot water heater, fireplace and gas range. Annual inspections of all fuel-burning appliances help to safeguard against carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Don't forget to replace the screen windows with glass! And while you're out there, remember to inspect storm windows for cracks, holes or signs of wear and tear.

• Consider hiring a professional if storm windows look like they are in need of serious repair.

• You may want to consider covering windows with plastic to help keep the heat in.

• Repair damaged or worn caulking on windows and doors to lock heat in and keep cold air out.

• Remove obstructions that might clog gutters and downspouts.

• Make sure that downspouts are sufficiently sloped to carry water away from your home's foundation.

By following these easy steps, you can ensure that your home is ready for the change of season. It's time to welcome fall!

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