I think we are so fortunate to be living in California, especially in the Central Valley. I say this partly because I like that we don’t have all four seasons. We typically have spring, summer and what feels like a long autumn. But September still marks the beginning of the fall season for most people. Kids are back in school and signs of Halloween begin to pop up. This is the best time to begin the Fall Checklist. Taking care of small things can make a big difference. Here are a few tips that were shared by Better Homes and Gardens.

1. Get your mind in the gutter. Although we seem to be facing a drought, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make certain the gutters are clean. Removing debris can prevent damage and leaks.

2. Button up your overcoat. Gaps in caulk and weather stripping can account for 10% of your heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This is like a coat being left unbuttoned. Fortunately, Energy companies will conduct free energy audits and point out where adding weather stripping and caulking can prevent leakage.

3. Freshen your filters and give your furnace a physical. Cleaning and replacing dirty filters will allow better air flow and having a professional inspect the heating system will help you avoid a last minute rush to repair any issues.

4. Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide detector and vacuum them with a soft brush attachment. Make certain there is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector on every floor of the home.

5. Service the fire extinguisher. Most multifamily buildings have fire extinguishers either in each unit or in 50 foot intervals. But having one in a single family home is a good idea. They should be kept near the kitchen and serviced annually.

6. Gather around the hearth. Fireplaces should be checked annually for damage and hazards, even though they are used occasionally. The best option is to have the chimney inspected. But simple things like checking for blockage can help reduce hazards. Birds love to nest at the top of an unprotected flue. Also exercise the damper. The damper is the metal plate that opens and closes the flue just above the firebox. Move it to open and closed position to make sure it is working.

7. Keep the air clean. In San Joaquin County we have restrictions on burn days. If you plan on using your fireplace, always check the website at www.valleyair.org/aqinfo/cbyb.htm.

  For these and additional tips visit our blog on the company website at
www.newbridgemanagement.comand follow the link to the original article from which these tips came.