1. Check your home’s insulation.  Just as you check the windows and doors for air leaks, it’s important to keep an eye on your home’s insulation to ensure heat isn’t escaping.  If your attic or crawl space isn’t properly insulated, your heating system has to work harder during the fall and winter months to keep your home at a consistently comfortable temperature.  The more the system works, the more it costs you. This is especially true if your home’s insulation is from the 1970s or earlier.

2. Trim the trees.  Lawn maintenance isn’t fun for everyone, but trimming trees of dead branches can help prevent damage from heavy winds or snowfall this winter. You can cut back bushes and lower tree branches on your own using a simple pruning but for heavy tree limbs or those that are high up, it’s safer to bring in a professional.

3. Clear brush and leaves to keep pests out.  Keeping your lawn cleared of leaves and debris doesn’t just make it look better, it also helps prevent pests from moving in the winter.  Insects migrate to areas that they can easily hibernate in, so keeping your lawn cleared will also help keep your home pest free.  While you’re clearing debris, check for water leaks, as pests are always looking for food and water, so don’t be the one to provide it to them!

4. Test your home’s indoor air quality.  If your allergies flare up in the fall due to mold, pollen, and dander, there are some easy ways to reduce those triggers from entering your home.  Start with small fixes like changing your furnace filter or adjusting the humidity, or decide if it’s worth investing in a whole-home air cleaner.

5. Prep for power outages.  With rain, snow and ice storms on the horizon, now is a good time to have a generator installed.  There are various types and sizes of generators.  Some will power an entire house, or you can choose one that will keep a few of the more important things functioning.  And of course, be prepared with flashlights, batteries, and power packs for your cell phone.