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It’s finally fall!  For lots of folks fall means cooler weather, a change in wardrobe (get out your sweaters, corduroy, and suede!), leaves changing beautiful colors, and the ever popular pumpkin spice. For home insurance professionals, it means it’s time to prepare your home for cold temperatures!

fall-checklist-2Before you rush out to buy candy, pumpkins, and lattes, the Agents at Kasmann Insurance would like you to consider the following:

 Fall Home Maintenance Tips/Expenses:

1. Heating System

Call a technician to inspect your furnace and heat pump to ensure they are clean and in good working order with no concerns. Remember, when the furnace comes on, it’s also time to reverse your ceiling fans for maximum warm air flow efficiency.

2. Roof

You’ll want to make sure all your roofing shingles are intact and none appear loose or are missing. This is also an ideal time to inspect the flashing around vents and chimneys for any rust or breaks, as well as the rubber boot on your plumbing vent stack for cracks or a loose/improper fit.

3. Gutters

Remove any leaves or debris from your gutters to prevent water from backing up against your home.  Inspect the fascia, as well, for any signs of rotting and make necessary repairs.

4. Windows and Doors

Check that you are not able to see daylight coming in through any gaps around your windows and doors. Silicone caulk or weather stripping can be used, as needed, to seal up any places air or moisture can get in. (Caulk works best when temperatures are above 50 degrees.)

5. Exterior Faucets

Disconnect all hoses and drain any remaining water to prevent freezing water from bursting pipes. If you have shutoff valves for any exterior faucets, turn them off to guard against any minor leaks leading to freezing issues.

6. Lawn Mower

Clean any debris from your mower deck and blade (do not use your bare hands on the blade) and either run it out of fuel, or use a fuel stabilizer for winter storage. Some manufacturers even recommend removing the battery until Spring.

7. Fireplace/Chimney

Your chimney and vents should be cleaned annually to prevent flue fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

8. Lawn

Fall is a great time to aerate, fertilize and seed your lawn. To provide additional nourishment over the winter, many lawn care companies recommend mulching leaves and allowing them to naturally decompose within the grass, instead of raking and removing them.

9. Trees

Think ahead. Will that large limb hanging over your home break if it is weighed down by snow or ice?  Are those dead limbs in your tree going to cause damage when they finally fall?  While tree pruning is ideal in the late winter/early spring before the buds begin to open, fall provides a great opportunity to remove any potential hazards.

10. Supplies

Certain supplies are indicative of winter, such as snow shovels and ice melt. Beat the rush and avoid the stress of supply vs. demand due to the impending snow storm, and purchase these items as soon as you see them on store shelves in the fall.

These are just a few common items that should be checked, serviced, or purchased before any typical winter in the Midwest.  The Kasmann Agency would also like to remind you to replace your smoke detector batteries when we “fall back” with the time change on November 6th, and to make sure your fire extinguishers are in proper working order (there should be at least one per floor of your home).  As always, “peace of mind is priceless” and things are usually easier when you’re prepared!