As the warm weather comes to an end, it is time to prepare your home for the winter months ahead. Performing a few quick and easy maintenance items now could save you time and money down the road.

The following property maintenance check will help ensure a properly winterized home:

– Make sure the furnace filter is clean and sized properly. Check the thermostat to be sure it is working and that the pilot light is functioning. Have a qualified specialist clean and check your furnace, replacing and cleaning the necessary parts. Vacuum hot and cold air registers if necessary.

– Check your chimney. If you haven’t used your fireplace in a while, check for animals, debris, and leaves. Consider having a qualified professional install a screen over your chimney opening.

– Clean your eavestrough and downspouts. When they are clogged, rainwater backs up. When the temperature drops below freezing, the standing water freezes causing the eavestrough and downspouts to expand and crack. Remove any leaves, dirt, and debris.

– Check for broken, damaged or loose shingles, small holes, and loose nails. Check flashing around all dormers, vent pipes, chimneys and any other projections where the roof covering meets an adjoining surface.

– Make sure your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Check the batteries regularly. Remember to change the batteries whenever you change your clocks.

– Check weather stripping around windows, doors and between the foundation and siding. Replace where needed. If the caulk is cracked or peeling away, it allows your home’s heat to escape.

– Clean and repair cracks, fissures and joints in concrete surfaces. Repairing sidewalks and driveways help with snow removal.

If you don’t have the time or the expertise for your winter home maintenance, contact a qualified professional.