As the leaves begin to fall and your thoughts turn to crisp afternoons and cozy nights by the fire, it’s easy to forget that your home needs a little love to make sure it’s ready once Old Man Winter comes knocking. Taking care of essential maintenance tasks now will help keep you warm and comfortable once the cold weather sets in.

Read on to discover some common fall maintenance “don’ts” and how to avoid them. Then let’s have at it.

Don’t forget to spot-test the carpet. In the rush to get your carpets deep cleaned before winter when it’s less comfortable opening a window or two for proper ventilation, don’t skip this essential step. Otherwise, you could end up with unsightly discolored patches.

Don’t forget to switch to high-efficiency lightbulbs. As the days get shorter, you’ll be illuminating the interior of your home for longer stretches of time. While a bit more costly per bulb over incandescents, LEDs and CFLs last longer and help save money on electricity.

Don’t blast the pressure washer. Great at washing away seasonal dirt and grime, a pressure washer can damage your home’s exterior if the force of water is too strong. For best results, start at the top of your home’s siding, angling the direction of the water slightly downward while using a gentle side-to-side motion as you work your way down.

Don’t ignore wood siding. This is the perfect time to touch up bare spots, splits, cracks, and board ends on your home’s wood siding to prevent further deterioration and invite water intrusion.

Don’t forget gaps and cracks. Lower your heating bill and stay more comfortable all winter long by sealing gaps around windows and exterior doors with caulk or weather-stripping.

Don’t forget the batteries. Protect your family from risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning by testing your detectors routinely and replacing the batteries every 6 months. To help you remember, change the batteries when you change the clocks for daylight savings time.

Don’t cover soffit vents. Adding extra attic insulation helps conserve energy and keeps your home more comfortable no matter the season. Just be sure to avoid covering any soffit vents, as they are vital for maintaining fresh airflow throughout the attic. This, in turn, prevents mold from forming and extends the life of roofing materials.

Don’t trim prematurely. Pruning a deciduous tree before it’s dormant can increase the risk of tree-borne diseases, so hold off until the early winter to remove dead tree limbs and thin out over-crowded branches.

Don’t stop watering the lawn. Your grass still needs moisture, especially cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and fescue which experience growth in the fall.

Don’t ignore sidewalk and driveway cracks. Melted snow can seep into driveway cracks, causing them to expand. Sweep out any debris and fill in the cracks with a sealant to keep moisture out. Perform this task when the daytime temperature is above 50 degrees – otherwise the sealant might not adhere properly.

Don’t forget the furnace filter. A clean filter helps improve air quality by removing airborne particles and allergens. It also helps maximize your heating system’s operating efficiency. A typical home requires a filter change every 6 to 8 weeks, but if you have a very dusty home, have pets that shed, or family members with respiratory issues, you may need to replace the filter more often.

Don’t overlook the chimney. Before lighting that first fire of the season, have your fireplace professionally inspected and cleaned. Remember, fall is the busiest season for chimney sweeps, so don’t delay in scheduling an appointment.

And now for a great big DO!!! As in, do call PC Plumbing, Heating, AC & Remodeling to have your heating system professionally checked for improved performance and enhanced safety. A little TLC goes a long way with home heating systems, including yours.