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Here's a handy home maintenance checklist for this fall. It includes some items most homeowners tend to overlook. For your convenience, print this out and keep it where you will see it. The furnace filter should be replaced every three months.

An easy way to remember this is to perform the inspection on the first day of spring, summer, fall, and winter. Or the first of each quarter (January, April, July, October). Inspect the ducts, filters, and heating equipment.

It may be best to clean and vacuum vents, ducts, and other heating components. Use a certified HVAC professional, if necessary. Many offer discount specials during the fall season. Open and close the fireplace damper to ensure that it is operating correctly. Clean the fireplace of ashes if you have not done this since last winter.

A good New Years Resolution would be to always clean the ashes in a timely fashion. Clean the interior of the chimney. Don't want to get covered with soot? Leave the dirty work to a chimneysweep. If you can't get Mary Poppins, try the yellow pages. Install a top screen on your chimney to keep out debris and animals. Even raccoons have been known to fall down chimneys! Check the levels of your propane or oil tanks.

You will most likely need to replenish the supply. Inspect and repair all pipes. To prevent freezing problems in colder climates, drain and shut off the outside faucets. Clean gutters and downspouts.

You don't want little "trees" growing in your gutters next spring. Inspect the roof for loose shingles. Hint: If you have some extra roof shingles left over from your roofing job, immediately store a few in a not too noticeable area outside where they will be exposed to the elements. They will weather along with your roof shingles, and if you do need to replace an occasional shingle in the future, they will blend in very nicely with the rest of the roof Check for leaks around roof vents, skylights, and chimneys.

You may want to hire this out to a professional who is properly certified and insured. Pressure wash and seal the deck. One coat should be sufficient. Check for cracks in concrete and seal appropriately. Inspect your foundation walls and seal any small openings. It's amazing how rodents and insects can squeeze through even the smallest holes, especially those where pipes or wires enter the house.

Proper sealing also protects against moisture damage and heat loss. Protect outdoor items such as patio furniture, grills, and hoses. The best protection is inside storage in a basement, garage, or shed.

If this is not possible, wrap or cover them securely. Remember to drain the hoses first.

We are pleased to provide you with this short checklist of autumn maintenance. Please visit us for more information at http://www.tuscanyhomesllc.com . We are one of Atlanta's fastest-growing custom contractors and renovators.

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