Welcome to part 1 of my Autumn checklist series for homeowners! Let's start with fall maintenance for furnaces and fireplaces.

Fall Furnace Maintenance

Have your furnace inspected and cleaned

It’s a good idea to have your furnace inspected and cleaned each year before the start of winter. You can compare having your furnace cleaned to changing the oil in your automobile. If you skip a few cleanings, you might not notice the impact right away, but it will affect the performance and longevity of your furnace. Much like your vehicle, a furnace is a significant financial investment and it pays to maintain it properly. It’s best to find a reputable specialist to do the job. The inspection may include checking the belts, pilot light, fan bearings and motor as well as cleaning the flue outlets if your furnace runs on oil or gas.

Clean or replace your furnace filters and registers

Cleaning or replacing the filter is essential to not only keeping your furnace efficient but it will help the life of your furnace as well. Typically, disposable filters should be changed once every 3 months. This will not only increase the productivity of your furnace, it can significantly help with indoor allergens.

Dust that gathers on registers and ducts acts as insulation and wastes heat. Use your vacuum to clean registers regularly. Also be sure to remove any dust, litter or lint from around the furnace housing itself.

Fall Fireplace Maintenance

Have your Fireplace and Chimney cleaned

During the winter months, in many areas, chimney fires are the #1 cause of house fires. Chimney fires damage chimneys, spread fires to other areas of the home and cause millions of dollars in property damage annually.

Natural fireplaces or better known as wood burning fireplaces and chimneys should be checked and cleaned at least once per year. When wood burns, it produces creosote which builds up and collects inside your chimney. This buildup will reduce the draw of the fireplace and lessen its efficiency and cause smoke to channel back into your home. If the buildup is significant, it can catch on fire.

Gas fireplace chimneys should also be inspected and cleaned annually. Even though there will be no creosote as you’re not burning wood, bird nests or other blockages can still occur which prevent carbon monoxide from escaping the house. Chimney blockages can be very hard to detect with a gas fireplace. Unlike smoke with a wood burning fireplace, you cannot see or smell the carbon monoxide that would signal a blockage. Make sure you have CO detectors installed and that they are in working order.

It’s a great idea to have a professional clean your fireplaces and chimneys, but there are also DIY kits you can find at many hardware retailers.

Fire/Smoke Alarms and CO Detectors

Fall is a great time to check the batteries in your Fire/Smoke alarms and CO detectors and make sure they’re in working order before the home heating season begins. If you haven't checked them yet, a good time to do it each fall is when Daylight Savings Time Ends the first weekend of November.