Keeping up with home maintenance can be a challenge.  There is always plenty to accomplish, and if you don’t stay on top of tasks, it can mean costly repairs.  This handy list will help you prioritize items on your to-do list and save you money.  

Heating and Cooling.  It’s extremely important to take proper care of your home’s heating and cooling system.  By making sure your equipment is running properly and efficiently, you save on energy use and prolong the life of your systems. 

  • Prepare your heating system. After replacing the filter in your furnace and giving it a good cleaning, be sure to do a test run of your heating system to ensure it’s working properly before the temperatures turn frigid. Some experts recommend that you hire a professional to inspect your home’s ductwork and service your furnace before winter.  A clean system is more energy efficient, saving on your heating bills.  The professionals at HowStuffWorks explain that built-up dirt in the system “is the biggest enemy of your home’s heating and cooling system. It can waste fuel and drastically lower efficiency. Dirt affects all three basic components of the system, so cleaning is the most important part of regular maintenance. Lubrication and belt adjustment at the furnace are also important.”
  • Service the air conditioner. The government’s Energy website explains that your unit will “require regular maintenance…to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.”  Hire a professional to service your air conditioning unit.  You could schedule this in conjunction with servicing your furnace.  Making sure your system is in great shape before winter will mean it’s ready to go when warm weather returns.

Preventing Frozen Pipes.  Pipes that freeze and break can mean costly damage to your home.  You need to check both inside and outside your home for potential problems.  Here are some basics recommended by professionals:


  • Unheated spaces: If you have pipes inside your home in unheated areas, add pipe insulation to prevent freezing and breakage.  This includes pipes in your attic, garage or crawl space. 
  • Under-insulated areas: This includes pipes on outside walls that may be exposed to extreme temperatures or do not receive normal heated air in your home.  It could be worth the investment to open the wall and add insulation to prevent the pipes from breaking. 


  • Hoses: Disconnect garden hoses from spigots and drain them before putting them away for winter.  Water in a hose that is connected to a spigot can freeze, expand, and burst the pipes inside your home. 
  • Spigots: If your spigots aren’t frost-proof, be sure to shut off their water sources.  There should be a valve inside your home to do this.  Then, drain the water by opening the spigot, and install a faucet insulator.  This minor expense can save you big bucks in the long run. 

Safety.  By keeping on schedule in the fall and spring, you’ll make it easier to remember when these important safety items are due.  This is a small investment of time and money that could prove life-saving.

  • Check smoke detectors. According to Today, three out of five people killed in a fire didn’t have a working smoke detector.  Experts recommend that smoke detectors be replaced every 10 years, and batteries should be changed twice annually.  You should test your device when you change the batteries. 
  • Check carbon monoxide detectors. Just like with smoke detectors, experts recommend checking and changing carbon monoxide detector batteries twice annually.  These devices should also be replaced every 10 years. 

Save energy, money and lives.  These simple tasks are some of the most important things you can do to prepare your home for winter.  By ensuring your heating and cooling systems are maintained properly, you save energy and money.  Making sure your pipes won’t freeze prevents costly repairs.  Checking your home’s fire and carbon monoxide detectors is an investment in your family’s safety.  Making these tasks a priority will help you keep your home in great shape and provide peace of mind once the colder seasons arrive. 

Author Mr. Denikin is passionate about sharing his experiences working on DIY projects to benefit people with special needs children.