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Expert shares fall maintenance tips to help protect your home for the winter season

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Sam Clarke
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As the days get cooler, experts say now is a good time to do some fall home maintenance before winter sets in.

Oklahoma State University Extension Housing and Consumer Specialist Gina Peek says to fix up things around the house now. Peek encourages homeowners to clean their gutters and check the roof for loose or missing shingles, especially following recent severe weather.

Oklahomans will be reaching for the thermostat as it gets colder and it's important to make sure your heating system is ready. It’s recommended to have your heating unit checked and serviced by a professional to ensure your system runs at its peak performance.

"Something very simple to do is make sure that you replace the filters in your HVAC system on a regular basis," says Peek.

And if you have a fireplace, Peek says to have it inspected and cleaned even if you don’t use it often. Birds, squirrels and other animals could be living in your chimney.

Finally, ensure all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working order and replace batteries in all safety equipment.

"Keep in mind those [safety] products don’t last forever," Peek says. "If you’ve got a smoke alarm that’s 30 years old, for example, it’s time for an upgrade."

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years.
Peek says you'll find a manufacture date usually on the smoke or carbon monoxide detector itself or on the packaging.

A few other quick and easy fall maintenance tips include:

  • Remove window air conditioners or put weatherproof covers on them.
  • Check for leaky faucets and replace washers as necessary.
  • Make sure refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over
    a sheet of paper. If you can easily pull the paper out, the door may need to be adjusted or the seals replaced.
  • Seal drafty doors and windows. Heat can easily escape even small cracks of space, which ultimately will cost more in heating bills.
  • Inspect home siding for holes and cracks and replace caulk if necessary.
  • If a home has storm windows and screens, take down the screens and replace with the storm windows.

Experts say doing maintenance around your home now will ensure it’s ready for cold weather later this year.
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Nyk has worked in radio since 2011 serving as a board operator, on-air announcer and production director for commercial radio stations in Iowa. Originally from the Quad Cities area, Nyk joined KGOU in 2018 as a practicum student studying Creative Media Production at OU. Upon graduating the following year, he became part of KGOU’s staff and is now the local Morning Edition host. When not on the air, Nyk likes to read, listen to music and follow news about the radio industry.
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