While we still, technically, have a few weeks of autumn left, there's not a lot of doubt winter is setting in. Which means a lot of things, but don't let some simple home maintenance for the season slip your mind. As always, a few preventative steps now can save you time, money and heartache over the next several months.

Check the Pipes

If you've never done it, inspect the pipes inside of your home. Check the attic, basement and/or crawl space and make sure those pipes are well insulated. Make sure your garden hoses are disconnected as well. For more on preventing frozen pipes, check out this list of tips from State Farm.

Check the Walls

Cracks and holes in your walls and foundation can attract small, furry visitors seeking a warm place to spend the winter. Inspect your walls and seal up any openings you find. Those holes don't have to be very large; a tiny mouse only needs enough space to squeeze it's head through and then it's inside!

Check the Gutters

Fall leaves and ice can make for a disaster the next time it rains. Either check them yourself or have a contractor do it. And then have them cleaned out if necessary. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged roof, leaks in your foundation and mold problems. If you haven't had them checked recently, now is the time to do it.

Keep Mother Nature in Check

Make sure to trim tree branches and shrubs that are growing close to your windows. One good ice storm, and they become heavy clubs ready for the wind to blow them into the windows and shatter the glass!

Keep the Air Clean

You should always check the filters in your HVAC units once a month anyway, but now's a good time to do it if you don't keep to that schedule. Dirty filters are going to make it much harder to keep your home warm.

Reverse the Fans

If you have ceiling fans, you may be able to reverse their direction. Instead of pulling the warm air up to the ceiling, have it push the warm air back down.

Fireplace Safety

If you burn wood in a fireplace, make sure to have your chimney checked. Deposits can block the chimney, causing a fire hazard as well as a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. And make sure to store firewood at least thirty feet from your home to prevent another fire risk.

For more information about protecting yourself and your home in the winter, check out these links.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photos courtesy ItEndsWithTens/flickr.com and KennyFerguson/flickr.com