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Ticktock, ticktock – oh my winter is just around the corner. Time is running out to make those home improvements you’ve been planning but just never got around to doing when the weather was so beautiful.

Ok, there are the easy ones. Time to remove the hoses from the outside hose bib. I drain the hose then curl it up and put it under my deck in case it’s needed and it’s easy to find in the spring.

If you’re stocking up on firewood, make sure to store it away from your house or other buildings. The last thing you want to do is invite wood-boring pests like carpenter ants into your house. Storing your wood someplace with good drainage and on blocks can help maintain airflow under the pile to help reduce moisture problems which attract insects.

Don’t forget to replace the filters in your heating system. This is the time of year to have your heating system professionally serviced. If you have a gas, propane or fuel oil forced air furnace, it needs to be checked for a cracked heat-exchanger that can emit carbon monoxide. Heating companies sometimes offer specials on heating system inspections and cleanings in the fall. Having your heating system serviced now may help avoid the frantic call when it is 10 below zero and the heating contractor is three days out with all the other frantic no heat calls.

Be sure to test or change batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace with new detectors as needed per the manufacturers recommendations. A good tip is to check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors monthly.

Reverse ceiling fans during the winter to keep the warm air circulating downward.
If you enjoy a warm fire during the colder months, call a chimney sweep for a cleaning and safety check. It’s frightening to see flames shooting from your chimney.

Check your emergency supplies – bottled water, shelf stable foods, flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, radio, smart phone charger and anything else you may need should the power go out for an extended time.

The Research Information Center, AHFC’s building science library, is available to the public and has information on energy efficiency, building, do-it-yourself projects, Codes and more.

Visit our website at or call 330-8166 or toll free in Alaska at (800) 478-4636.