Get your home and yard ready for fall by completing these important jobs now.

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Q: Concerning fall home prep, what can I do now to avoid later on down the road?

A: Fall brings with it many treats, like crisp, refreshing air; a myriad of natural colors; and pumpkin-spice everything. Unfortunately, the season also tends to treat our homes to a heavy dose of drab if we let it do so. Prepping your place for shorter, darker days and cantankerous weather can make the difference for a seamless transition from bright to bleak.

Add these tasks to your to-do list before fall’s ferocity comes a-knocking on your door.

1. Double down on bedding

Let’s face it: Early retreats to the bedroom and longer weekend lounges underneath the sheets are just a necessary part of fall. Make it worth your while by switching out your light summer sheets for flannel and fleece options and top them off with a down blanket or duvet cover.

As for color, adding rich fall shades, like reds and golds, adds warmth and texture to the whole bedroom and provides a sense of snug comfort you might have trouble leaving — but who said you have to? Oh, that’s right — responsibility.

2. Perform a heat check

A professional servicing for your furnace is definitely recommended if you haven’t done so over the last 12 months. At the very least, do a walkaround on your own and replace the filter. You’ll also want to dust the vents and ensure nothing is blocking them. As for the water heater, drain it and clean out any debris that might have found its way into the tank.

3. Fireplace fix-up

A simple inspection of the flue, doors and shields, and chimney will save you a lot of hassle when you finally decide it’s time to fire up some old-fashioned heat. Don’t forget about stocking up on firewood, either.

4. Exterior errands

The yard! Oh, the yard! Think about the stuff you didn’t want to do when it was warm and sunny, then try not to panic as you imagine doing them in heavy rain and wind.

Pick this weekend or next to perform basic outdoor maintenance like smoothing driveway cracks and cleaning out the gutters. Have outdoor furniture? Clean it and make sure you have plenty of storage options to safely stock your stuff until spring.

You’ll also want to turn off your outdoor plumbing features and protect them in case freezing weather catches us early. And don’t forget to buy or prep your compost bins for the heavy use ahead.

5. Light it up

Go ahead and binge on lighting to keep your home lit and lively throughout those dark and dreary days. And don’t forget about natural light, either. Take advantage of what little light you do get for free by cleaning your windows and fixing those broken blinds that have stayed in one mode all summer.

You can even go one step further and update your shades, curtains or blinds to help retain in-home heat. And if you haven’t already, replace those old incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting.

6. Safety first

Check (and replace) the batteries in your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors, and ensure you have a ready-to-go fire extinguisher handy (get one with an A-B-C rating on the label). Speaking of which, it’s never too soon to go over your fire-escape plan with the family. Do you have lighting options in case of a power outage? Think about also updating your toolbox with basic tools that could come in handy just in case you’re stuck indoors for a while — or if you just don’t want to leave the house, of course.

 

Cameron Poague is a writer for the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS), and HomeWork is the group’s wekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBAKS’s nearly 3,000 members, write to homework@mbaks.com.