Have You Done Your November Home Maintenance Chores?

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Fall temperatures have been quite mild across the United States so far, but they won’t last forever. Winter is on its way and some parts of the country can expect to see more than the normal amount of snow or bitterly cold weather.

The winter weather forecast from Accuweather sees a snowy winter in the Northeast and bitter cold in the Northern Plains and Midwest. After a late start, winter weather will reach the Southeast in late December or early January, while early storms are expected in the Northwest and Northern California. Only Southern California and the Southwest are expected to experience a drier and warmer winter.

The researchers at realtor.com have you covered, though, with six chores you need to take care of before the winter settles in, along with tips on how to finish these jobs quickly.

Here’s the list:

Weatherproof the house
Locate and seal cracks and spaces that let heat out and cold air in—along baseboards, wall/ceiling junctures, windows and doors, lighting fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets. Your wallet will thank you, because energy savings from reducing drafts range from 5% to 30% per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Check fire alarms
Dead batteries cause 24% of smoke alarm failures, putting your family at greater risk of a fire. You should replace batteries or test hard-wired fire alarms twice a year. You knew this, right? Fine, we don’t mind reminding you.

Service the HVAC system
Make sure your heating system is running safely and efficiently so you’ll stay toasty during cold weather and save money on energy bills.

Clear dead leaves
Dead leaves aren’t just unsightly—they’ll also kill your lawn. Rake and bag ’em for removal.

Clean patio furniture
Before storing your outdoor furniture for the winter, take this opportunity to give them a good cleaning so you don’t have to do it in the spring, at which point the dirt and grime will be way harder to remove.

Secure the home from pests
Critters are just like you: When its cold outside, they want to go where it’s warm. “An attic offers a fantastic retreat for rodents like rats and mice to spend the winter,” says Nancy Troyano, director of technical education and training for Rentokil Steritech, a pest control company.  But unlike you, mice and snakes can get through a hole the size of a quarter. Don’t let them! Replace all damaged roof tiles and attic vents before it snows, and seal up holes around plumbing pipes and cables that enter your house.

For tips on how to get finished in time to watch the next football game and other suggestions, see the realtor.com website.