As the leaves begin to turn colors and days get shorter, it’s time to get your house ready for winter. Here are the top five things you should do now to avoid problems during the cold months ahead:

#1. Have your furnace serviced now to ensure everything is working properly and change all of your return-air filters. Many HVAC technicians recommend using cheap filters, which are thinner, as they allow easier air-flow and put less of a load on your air handler. But you do need to change them regularly.

#2. If you have wood fires in your fireplace, you should have your chimney inspected by a professional every 3-5 years, depending on how often you use it and the age of the chimney.

#3. Inspect your windows and doors to make sure the weather stripping is still in good shape and won’t let the cold air in.

#4. Trim back tree limbs and bushes so they aren’t overhanging or touching the house. Ice storms can weigh down the branches, causing them to snap off and damage your home.

#5. Drain and turn of your irrigation system, & disconnect hoses between use. You never know when the first frost will hit!