All of the leaves have changed into glorious fall color, and now is the time when Maine residents scramble to get all of our chores done before we settle in for another long winter.  Here are some tips to  getting your home and auto ready for the cold months ahead.

With the crazy increase in energy costs, a top goal should be to make sure your heating system is running efficiently and safely.  Make sure that your system is installed professionally and that it is inspected and serviced annually.  Also make sure that your chimney is inspected regularly and that you keep smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in proper working order.

Inspect your home for air leaks in the foundation, doors and windows, especially around pipes.  Frozen pipes can burst and cause major water damage in your home.  Have someone keep an eye on your home when you are on vacation, to make sure your heat stays on and pipes don’t freeze.

Ice dams on your roof are a common cause of water damage.  Ice dams occur when heat escapes into the attic, melting snow on your roof, which re-freezes and causes ice to build up under your shingles.

Driving in the winter requires a great deal of caution.  Watch the weather and stay off the roads in bad conditions whenever possible.  Have your vehicle inspected in the fall and keep up with repairs.  Especially make sure your car has good snow tires.

Carry emergency supplies in your vehicle in case of an accident or break down, including extra blankets and clothing, a flashlight, water and food.  Keep your cell phone charged.

Yes, Mainers have long winters, but we also have a lot of common sense!  Be prepared and enjoy fall while it lasts.