Is it us, or did summer sprout wings and seriously fly by? In the last few weeks, you were probably busy doing everything but preparing your home for the impending seasons. Don't worry, you're not alone- we too went to the pool instead. But now it's time to buckle down and get our beloved abodes  ready for temperatures (and leaves. and sn*w!) to drop. Below are 5 must-do's for fall home maintenance, plus a life-changing way to use your Crock Pot.

1. Seal in that air! high utility bills

Were your cooling bills outrageous this summer? Chances are, your heating bills will be too. Your home may be suffering from cracks, gaps or holes which let unwanted air in, confusing your heating or cooling system and making it work harder. In addition to infiltration, air is also escaping out of those same locations. That means all of that air you spent so much money on heating is well, out the window. If you're not sure where your air leaks are, call for a free in-home energy assessment where one of our energy experts will identify them for you, and provide recommendations to remedy the issues.


2. See how your furnace has been holding up. 

It's been awhile since that puppy has ran and it's time for an annual checkup. Like, now.   An annual furnace service is relatively inexpensive (under $100 for most) and if there is a problem, you have time to come up with a solution in mid-range temperatures, instead of below freezing ones.

3. Take a look at the top.  fall maintenance tips

..Of your house. Two things you don't want to fail: your roof and your gutters. The weight that snow and ice put on a roof during winter months is not for the weak  or flimsy. Making sure yours can withstand the elements now will save you a lot more money than finding out later. As for gutters, if you don't have a protection system that keeps those ever-so-beautiful leaves  out during autumn, the relationship with your ladder is about to get real. Ignoring build-up of debris (especially wet debris) in your gutters is not only cause for foundation problems,  it's also a fire hazard. Think about all of your neighbors using their fire pits outside. Do you ever see little stray ashes that get carried away by a gust of wind? What if one finally settles into your cramped gutter, filled with dry leaves and sticks. Houston, you have a problem.

4. Check  your chimney.

We don't recommend you  checking your chimney. This is work for the pros, who will come out and inspect the inside and outside as well as clean it out for around $100.  We suggest calling a pro sooner rather than later (while the weather is still on our side). It'd be a crime to be without a warm fire on a cold night just because you forgot to get it cleaned. And certainly do not light one if it hasn't been checked! Not even the best cackling noise and homemade marshmallows can make up for a house fire.

5. Treat yourself to a new, fabulous lamp for your favorite reading/working room. 

This may not sound like a 'must-do', but you'd be surprised how a little light can go a long way. Due to the sun's position during fall and winter, paired with the short amount of time it's actually visible, bringing some extra light in with a snazzy new lamp can help brighten your day--get it? If your home feels dark and gloomy, it may start to rub off on you so pick a room you spend most of your time in and add one more lighting fixture. Really want to reward yourself? Buy a new throw or cozy pair of socks and get comfortable. Spring will be here before you know it.

*Our Favorite Pinterest Pick of the Week:

Arguably the BEST part of the season, we don't think you can be fully prepared for fall without filling your home with at lease one of its signature scents. We're putting the candles aside this year and trying something new: a home-made apple cinnamon potpourri. The best part? If you make it in your Crock Pot, you can let it simmer all day without fear of flames! The second best part? This is the same homemade recipe for applesauce! Seriously, awesome.

fall homemade home scents What you'll need:

-8 apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped -1 tablespoon of cinnamon -4 cups of water -1 tablespoon of lemon juice -2 tablespoons of sugar

What to do:

Combine all ingredients into a Crock Pot on low setting and enjoy!