In an article published on weather.com, the weather extremes for the month of September were rather dramatic. Torrential rains, colder temperatures and snow in places where snow doesn’t usually appear until much later in the year.

It’s officially fall and as we head into the final quarter of the year, aswinterize your homes you pull out your winter cardigans don’t forget to take care of your properties as well. It’s time to winterize your homes. Here are some tips to keep winter maintenance problems at bay.

Make sure the furnace is in good working condition, and free of lint dust. It’s time to change the filters as well and don’t buy the cheap ones, as they will typically trap as little as 10 percent of dust and debris. When was the last time you’ve caulked your windows and doors? Keeping a house sealed keeps the cold air out and hot air in and doesn’t stress your heating system.

Check for leaks around the house, underneath sinks and in the bath. Make sure your indoor and outdoor water pipes are insulated as well and make sure all outdoor faucets turn the water off completely with no drips. And speaking of water, check your hot water heater (the one you’ve shrouded with a thermal blanket) and check the temperature. If it’s set at anything above 120 degrees you might be wasting energy and firing up the hot water heater all too often.

Give your heating system an overall checkup and contact your local utility company to see if there are any promotions they are doing such as free inspections or “smart” thermostats which control the temperature when your tenants are asleep, at work or school. Finally, take a peek in your attic insulation.  Do you need an upgrade? Is the insulation evenly spread? For colder climates R-49 is suggested while warmer climes can use R-38. Insulation can be rolled in or blown-in.

All of these steps can be part of your annual property inspection so you don’t have to do all the crawling around yourself, that’s for the professional. But don’t wait too long, old man winter is just around the corner. In fact, he may have already arrived.