Fall is here. It’s full of cool breezes and colorful leaves. But what does that mean for your house? Fall is the perfect time to work on outdoor maintenance projects before it gets too cold.

1. Inspect your insulation – it’s getting chilly outside which means you’ll be turning your heat on. In order to keep the energy bills lower, you need proper insulation. Attics are the worst for letting cold air in so you’ll need to prepare it by installing loose fit or fiberglass insulation.

2. Prepare the fireplace – don’t wait until the last minute. Check your chimney for any cracks and necessary repairs. Make sure the door gaskets seal tightly.

3. Tend the lawn – working on the lawn now, before winter, will help it grow back better in spring. Aerating your lawn will prevent thatch buildup. It also moisturizes and keeps air and nutrients going to the lawn’s roots. You should also spread fertilizer over the lawn with a thin layer and fill the patches with “cool weather” grass seed.

4. Test smoke detectors – there should be smoke detectors on every level of your home. October is Fire Prevention Month, so take some time to educate yourself and your family on the risks of cold weather fire risks. You should be testing your smoke detectors monthly and checking that the batteries are still working. Also, make sure that you have a few fire extinguishers in the house, especially near the kitchen and fireplace.

5. Rake the leaves – raking isn’t the only option to clean up your leaves. You can also mulch them with your lawnmower, use a lawn vacuum or leaf blower. Too add some fun, create a big pile to jump in or use the leaves for fall decoration. Fall leaves are also good for your composite pile as long as your trees are healthy.

6. Get a pumpkin – Pumpkins are everywhere during this time of year. They welcome fall to your home. You can find a pumpkin at the grocery store, pumpkin patch, or even in your backyard garden. They’re fun to paint, carve or just place on the front porch for decoration.