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Fall Fix-Up Guide

Create a haven for migratory birds

Birds are more than beautiful visitors to your lawn and garden. They are also an important component of a healthy local ecosystem.     Here are a few simple steps to keep birds safe. Offer Food and Shelter

Switching bulbs makes a ­multipliable difference

The way you light your home can have a big impact on the environment and your energy bills. Indeed, widespread use of light-emitting diode — LED — lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States, according to government findings.     The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required the gradual phaseout of the old familiar incandescent light bulbs, which convert only 14 percent of their energy input to useful output.

As temperatures drop, decorate your home with warm, cozy accents to set the tone for spending more time indoors.

Follow the Season     Use seasonal throw pillows and blankets to add color, warmth and welcome. Take a hint from nature, filling vases with mums, cattails and colored leaves. Take walks in the woods and gardens to find autumnal treasures, like pinecones and branches of Chinese lantern. Serve warm, rich food: stews have come in season. Bake bread and fill the house with its aroma. Create and enjoy a favorite warm drink. Seek Out Inspiration

Comfort and value now and late

You’ve got a long list of home remodeling projects. Which goes to the top of the list? Prioritize by choosing projects that make life more comfortable now and improve your home’s value in the future.     These score on both standards. Insulate the Attic

Don’t let  housework get the best of you; there are strategies to help make it easier

When it comes to cleaning up after children, it often feels impossible to keep up. Don’t let the housework get the best of you; there are strategies that can help make being a parent just a little bit easier. Check out these helpful tips to ensure the kids are having fun, while your home stays tidy — and your sanity remains intact. 1. The Cleanup Game

Now’s the time to get to work so it’s lush and green come spring

Feeling less than pride and joy in your lawn?     Fall is the best time to lay the foundation for a rich, green, weed-free grass come spring. 1. Test Your Soil     How’s your lawn doing?     There’s no way to know without soil testing. Fertilize without testing, and you’re not only throwing your money away but also polluting the Bay.

Increase the odds of a happy ending by doing your part

It’s been three weeks since my home-improvement job was finished and I made the final payment.     Now comes the test: In the first rain since replacement, my gutters leaked. I made the call and waited.     Within an hour my call was returned. A few hours later, a craftsman was fixing the problem.     All contractors are responsive when they’re trying to win your business. The good ones remain that way during the job. The exceptional ones return your calls promptly even after the final payment.

Three things you can do

1. Check your smoke detectors     The batteries in your smoke detectors should be replaced every six months. It’s also important to make sure that interconnected systems function properly. Press the test button on any of the smoke detectors in your home and verify that all of the other detectors ring, too.

The seven most dangerous DIY home projects

One in five DIY-ers tackling home renovations ends up in the hospital each year due to accidents, according to the Home Safety Council. Don’t become a statistic; leave these projects to the experts. Tree Trimming and Removal     Trees don’t always fall in a predictable manner. It’s best to consult a certified arborist, no matter how handy you are with power tools.

These little steps can make a big ­difference in comfort

After Jack Frost has moved in, you’ll wish you’d invested a pleasant autumn afternoon in winter-proofing your home. To keep your home and family sound and snug, move these five simple steps to the top of your chore list.