With the temperatures still soaring into the 90’s on a regular basis, it’s hard to believe some kids have already headed back to school.  June and July were gone in a flash, and August is following quickly on their heels.  Whether we choose to accept it or not (we prefer denial), summer is rapidly drawing to a close, and before we know it, cold weather will be upon us.

If you tend to be a procrastinator and put off winter home maintenance until a problem crops up, take a moment to picture yourself shimmying into your crawlspace or climbing onto the roof in subzero temperatures.  Has your procrastination been cured?  Read on for a handy checklist of end-of-summer home maintenance tips.

 

 

✓ Clean your gutters and check downspouts for clogs. Gutter debris can create real problems if not cleared out regularly. Removing nature’s summertime litter from your gutters ensures you won’t have to worry about ice dams and dangerous icicles over the winter. If possible, run a hose through your gutters to flush out debris. Shore up leaky areas or call a professional if more extensive repairs are needed. 

 

✓ Clean your windows and repair gaps. Cleaning your windows is a great way to inspect them, as well (bonus: clean windows allow more sunlight in to combat the gloom of winter). Make sure there are no gaps where air can escape, and make minor caulking repairs as needed. If repairing or sealing gaps is not enough, consider having replacement windows installed before it gets too cold.

 

✓ Protect your deck. Remove debris buildup on your deck, clean your deck boards thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of sealant. Check for raised boards and loose joints, and inspect the deck’s overall stability. Don’t forget to store your gas grill and patio furniture indoors, or cover them well to protect them from the wind and moisture of winter.

 

✓ Check siding. Buckling siding can be a sign of a bigger problem. Walk around the entire exterior of your home and inspect siding carefully.  Holes can mean insect infestations, fading can mean it’s time to upgrade, and mold or mildew can indicate water damage. Replacing your siding is ideally not a cold-weather job, so it’s best to address it now.

 

✓ Inspect your roof and soffits. Inspecting your roof does not just mean climbing up and taking a look. If it’s safe, climb up and check for soft spots and give shingles a once-over. Curling or brittle shingles, shingles falling off, or stones in the gutter or downspouts are some other signs that your roof needs to be replaced. Check your soffits (the overhangs between your siding and roof line) for discoloration, which could point to a leak. Likewise, check your attic for any ceiling stains that might also spell trouble.

 

✓ Add or replace weather-stripping on exterior doors. The weather seals around doors can disintegrate over time, leaving gaps that can result in big heating bills. Attaching new weather-stripping is a fast and efficient way to keep your home toasty when the snow flies.

 

✓ Hose off and clean out your outdoor garbage cans.Animals and rodents have a strong sense of smell, and they’ll become bolder in the winter months when food is sparse. Cleaning your outdoor garbage cans and removing any temptations will help keep critters away from your home so they’re less likely to find their way inside.
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