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Small End of Summer Maintenance Tips: Help You Avoid Big Problems This Winter

September 17, 2018

Well, that’s a wrap, folks. Summer has come and gone. Before you cover yourself in blankets and hide under the covers for the next four months, you might want to roll your sleeves up one last time. There are a few things you’ll need to square away lest Old Man Winter come to collect on your neglect.

A fireplace is a good thing…if it’s safe. If you’re dreaming of cozy fireside snuggles with your family, don’t close your eyes just yet. Before the first fire of the season, have your chimney professionally inspected. A chimney sweep can identify signs of damage and soot buildup, which can potentially turn your home into a tinderbox. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends having your chimney cleaned at least once per year. Don’t forget to change the batteries and check the functionality of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Busted pipes make for a bad morning. No matter where you live, busted water pipes from freezing temperatures are a concern when the thermometer drops below 32 degrees. According to State Farm, even a small crack in a frozen pipe can deliver hundreds of gallons of water to the interior of your home every single day. That’s more than enough to cause serious structural damage. Even if the pipe is the only thing you see wrong, mold can grow pretty quickly, turning your home into a toxic wasteland, especially for people with mold allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. Since the air inside your home is already dirtier than it is outside it, the last thing you want are extra toxins floating around getting your family sick. It isn’t difficult or expensive to winterize your pipes. Start by turning off outdoor water spigots and covering interior pipes with foam insulation. If you’re unsure of how to do this, call a plumber for help.

What’s that flying through the air? You can spend weeks cleaning your home in preparation for fall and winter, but it will all be for naught if you don’t take care of your air filters. Your HVAC unit circulates air throughout the house. In doing so, it picks up dust and debris such as mites, hair, and skin cells. A clean filter will hold on to these minute particles so you aren’t breathing them in all winter. Failure to change the filter can also cause more dusting, sweeping, and mopping, as all that stuff has to settle somewhere. Perhaps more importantly, your HVAC unit needs a fresh filter once every three months in order to operate efficiently, therefore using the least amount of energy. Be sure to get the right size and thickness of filter for maximum efficiency.

Creatures that go bump in the night. Hey, who can blame the occasional squirrel or raccoon for seeking shelter in your warm, dry attic? But one begets two, and soon, you’ll have a whole family of creatures living it up in your crawlspace. Aside from dumping feces and urine in your home, wild animals can chew through wires, wood, and insulation, leaving you to foot the bill for repairs. Close things up before winter by sealing cracks and blocking access to your home’s interior. If some four-legged squatter does make his way in, have them removed as soon as possible.

Get your mind in the gutter. If you want to prevent your interior from becoming a wet mess, you’d better grab a ladder and check the roof and gutters before the first big freeze. A damaged roof will allow water to seep into your home, and you might not even notice it until there are watermarks on the ceiling. Gutters should be cleaned out one last time when tree limbs are bare. Consider hiring a pro if you’re not steady on your feet at higher elevations.

Your home is your castle, and it will always have a maintenance checklist for you. However, if you keep up with the small things, you won’t wind up with a big bill when summer returns.

Content provided by guest blogger Danny Knight who is passionate about sharing his experiences working on DIY projects. He is the owner of, which shows off helpful DIY projects.