Home Maintenance To-Do’s Before the End of the Summer

Preventative home maintenance will help you avoid fall and winter disasters.

With the summer more than halfway over, it’s important to make the most of the warm weather while it lasts. There’s still time to check a few things off your home maintenance to-do list. Here are a few tasks that are best done before the fall rolls around.

Clean the Fireplace

Fall weather can be unpredictable. Sometimes, you don’t see a speck of snow until December; other years, you see kids out trick-or-treating in full winter clothing. If you’re lucky enough to have a real, wood-burning fireplace in your home, you might want to light it as early as October. Get it clean and ready to burn before the temperature drops.

To do this, get down on all fours and shine a light up the chimney from inside. Open the damper and inspect for bird or rodent nests, loose or damaged bricks, or sticky residue from previous seasons (called creosote). If you spot one of these problems, you should turn to a chimney-cleaning professional to help get your chimney up to code.

Test the Heating System

Hopefully, it will be many months before you have to switch on the furnace, but it’s still best to get your system in order now. HVAC companies get swamped in the months leading up to the winter, so you should get any problems taken care of before the busy season.

To test your heating system, try turning the thermostat up five degrees on a cool evening. If the heat doesn’t turn on and stay on, something is either wrong with the thermostat or the system itself.

Try replacing the thermostat’s batteries to start. Once you’ve ruled that out, call a heating and cooling expert to check and service your system.

You should also replace the air filter on your furnace before the cold weather hits. This will ensure your system runs efficiently when the time comes.

Clean the Gutters

It’s important to clean the gutters before the winter. Debris left behind can cause ‘dams’ of ice to form around the edges of the roof, causing snow to pack up and create the risk of leaks or roof damage. But cleaning the gutters can be a dirty and somewhat dangerous job, so you don’t want to be up on the roof in the brisk fall weather.

Take Care of Trees

Like cleaning the gutters, inspecting and trimming the trees is an outdoor task that is far easier to get done while it’s still nice and warm out. You’ll want to remove weak, brittle tree limbs that could break off and fall under the weight of the snow, especially near the house. This will also help spur new, healthy growth next season.

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors

You’ve heard it a million times, but too many people still ignore this critical home maintenance task.┬áIt’s best to check your detectors and replace the batteries at least every few months. Your safety detectors are very important in the winter, since we tend to shut our windows and use fireplaces more often.

But why not wait until fall? Because it’s an easy to forget, especially once the busy fall season gets going. Do it before you get distracted by back-to-school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas holidays.