9 Essential Tasks for Your End of Summer Maintenance
The kids are heading back to school this month, which means it’s the perfect time to catch up on some seasonal property maintenance. It’s still hot here in Memphis, so it can be tempting to put things off until it gets a little cooler, but you’ll be thanking yourself for taking action now when the fall and winter months roll around! Let’s take a look at some end-of-summer upkeep that will have your home looking and feeling fresh for the rest of the year.
Plan now for your spring garden
It’s been a long, hot, dry summer in the Mid-South. Most of our gardens were struggling this year, so you may not feel like getting back out there, but this is the prime time to plant perennials like peonies and hydrangeas as well as trees and shrubs. Tulip and daffodil bulbs can be put in the ground any time before the first freeze. Give these new plants plenty of water before they go dormant, and you may be lucky enough to see their first blooms by early spring!
Get a head start on raking
Once the leaves start falling in earnest, you’re constantly playing catch up. A thick bed of leaves lying over your grass can smother your lawn and lead to mold growth, but there’s no need to go crazy trying to get rid of every last leaf. A light layer under shrubs and trees provides a natural mulch that will protect the roots over winter, but it’s still a good idea to get ahead of the game by raking and bagging leaves as they fall. You can also mow over the yard once a week instead to help break the leaves down and provide nutrients for the soil. It’s also easier on your hands and back!
Get your gutters cleaned out
If your gutters or downspouts need any repairs, these should be completed before winter sets in and leaves or debris freezes inside them. Calling a well-reviewed company in to inspect and clean your gutters at the end of summer will give you plenty of time to get repairs taken care of before it gets too cold.
Take a walk around your house
Before the first freeze occurs, take a walk around the outside of your house. Drain and shut off your outdoor faucets so they don’t freeze, then roll your hoses up and store them somewhere safe for the winter. You need to be sure and shut your sprinkler system down for the winter to protect it from harsh temperatures, and you should be sure to insulate the main shut-off valve and any above-ground piping. If you have an automatic irrigation system, drain the remaining water from it and shut down the timer. Your irrigation company should be able to do this for you if you like. Unless you like to keep your pool open year round like we do, clean, close, and cover your pool (or make it easy by having a pool maintenance company do it for you!)
Service your air-conditioning system and furnace
Your A/C has probably been working overtime this summer, so give it some TLC before the furnace kicks on when the cooler temps hit. You can have both serviced at the same time, along with your ductwork. An inspection will alert you to any potential issues, while a clean system tends to be much more energy efficient. Reduce allergens by checking and replacing air filters as necessary, then test your thermostat to be sure it’s working properly. Last but not least, double check that all your heating vents are open with nothing blocking them.
Give your chimney a good sweep
Did you get your chimney cleaned and inspected in the spring? If not, now’s the time to take care of this important task! Over time, your chimney can get clogged with debris, including creosote. This is a thick, hard coating of toxic debris that is created when wood, fossil fuel, or tar is burned. It needs to be removed to ensure your safety when lighting a fire, so get in touch with a reputable chimney sweep and let them give it a good once-over. This will allow you to rest easy when it comes time to use your fireplace this fall and winter.
Check for drafts
Nobody wants to deal with a drafty house when it starts cooling down outside. Take advantage of our long summers to take a walk around your house, checking windows and doors for drafts as you go. Caulk door and window frames where necessary to keep the heat in and the cold out. This has the added benefit of keeping costs down when it becomes necessary for the furnace to run constantly!
Give your dryer vent some attention
Did you know that clothes dryers cause almost 3,000 fires a year? According to the United States Fire Administration, many of these happen in the fall and winter months due to bulkier clothing and bedding increasing the amount of lint that clogs up vents and lint traps. Make sure the ventilation opening on the outside of the house stays capped to allow hot air and debris to blow out. This will also keep pesky critters from nesting in the warm vents! It’s also wise to have your dryer vent inspected and cleaned once a year by an HVAC specialist who specializes in ductwork or dryer vents.
Examine your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Winter may be the coldest time of the year, but it’s when most house fires occur. It’s also the peak season for carbon monoxide poisonings. Take some time in the next few months to ensure your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Set an alarm on your phone to test your alarms once a month using the test button, and put a note in your calendar that reminds you to replace the batteries at least once a year. If you get a low battery warning at any time, replace the battery right away. Having working detectors means you’ll have sufficient notice to get yourself, your family, and your pets to safety in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide emergency. You’ll also be able to call for help sooner, which can minimize property damage.
Stay safe and warm this winter with tips from Judy McLellan and The JudyMac Team of Crye-Leike Realtors
Winterizing your home properly will help reduce costly heating bills and prevent situations that may lead to difficult and expensive emergency repairs. By following the tips we’ve outlined above, you’ll keep your home warm, safe, and cozy in the coming months.
Don’t forget that our award-winning team has what it takes to make buying or selling your home a positive experience any time of the year! If you’re looking to make a move in the near future, get in touch with Judy McLellan & The JudyMac Team of Crye-Leike Realtors today. We’d love to help!