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Have you noticed the dropping temperatures in Hampton Roads like we have? If you are one of the millions of homeowners in this area, you will know that preparing your home for winter is an integral part of keeping your home in good repair, but also limiting any damages that might be headed your way!

Here are a few tasks with some basic instructions that we think you should take action on to get your home ready for the frost!

A fall tradition - cleaning the gutters of leaves. Here, we see them clogging the gutters of a traditional home. Could be used for advertising/clean up articles/etc. Narrow DOF

1 – Clean Gutters — Remove leaves, pine needles and other debris from gutters to make sure that all precipitation can run freely. Make sure water drains properly into downspouts during your cleaning, and check that gutter attachments are securely in place. Check for leaks in your gutters and repair them now. Another great tip for gutters is installing a cheap leaf guard – this helps to prevent clogs, and can make it much easier to clean out your gutters in the future, if you have to at all!

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2 – Inspect the Roof — Checking your roof doesn’t necessarily require that you scale a wobbly ladder. You can also do this just fine from the ground with a set of binoculars if need be. Look for shingles that are lifting, cracked or showing signs that the protective granules have worn away. If you have attic access, look for pinholes of light or signs of water damage along the roofline. If you notice anything that looks like it could be out of the ordinary, such as discoloration, call someone to take a closer look.

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3 – Shut Off Outdoor Spigots — Save yourself the headache of a burst pipe by disconnecting, draining and storing garden hoses for the winter. If your outdoor spigot has a shut-off valve, close the valve and drain the faucet. You can also wrap protective insulation around the spigot for the off-season.

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4 – Patch Windows and Doors — Check around doors and window sashes; replace any weather stripping that has become loose or cracked. Wave a lit match or incense stick around window and door frames, and caulk areas where the smoke wavers, which indicates an air leak. Another neat product is a draft insulator, which you can place just under your doors and it will help protect from any air leaking in from the cold outdoors.

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5 – Purchase Winter Materials — Have you noticed that when a snowstorm does hit, Virginia Beach appears to be out of any helpful materials? Especially for any new homebuyers – Head out and purchase a decent snow shovel that will help you “dig yourself out” if a snow storm does hit us. Don’t wait until the snow comes to have this useful tool! Also, remember you will want to have some non-perishable meal materials ready as well, just in case the weather leaves you stranded at home.

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6 – Get Your Chimney Swept — Do you have a gorgeous fireplace that you plan on using this winter? Better safe than sorry, get your chimney swept now! If you plan on lighting up a nice fire on a cold evening, make sure your chimney is free of debris and fire hazards which could block access for the smoke to escape your fireplace.

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7 – Clean and Store Outdoor Furniture — Do you have a gorgeous patio set that you just spent all summer enjoying? Don’t let it sit out in the cold and get damaged. Cover it and store it until spring!

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8 – Clean out Your Garage —  Have you been storing things in your garage just waiting to organize? Now is the best time to do a little “fall cleaning”. If you have projects that need worked on this winter, the garage is a great spot to get out of the cold – but not if it is packed full.

Setting aside the time to finish these jobs may feel daunting, but it will keep you from working out in the cold if any issues should arise.

-Barbara, Liz, and Steffani