Four Things to Do for Your Home During the Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are officially here (July 3 – August 11, according to Farmers Almanac.) The phrase calls to mind hot, lazy days marked by lethargy and inactivity and it has nothing to do with Fido. Rather, the “dog days” were so named by the ancient Greeks to denote the period during which they perceived that the dog star, Sirius, rose just before the sun, signaling the hottest time of the year and a season rife for them with fever, war, and other calamities

Don’t let these few weeks spell disaster for you and your home like they did for the ancients. Here are four tips for using the warmth and relatively slower pace to your, and your home’s, advantage:

(1) Do Stuff That Needs to Dry. If you need painting or concrete work done, contract for it now. Good contractors’ calendars are getting full and, once the first frost hits, it’s hard, and sometimes impossible, to get the new material to dry and set effectively.

(2) Do Stuff You Don’t Want to Be Around For. Some projects are just plain disruptive. Examples include sanding and finishing hardwood floors, kitchen and bath remodels, roofing, window replacement, and additions. At best, you’ll be inconvenienced for a short time; at worst, you’ll have loads of dust and debris, heavy worker traffic for days, noise, and loss of privacy. Hire dependable contractors and let them come in while you’re away on summer vacation anyway. You can check in periodically via phone or send a neighbor but, when you come home, you’ll have a beautiful new space to enjoy without having to live through the hassle of making it that way. For the larger projects (additions, major remodels), it is not too early to start planning for next summer. Finding the right contractor, getting plans made and approved, and setting up a work schedule can take months.

(3) Do Stuff You Should See Coming. Good luck trying to find an HVAC contractor to replace the furnace that dies on a cold and snowy Christmas Eve. They’re busy with A/C work now, but you have the luxury of time to schedule work on a heater anytime in the next several weeks before the weather turns. If your system is more than 10 years old, have a reliable contractor assess its likely remaining lifespan and order a new one installed before frigid weather makes everything difficult. Similarly, if your roof is 15 years or older, or you are seeing soft spots or experiencing leaks, consider repair and replacement now, well in advance of heavy ice and snow that could turn things from bad to worse.

(4) Do Stuff the Kids Can Help With. Of course we’d love to refer you to contractors for any little thing, but honestly you can save a good deal of money DIYing it. Why not use that free labor you’ll have around until school starts in the fall? Have Junior help with pruning, mulching, painting, minor repairs, and any other small thing you’ve been meaning to get to but just haven’t yet. You gave them life; the least they can do in return is caulk your tub.

Wise homeowners use down time to get ahead. Be one.

Image courtesy of Shaun Dovey at

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