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With summer on the wane, it’s time to prepare for the quickly approaching winter months.

Henry Hart, co-owner of ACE Garden Center on St. Simons Island, said there are lots of small chores people should be doing this time of year to winterize their homes.

Among the most important tasks is to prepare for the handful of freezes the Golden Isles sees each year.

“You need to protect above-ground pipes,” he said. “They needed protected in case of a freeze.”

Hart recommends insulation, or at the very least covering above-ground pipes and water softeners with blankets when the forecast calls for temperatures to dip below freezing. He also recommends freeze-proof spigots because replacing one that can’t withstand the cold is costly.

Roofs and gutters are often ignored going into the winter. Hart recommends blowing the leaves and debris off of roofs.

“With all the oak trees, I don’t see people do this enough,” he said.

Hart said older homeowners should stay off ladders and hire someone to clean roofs and gutters.

Lawn care is also something people should modify during winter months. Hart said irrigation should be reduced 30% to 50% from December through February.

“I’m scaling back pretty hard,” he said of watering.

The dormant grass doesn’t require much water. Too much water in winter months can create root rot and cause weeds to appear in winter and spring.

For those who like yard work year round, Hart said planting rye grass will guarantee a green lawn and mowing during the time most people put up their mowers and landscaping equipment for the winter.

Hart said when storing gas-powered lawn equipment for the winter, the engines should be run out of gas completely, rather than leaving fuel in the tanks for three or four months. He also recommends never using ethanol fuel for lawn equipment because it will eat rubber hoses and connections. Instead, people should use marine fuel.

It’s also a good time to clean bird baths and feeders, rather than wait for spring.

And that gas grill should get a good cleaning before it’s closed for several months unless you want to see a science experiment when it’s opened for the first time next spring.

Indoors, Hart said people with fireplaces need to do a good visual inspection to ensure there are no obstructions.

“If you burn a lot of fires, make sure there is no build up,” he said.

With winter quickly approaching, Realtor Belinda Thomas knows she has to approach selling homes differently.

If the home is unoccupied, she gets there early to set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. If there is a gas fireplace, the flame is lit to create a more comfortable, inviting atmosphere.

On those comfortable winter days, Thomas, owner of Belinda Thomas Realty, said she will open the windows to show customers one of the advantages of living in the Golden Isles.

“It makes them want to move here even quicker,” she said.

When she is showing a house, Thomas said she feels growing confidence she can close the deal if the people are comfortable enough to sit down.

“Once you get them to sit down, it feels like home,” she said.

First impressions are important. And winterizing a home is a must if it’s on the market during the holiday season and into 2022.