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5 Home Repairs To Do While It's Hot

While most of the country roasts this week under a heat dome, what's one home-improvement project to consider? Insulating the attic.

Sounds crazy. But if you're into scoring off-peak deals, hiring a professional to insulate under the roof during the summer months could save you big. Expect discounts of a few hundred bucks off a job that often tops $2,000 or more, according to Lou Manfredini (below), Ace Hardware's Home Expert and radio personality.

That's just one job that you can do for less during the summer months, Manfredini says. And I get hooked on deals like this, especially anything that saves on my electric bill. So what else could we do now? (I thought I was a genius for calling a local chimney sweep during July -- until I got the bad news my fireplace and chimney aren't safe and need a lot of repairs.)

I'm a little late on getting the HVAC system serviced. Right now, any contractor who knows anything about cooling is getting slammed with emergency calls from people whose A.C. is on the blink. But had I called back in the spring for a heating system tune-up (most people wait until fall), the technician could also have made sure the AC was running optimally. It needs to be 70 degrees or higher for that check. "Heating and cooling companies tend to be a little slower when it's not a huge heat wave, in the late spring and early summer," Manfredini says. "I know in Chicago that a normal service call for a cleaning check is $129, but in the early spring, many companies offer a $45 coupon."

Looks like I missed that one, unless temperatures moderate for a few weeks. I'll mark my calendar for next April. Two other warm weather must-dos? Sealing driveway and sidewalk cracks (about $10 for concrete or asphalt patch) before the ice and moisture of the winter enlarge the cracks and force you to redo the entire surface.

Same goes, Manfredini says, with painting around windows and doors. You don't need to have the whole exterior painted, but if you notice peeling paint on the trim, you should fix it now. "If you leave that bare wood unattended to, the additional moisture during the winter months can start to infiltrate the wall space and create tons of damage," he says. A little bit of scraping, priming and painting could fix that, and it's too cold to work on the windows in the winter. What will you need? A gallon of exterior primer, a gallon of paint, a scraper, a paint brush and a little sandpaper. Says Manfredini: "All in, you're not spending $100."

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