While you’re daydreaming of barbeques, lounging by the pool and summer vacation destinations, there are a few summer home maintenance tasks to tackle around your homestead to get your house in prime shape for heat, humidity and outdoor living. Here are 18 tasks you should complete prior to and during the summer months to keep your home safe, cool and energy-efficient.
Monitor gutters and drainage. Debris tends to accumulate over the winter, so remove any blockages and look for any signs of damaged gutters, like water diverting onto the roof or siding. You can typically make minor repairs yourself by adjusting or reattaching brackets, replacing damaged sections or gently hammering out warped areas.
Check outdoor play areas. If you have a swing set or any other type of play equipment outside, make sure it is still in working order for your children. Tighten bolts and make sure no sharp edges or splinters are sticking out. If the play equipment has any mold growth, you can clean it with a 1:9 solution of household-strength bleach and water.
Detect leaks. Check your hoses and exterior faucets for any leaks. A tiny drip can quickly add up to gallons of excess water on your utility bill. Pinhole leaks in hoses can easily be fixed with regular electrical tape in overlapping layers.
Check the deck. Give your deck a lookover to determine if any nails have loosened or any boards have begun to rot. To determine if your deck needs to be re-sealed, sprinkle water on the boards. If it soaks in, it's time to re-seal. Check out our tips on revitalizing an old or worn deck here.
Re-mulch landscaped beds. Adding a fresh layer of mulch will help keep weeds down and help the ground retain moisture in the summer heat, giving your plants the chance to thrive.
Set a watering schedule. Mark your calendar to deeply water your lawn and gardenapproximately 1-2 times a week. Deep watering helps promote the growth of deeper, stronger grass and plant roots.
Outdoor mold and mildew removal. Summer heat and humidity combined can cause mold and mildew to accumulate on your home's exterior. To remove it, use a diluted bleach solution. Protect nearby plants and shrubs prior to cleaning and prune them away from the home to keep future mold growth at bay.
Give your A/C unit some space. Prune shrubs around your unit to allow plenty of air circulation. Make sure there is at least 18" of room around all sides of your A/C and at least 3' or more overhead.
Deep clean your home's exterior. Use a pressure washer to remove dirt, stains, and mildew from your home's exterior, especially if painting is on your summer to-do list. Cover plants, electrical outlets, windows and doors to avoid any mishaps.
Patch up your driveway. Use concrete repair caulk or asphalt crack sealer to repair an aged driveway. Pressure wash it first, repair any holes, then apply a concrete resurfacer or asphalt sealant to revive your driveway.
Visit the attic. Spring and summer rains can cause havoc to roofs and attics, so after a storm, check your attic for visible leaks, water stains, discolored insulation, and rotted or molded joists. If you find any issues, call a roofing contractor for an inspection. If you have an attic fan, make sure it is functioning properly and the protective screen has not been blocked by debris.
Service your A/C. If you haven't already this year, have your A/C serviced by a professional to make sure it's in optimal condition for its busiest season. Replace the air filter every 1-3 months to prevent allergen dispersion and to keep air flowing properly.
Switch and clean ceiling fans. Make sure your ceiling fan is turning the correct direction to push air downwards. Use a damp rag to clean off dust and grime.
Check detectors. Though not a summer-specific maintenance task, your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked regularly to ensure they are in proper working order.
Check your GFCIs. Ground fault circuit interrupters protect you from deadly electrical shocks by shutting off the power when a disturbance in current is detected. These outlets are those with the "test" and "reset" buttons in the middle and should be present in all places where water and electricity could mix. Test by plugging a small appliance into each GFCI outlet. Press the test button, which should shut the appliance off. The reset button should pop out; when you press the reset button, the appliance should turn back on. If the outlet doesn't work properly, the GFCI has failed and should be replaced. Contact a professional electrician for repair.
Clean bathroom vent fans. Vent fans are notorious for collecting dust, making them both noisy and inefficient. Remove the cover, vacuum out any dust and spray any moving parts with silicone lubricant.
Clean your dryer vent pipe. Lint accumulation causes over 15,000 house fires annually. Clean the dryer vent regularly by removing the dryer hose and/or outside vent pipe cover. Clean the inside of the hose and pipe with a special brush or vacuum cleaner.
Inspect your crawl space. Crawl spaces are notorious for moisture and condensation, which can lead to mold, rot, and buckled wood flooring. Look for signs of moisture and inspect foundation walls for leaks.
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