It’s time to usher in summer and warmer days ahead. Even if the temperatures don’t reflect it, summer does officially begin June 21st.
Hopefully, we will start to see hot afternoons which signal it’s time to get the yearly maintenance done on your mower and other lawn equipment, and break out the gardening tools and plan some outdoor projects.
But before you start grabbing your work gloves, spend some time thinking about the areas of your house that were neglected over the winter and spring, and making the necessary fixes. Listed below are some of the best summer home maintenance tips.
If you’re like me, this is a great opportunity to take down your Christmas lights as well as inspect your gutters. This isn’t the most glamorous job on the planet but it’s critical to keep your downspouts functioning like they are supposed to. Don’t be like me and wait until a heavy rainstorm to unclog a pesky downspout that results in an overflowing gutter!
Leaves, pine needles and other assorted airborne materials can wreak havoc on your gutters and clog these arterials that keep water away from your home’s foundation. If you have a ranch-style home or a roof that is easy to access, this is an easy job. If you have a two-story home or high pitched roof, you’re better off hiring a professional.
If you are able to do the job yourself, grab a leaf blower and blast out the gunk that has collected in both the gutters and downspouts. It’s worth running a garden hose directly into the gutters and downspouts to assure there is no leakage and confirm that the vertical segments are clear of debris. Don’t be afraid to snake that hose as far down into the downspout as possible to make sure the water is flowing freely.
While you’re already on the roof, take the opportunity to check the shingles and make sure there are is no damage (especially if your home was targeted by recent hail). Loose tiles should be replaced and crowned areas should be inspected for wear. Chimneys should also be examined for cracks and crumbling brick. If you have a screen on the opening, check it out to assure it is still serving its purpose.
Finally, if there are any overhanging tree limbs, trim them back to help keep the roof clear of leaves and pine needles. If there are dead limbs, remove them immediately to prevent a future claim to your insurance company.
Eaves and Soffits
This area is one of those features of your house that is often overlooked and ignored. Yet, it’s imperative to inspect the overhang to determine if maintenance is required. Is the paint starting to peel? Are the seams bulging? Have wasps taken up residence? If the answer is yes, get a move on and make the necessary repairs and in case of the latter, buy some spray (and use at night when they aren’t active).
Consider getting a quote on pressure washing your house before painting. Many times, a good wash is what your house needs instead of a new paint job. Just like your car, your home collects gunk and crud, and would be a lot happier after a bath. There are many companies that specialize in this service, and if the spirit moves you, it can also be a DIY project. However, make sure you do your research as this can be a time-consuming affair. If your house does need a new coat of paint, consider putting a fresh coat inside as well to give your whole house a polished look. This is one of the least expensive home maintenance items in which you can invest and it helps retain the value of your home.
You’ll be surprised at what a great view your home provides to the outside world if you hire a window washer or do the job yourself. The amount of grime and dirt that collects on your windows over the winter is truly remarkable. Sparkling clean windows are one of life’s simple pleasures, especially during the summer when we want to enjoy the picturesque scenery of the yard and garden.
A/C Tune up
Once you start running your air conditioner, make sure you schedule a check on the system. Avoid having your unit konk out on the hottest day of the year when a routine service call would have solved the problem. At the least, examine the outside condensers and vacuum and hose off the dirt, cottonwood, leaves and organic material that have collected on the unit. Summer maintenance on your a/c is critical to keep it running for years to come. If you need a new air conditioner, check out this website to learn how to select the best one for your needs.
I know, this takes a lot of resolve to address. But what a terrific job for you and the kids to tackle over the weekend! Get some rubber gloves, oven cleaner or Dawn detergent, a large container to soak the grill grates and you’ll be ready to go. And best of all, you’ll be glad you did. That next steak will taste a lot better following your efforts.
Been putting off repairing your driveway? This is a great time to take care of the additional cracks that were created over the winter. Be sure to get several bids on the work and be wary of anyone with a low ball offer. Insist on references and a history of service in your area.
Spruce up that mudroom or front entry with a new rug. There is no better way to welcome summer, and your guests and family for that matter, into your home with an attractive piece that represents warm weather and good times.
(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May of 2017. It has been updated and revised).