While summer is the time for fun and sun, it’s important to carve out some time to tend to your home’s exterior. As the days continue to warm up, keep the following summer maintenance tips in mind.
Give Some Attention to your Air Conditioning Unit
Arguably the most important summer maintenance project involves your air conditioner. The U.S. Department of Energy says that up to half the average residential energy bill is for heating and cooling. Hire a professional HVAC contractor to give your unit a tune-up and make sure it’s working efficiently. Keep a supply of air filters on hand, as during the summer they should be changed every month. Choose pleated air filters versus the more outdated fiberglass panel filters, as the former have more surface area and thus allow for more filtration. Also, take the time to look for leaks — drafty doors and windows mean it’s going to be warmer inside, which in turn means your air conditioning unit will have to work longer and harder to cool the house. Rubber weatherstripping can be applied to the bottom of doors and inside window panes to prevent hot air from swooping into the house.
Clean the Windows
Try to do this in the early morning, when it’s cool outside. Summer will feel better and brighter with clear, sparkling windows.
This is one of the most important summer maintenance tips. With trees going through major growth spurts in the spring, summer is the time to trim them back so they don’t do damage to the house, create a fire hazard or invite squirrels onto your roof. This is also a prime time to add mulch to your gardens and other landscape areas. Mulch can squelch weeds and will help retain moisture for your plants and trees.
Inspect the Deck
First, check for rot — try to poke a small screwdriver through the deck surface, focusing on areas that receive a lot of moisture. If the screwdriver plunges in more than a quarter of an inch or the wood is soft, you likely have some decay and you should replace damaged boards. If nails have sprung up, hammer them down. This is also a good time to check for holes caused by pest or insects. If all is well, determine whether the deck is due for washing or sealing. Wood decks should be sealed every few years. Summer is a great time to rent a power washer and give the deck a good cleaning.
Clean the Gutters
By the end of the summer, you should pull the ladder out and begin cleaning gutters. Remove accumulated leaves and debris to keep gutters clear and well-functioning for summer storms.
Check the Roof
Look for shingles that are curled, damaged, or missing and replace them. Check for rust in metal areas. If you find rust, use a wire brush to scrape it clean and then paint. While you’re up there, inspect the flashing.
Examine the Driveway
If you find any cracks, repair them with the appropriate surface filler.
Power Wash and Paint the Exterior
Power wash away all the dirt and grime. If your house is due for a fresh coat of paint, check the weather to make sure no rain is in the forecast and paint away.