Summer is a time to enjoy you home, not work endlessly on it. If you did your spring maintenance, you should be in pretty good shape. But there are still a couple things you should check. Don’t forget, regular maintenance can keep your home value up and can save you significant cash over time.
Here are six tasks to keep your home in tip top shape and ready all of your outdoor gatherings.
- Inspect your deck
The warm dry weather of summer is the perfect time to inspect your deck’s structure. Look for signs of rot, first around the stairs where the stringers meet the ground, then the perimeter posts. Check under the deck using a flashlight, taking particular notice of the ledger – the framing that attaches the deck to your home. Scan the rest of the deck for loose screws, rotting wood, and damaged connections.
Smaller repairs an easily be handled if you don’t mind getting a little dirty and will only cost a small amount, otherwise a handyman or carpenter will cost between $100 and $500 for smaller jobs and up to $4,000 if railings and boards need replacing.
If you didn’t clean and seal your deck in the spring, definitely consider tackling these activities now.
- Trim back plants, bushes, and trees
Make sure all foliage is at least 12 inches from your deck and home to slow mold, moss, and rot. Also, ensure all your greenery is cut back from your air conditioner. If you’re in a fire-prone area, fire officials and homeowner insurance companies recommend homeowners clear brush, grass, shrubs, and dead trees within 100 feet of their home, which would slow the spread of fire.
Check trees for dead limbs that may need to be cut away, as summer thunderstorms can cause these to come crashing down. Summer is not the time to prune your trees and bushes for growth, but you should take care of potential hazards.
Trimming dead and rotting trees is possible to do it yourself; however, it can be dangerous depending on how high branches are. According to treeremoval.com, the price of hiring a professional can vary greatly depending on the height and location of the tree, but it averages between $250 and $500. This seems high, but compare it to the cost of a roof repair before you write it off completely.
- Audit your sprinkler system
If you’ve invested in landscaping, you may have invested in an irrigation system too. But completing your lawn is not the end, you need to ensure that your system stays in good repair with regular checks. Not doing so can cost you big time. A broken sprinkler head can waste up to 750 gallons of water an hour and end up costing you hundreds in water bills.
Look for signs of leaks, broken lines, or misdirected heads. Perpetual damp spots on your lawn or pooling water suggest a problem is likely; lack of pressure is another.
It’s pretty easy to check your system yourself, or you can hire a professional to conduct a more thorough audit. During this, an auditor will examine your water bill along with your system to see if there are more water efficient ways to take care of your lawn.
- Wash (and check) windows
Regular window cleaning and inspection will not only let more light into your home, it will help to extend the life of your windows. Temperature changes, rain, dust, and debris all take a toll on this part of your home and contribute to wear and tear; regular maintenance can save you the cost of replacing a window before you really need to.
Use a damp cloth to wipe down wood or a mild detergent and soft brush for vinyl and aluminum-framed windows. While you’re in there, check the frame and sash for rot using a flat-head screwdriver or similar tool, and if you have double- or triple-paned windows, check for signs of moisture.
Look for any chipped paint, worn out weather stripping, and gaps. Extra space can allow warm air to enter your home and reduce its energy efficiency. Don’t wait to take care of any cracks, holes or splinters. The longer you take to address, the quicker your window will deteriorate.
- Prep for extreme heat
Choose to agree or not, but things are heating up. According to Science Daily extreme heat events are increasing across the U.S. and Canada; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the East Coast and Pacific Northwest will see above average temperatures this summer.
If you haven’t had your AC serviced, definitely do this now before the height of summer hits. Check ceiling fans and make sure they are running counter clockwise, so they push cool air down.
While a little more of an investment, awnings can be smart addition if you live in an especially hot region of the country. The extra shade helps to keep you home cooler and will cut down on electricity bills.
- Consider home improvement projects
Many contractors are already booked for the season, but if you’ve been considering painting the exterior of your home or tackling a larger landscaping project, it’s time to get on the phone. We offer some tips on getting a busy contractor to return your calls, here. Summer is also a great time to start mapping out your larger interior home improvement projects that you would start in the fall or winter and getting a contractor locked in.