Summertime and living is easy … once you’ve taken care of your chores. While there’s no question that summer’s heat makes everyone a little more relaxed and maybe even a little lazy, there are a few tasks to take care of before you sink into summer’s carefree mode. Proactively checking up on your home before the first heat wave or the first major thunderstorm can prevent a minor issue from becoming a summer nightmare.
Here are a few tips to get your to-do list started:
- Get your A/C inspected. Summers as hot and humid as the ones in the D.C. area require an air conditioner to carry a heavy load, so make sure yours is in good shape before the temperature hits 100.
- Refinish your deck. Inspect your deck before you gather there with a crowd to make sure it wasn’t damaged by winter snow or ice. You may need to replace a rotted board or two and refinish it to protect the wood.
- Check out your play areas. If you have a swing set or a sandbox or a slide in your backyard, be sure to check them out for safety before your kids start playing on them. Check for loose bolts or splinters that can snag their clothes or skin and clean everything thoroughly to make sure there’s no mold around.
- Check your window seals and caulk. In winter, the big concern is keeping cold air at bay, but in summer, you want your windows to work well so you keep your home air conditioned, not the backyard. Tightly sealed windows keep your utility bills low and the rain outside.
- Clean out your basement window wells. If you’ve got a true basement with below grade windows, you should periodically dig down into those window wells to remove the debris that can collect there and cause rain water to puddle.
- Inspect your sump pump. If you have a sump pump in your basement, now is the time to check it to be sure it’s in working order, not in the midst of a torrential rainstorm.
- Look for your flashlights. While we all hope to avoid a storm-related power outage, it’s better to be prepared just in case one hits. Find your flashlights and make sure you have the right batteries on hand – and consider getting a battery-operated radio so you can hear the news.
- Check and repair your screens. You probably didn’t even notice your screens all winter, but now that you want to let a summer breeze in, make sure your screens don’t have the wrong kind of holes. You want to let air in and nothing else.
- Check out your roof. A period check of your roof can save thousands of dollars in the long run. If you find a small area of damage you can often repair it without going to the expense of replacing the entire roof.
- Inspect your garage doors. Make sure your garage doors are in good working order and add a little lubrication to the doors for smoother operations.
- Inspect your dryer vent. Dryer vent fires can be extremely dangerous and can occur even if you’re vigilant about clearing the lint from the inside of your machine. If you can access it easily, you can vacuum your external dryer vent yourself. If not, you may want to hire someone to take on this task.
- Test your GFCIs. To prevent electrical fires, take the time to take a small radio or lamp and test each of your ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) to make sure they’re in good working order.
- Test your alarms. Your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm and radon detectors should all be inspected periodically, so while you’re on your summer maintenance rounds test the batteries on each of these alarm systems.
- Clean out your gutters. This sounds like a fall into winter task, but the reality is that winter winds and freezes may have left behind debris in your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause water damage to your home during a rainstorm, so get them clean before the deluge arrives.
- Wash your house. Summer’s a great time to pressure wash your siding to remove all the dirt and grime that builds up over time. This is especially important to do if you plan to paint it any time soon, since you won’t want to paint over any mildew.
Now, after accomplishing all those tasks, it’s time to relax with a glass of lemonade or go jump in your neighborhood pool.