6 Steps to Prep Your Home for Summer
Summer is finally here. Now is the time for grilling, gardening, and long evenings outside. But summer is also the time to give your house much-needed TLC. Check out 6 essential summer home repairs.
Summer is finally here. Now is the time for grilling, gardening, and long evenings outside. It’s time to open the windows, dust off the patio set, and enjoy the warmth and sunshine. But summer is also the time to give your house much-needed TLC. Taking time to complete maintenance on your home will prepare it for the months ahead and prevent damage that can occur in hot-weather conditions. The following is a checklist of essential summer home repairs:
Prevent Water Damage
In most parts of the country, summer brings heavy rains and thunderstorms, so protecting your house against water damage may be one of the most important things you do. Start with your foundation; check your basement for cracks and leaks. Build up dirt or place grates outside your house to direct water away from the foundation. If the dirt you currently have has settled around your house, water will start running toward your house. As a general rule, a grate of one-inch-per-foot will ensure proper water runoff.
Then, check your gutters for breaks or low spots that allow water to pool near the house. These leaks will eventually erode the area underneath the damaged gutters, leaving water close to your foundation. While inspecting your gutters, you should also check the downspouts. You’ll want to direct water away from your house by three feet or more. This can be done with a gutter extension or splashguard. Don’t forget to remove leaves and debris as well.
Next, inspect your windows and doors — anywhere there is trim — for cracks, leaks, or wear in the caulking. Replacing the caulk periodically will protect your house from leaks that result in mold and wood rot. Finally, examine the shingles and flashing on your roof, particularly if your roof is older. Depending on the type of roof you have, there are a number of things you should look for; educate yourself on yours and determine whether you’re comfortable assessing it yourself or need to call a professional for a quick inspection.
Inspect Your HVAC
Before you blast your air conditioning, give your HVAC system a checkup. Change the air filters in your furnace so the system runs efficiently. (Ideally, you should check or change the filters every month.) Clear away grass, leaves, and debris from the condensing unit outside, which could cause it to malfunction. Follow the directions in your user’s manual to learn how to properly clean the outdoor unit. There are many different techniques, so it’s important to know the recommendations for your particular unit. Remember to disconnect the power before you begin cleaning, and be careful not to bend the cooling fins.
Touch Up Paint
Paint isn’t just for aesthetics — it protects wood from water and other natural elements, so chipping or peeling paint on siding and fences leaves wood vulnerable to things like mold and rot. It’s much easier to keep up with little touch-ups at the start of each summer, rather than leave them for later, which could cost you thousands in repairs.
Trim Trees and Shrubbery
While you’re inspecting your foundation, roof, and gutters, take a look at the trees and shrubs on your property. Cut any tree limbs or shrubs that touch your house. Over time, the wind will cause these to rub on your roof or siding, resulting in serious damage that could be costly to repair.
Repair and Stain the Deck
Your deck is a great place to enjoy the wonder of summertime, and protecting the wood on your deck from sun and water is as important as protecting the wood on your house. Seal your deck with an outdoor wood stain, sealant, or paint to ensure its longevity. Remove dirt and grime with a power washer or deck cleaner before you apply the product, or it won’t adhere properly to the wood. A well-maintained deck should last most of your lifetime; a neglected deck may only last a few years.
Defend Against Unwanted Pests
Bugs and other pests are just as ready to get moving in the summer months as we are, but unfortunately, they don’t always stay outdoors. Prevent them from entering your house by ensuring it’s properly sealed. Check the caulking around doors and windows, both inside and out. Replace cracked or worn weather stripping on doors (this may lower your energy bills, too). Next, spray the outside of your house — around the foundation, windows, and doors — with a preventative insecticide, creating a perimeter the bugs won’t cross. On the interior of your house, spray around baseboards, doors, windows, under sinks, and in the corners of rooms.
Summer is a season for fun and relaxation. Take time to freshen up your property so you can enjoy the months ahead. A few maintenance tasks at the beginning of summer can save you a lot of money and headaches for years to come.
Troy Fairchild is co-founder and CEO of Claims Made Easy, a web-based solution simplifying the insurance claims process for homeowners. Troy is an entrepreneurial thought leader and an expert on the insurance claims process. He welcomes anyone to reach out to him on Twitter or Google+.