Despite the unusual times we’ve endured this year, summer is right around the corner. For many of us, this means hoping to spend time with friends and family on beaches and at barbecues. And while these months should be a time for fun, a lot of homeowners will be spending time on home maintenance.
Staying on top of necessary upkeep will not only make your home safe and comfortable through the summer, but in some cases can also help boost your property value. But with warm and inviting weather, motivating yourself to tackle these jobs can be difficult. If you’re not sure where to start, it could seem like a daunting task. That’s why I've created this checklist of some of the major jobs to focus on! Hopefully, this will leave you more time to enjoy a stress-free summer.
1. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Get started with a simple but important job, and make sure all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home are working properly. Replace any batteries if needed. If you aren’t already, checking these at least once every season is a good habit.
2. Get the AC Ready
If you live in a warmer climate, this may be something you’re already on top of. Making sure your air conditioning is functioning optimally during the hot summer months is a must. First, change the filters if you haven’t recently. If the air doesn’t seem as cold as it should be, you should consider hiring an HVAC technician to measure your Delta T and diagnose any potential issues.
If you have window units, make some time to install them- enlist the help of a family member or friend if needed. Make sure to clean the filters and properly seal the windows around the unit; a proper seal will help boost performance and save on your energy bill.
To protect yourself from any unexpected breakdowns of your AC unit this summer, make sure your home is covered with a home warranty.
3. Clean Your Ceiling Fan Blades
While you’re at it, you may want to take a duster to those ceiling fan blades too. If you haven’t used them since last summer, there’s sure to be a coating of dust. If your ceiling fans are too high, consider purchasing a duster designed specifically for ceiling fans to make this job easier and safer.
4. Check the Hose for Leaks
Now let’s move on to the exterior to check your hoses. A pinhole leak in your garden hose can add up to a substantial waste of water over the course of summer. If you find one, first make sure the hose is dry, then tightly wind duct tape or electrical tape around the hole. Test it afterwards to make sure the leak is plugged.
5. Clean the Windows
If you didn’t get around to washing your windows yet this year, now’s the time to clean that glass so the sun can shine in all summer. Grab a rag and some glass cleaner, and get those surfaces sparkling.
Don’t forget to clean the interior window areas as well. Dust and grime tends to pile up on window sills and screens, so make sure to do a deep cleaning to keep any seasonal allergies at bay.
6. Polish the Porch and Deck
To properly clean a porch or deck, you’ll first want to thoroughly sweep the surfaces. If the surfaces are relatively clean, you may be able to clean them with a mop and some all-purpose cleaner. However, if there’s a lot of built-up grime, you may need to scrub the boards with a heavy-duty deck brush.
Once the deck or porch is clean and dry, determine if it’s time to seal it by sprinkling some water on the boards. If the water beads up, your deck is in good shape; if not, then it’s likely time to reseal it. For a more thorough guide to sealing your deck, refer to our deck maintenance guide.
7. Clean the Grill
Now for the fun stuff- it’s time to get that outdoor cooker ready for summer barbecues! Even if you wiped it down before storing for the winter, it’s important to do a thorough cleaning at the start of grilling season. The carbon deposits that build up aren’t just ugly to look at- they can actually cause your grill to heat unevenly and not function properly.
For a gas grill, start by firing it up, closing the hood, and letting it run at full heat for at least a half hour. This will help loosen any thick deposits. Next, turn off the gas and let it cool completely. Then dip a wire brush into warm, soapy water and scrub off any deposits from the grates. Wipe the exterior with a sponge.
For charcoal units, completely empty the grill and wipe off any residue you find. Then clean the interior and exterior with hot water and liquid dishwashing soap. Let your grill dry completely before using it to cook.
8. Prep Your Plants
The start of summer is a great time to lay down some mulch for your plants and shrubs. This will act as a weed deterrent and help the soil retain moisture through the summer heat. Next, give your plants some love by trimming any dead foliage- especially from perennials or annuals- to help keep them tidy. Don’t forget to examine the area around your outdoor AC unit- shrubs are a common cause of ventilation issues, so make sure the area around your air conditioning is clear.
9. Don’t Forget the Pool!
If you have a pool, this is hopefully an obvious one. Don’t forget to give the pool a thorough cleaning now so it’s ready for those scorching summer days.
10. Inspection and Touch Ups
Take some time to walk around your home and thoroughly inspect the exterior. If the paint needs touching up, add that to your list. Check your windows and doors and add fresh caulking if necessary; this will help save on energy and help keep ants or other pests at bay.
You should also consider inspecting your roof sometime this summer. However, unless you have experience, we’d strongly recommend hiring a professional.
11. Now Keep It Clean
If you’ve worked through your summer maintenance list, take some extra measures to keep your home clean and healthy. A sturdy mat at your door will go a long way to avoid tracking dirt from outside. If you have children, consider having a tub of water near the door for them to wash off their feet before coming inside.
And there you have it. Now enjoy what summer has in store for you and prepare to get some sunshine!