By Bill Edwards
All play and no work can take a toll on your home. As the days grow longer and the mercury rises, it’s important to remember summer is for more than just barbecues and pool parties. This is also a prime time to take care of a few maintenance items that have been waiting for blue skies and dry conditions. Read on for a basic summer home maintenance guide to keep your home in tip-top shape year-round.
Reverse Ceiling Fan Blades
Summertime is the perfect time to make sure your ceiling fan blades are blowing counterclockwise. This way, the fan will direct air downward, creating a strong, refreshing breeze when you need it most.
Change A/C Filters
Clean or change out air conditioner filters every couple of weeks once summer hits and your system is working overtime. Clean filters will help keep your appliances running efficiently and keep you comfortable all season long.
Lawn Care and Feeding
Before summer hits full-force, take a few steps to ensure your lawn remains healthy as the heat creeps in. Check all sprinkler heads to make sure they’re functioning, and get your system’s irrigation timing right. If you don’t know what type of grass your turf is, now is a good time to figure it out. St. Augustinegrass needs more water than Zoysiagrass, for example, and Buffalograss doesn’t hold up to a lot of foot traffic. Develop a mowing schedule for your yard so that you are cutting at the right length and appropriate intervals.
Hit Those Hardscapes
Summer is the right time to inspect, repair, and clean all your patios, driveways, walkways, and other hardscapes. Remove any weeds from cracks and give the surfaces a solid power-wash to help keep them clean and extend their life.
There is no better time than the dry spells of summer for giving your windows a good cleaning, inside and out. If you’re one of those clean freaks who washes the windows’ exterior more than once a year, you may only need a ladder, glass cleaner, and a microfiber cloth. For the rest of us, a bucket of soapy water and a squeegee should get the job done.
There’s not much point in polishing the windows if you’re not going to give the screens a good cleaning, too. If your home has screens, remove them and scrub gently with hot, soapy water, then spray with a hose sprayer or a power-washer to get them clean. If they’re torn, damaged, or dirty beyond what can be cleaned, consider replacing them now.
Soft-Wash the House
Homes can use a good shower from time to time. Bacteria, moss in crevices, dingy roofs, and accumulated leaves and dirt on decks and siding can all negatively impact curb appeal. It can also shorten your home’s lifespan. Power-washing is a big no-no — it can drive water where you don’t want it and damage paint and mortar. But a soft wash can help to clear grime and dirt and leave your home exterior sparkling.
Touch Up Exterior Paint
Once the weather is warm and dry, it’s a perfect time to break out the paint and do a little touch-up on outside areas that could use a once-over. Take your time and do it right for long-lasting benefits. This relatively low-cost sprucing-up can preserve the integrity of your exterior paint for quite some time. It can also extend the periods between full-scale repaintings.
Summertime is not just about fun in the sun, though if you play your cards right and take a little time to get ahead of the maintenance game, your day in the sun will seem that much sweeter.
Bill Edwards is a landscaper and freelance writer who enjoys doing handyman project around the house. He and his children recently built a neighborhood gazebo next to the community pool.