In the winter months, you work hard to make sure the house is insulated, the heat is going strong and the pantry is stocked. Summer is more for cookouts and swimming than house repairs — especially in the scorching heat.
That’s what you’d prefer to think, maybe, but mid-summer could be the perfect time for home check-ups. Here are a few home maintenance tasks that will save you from a major headache later on:
From heavy downpours in late spring to damage done from harsh winters, the seasons can do a number on your yard and plants. Mid-summer is the perfect time to trim back the bushes and trees, rake stray leaves and freshen up the layout of your garden.
It’s mulching season, and it’s one of the simplest things you can do for your yard. Add mulch to garden beds and around the trees — at least two inches deep to help keep the weeds from coming up. Calculate your mulch needs based on the square footage of your garden beds.
Have you recently checked out the wear on tear on your mower or weed eater? Would a small tiller help you to turn over the soil more easily? Check the belts, gas, nuts and bolts. Care for your garden tools, and take the time to set up a clean, accessible space for your yard equipment.
Don’t ignore patio areas, decks and porches, either. Any peeled paint or weakened support rails? Do the stairs need to be replaced? The questions seem never-ending, but they’re necessary.
It’s important to consider safety indoors as a part of your mid-summer home maintenance routine. From batteries in alert systems to dirty filters and leaks in plumbing, there’s much to be done:
• Check the batteries in flashlights.
• Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector. Don’t endure endless chirping until you get the batteries replaced.
• Learn how to check smoke detectors, which should be tested once a month. In addition, the batteries need to be changed at least twice a year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).
• Filters and vents may harbor nasty bacteria in ventilation, heating and AC units. Change filters in your furnace. Clean the filters and vents of AC window units, which can be breeding grounds for black mold. Wear gloves and a mask to protect your respiratory system, and apply a diluted solution of bleach or use vinegar to clean.
Once you solve one leak, another seems to spring up. There are a few things to look out for in your kitchen and bathroom, at least seasonally:
• Inspect your plumbing for unexpected leaks. Washers need to be replaced on leaky faucets, and the aerators should be cleaned.
• Unclog your drains by clearing out as much of the debris as you can with a wire hanger. Add a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain with a plate to contain the reaction. Wait ten minutes and flush with hot water.
• Check the bathrooms and kitchen for tile damage. Reseal caulking around the bathtub. Add a new mat to the tub to prevent slips and falls.
Even in the summer, insulation and air gaps are a concern that can affect your heating and cooling costs:
• Weather-strip doors and windows to seal air gaps.
• Also, close up gaps in the garage door.
Develop a window washing routine to keep a consistent check on any problems. Damaged windows are often one of the more commonly neglected problem areas of home maintenance. Quick fixes are temporary and may not look pretty, but are better than ignoring the issue:
• Seal a crack with duct tape in the glass to prevent further damage until it can be replaced.
• If there’s a crack in the sash of the frame, use a little wood caulk to seal it.
Temporary repairs should only last a few days or weeks. Window repairs may be expensive, but they’re absolutely vital. The more frequently you care for your windows and doors, the less damage escapes your observation.
A house can be a source of weird creaks and groans. A constantly dripping tap or furnace groan may be jokingly blamed on ghosts, but you can’t call Ghostbusters in this case. Maintenance is part of having a happy and healthy home, and it’s better to get your fix-it on during mid-summer than to have any unwelcome, expensive surprises down the road.
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