Summer is here. Before racing off to the beach to watch the kids build sand castles and work on that tan, there's work to be done at home. Ah, the joys of home ownership, right? But like all things in life, planning and preparation are the key to avoiding trouble down the road.
Maintaining a home is integral to keeping it from falling apart. Paint peels, batteries die, filters get clogged, and items get covered in dirt and grease. It's easy to put off these things and say "I'll do it later." Unfortunately, later is usually the time things break and need to be repaired or replaced. Avoid most of these issues by following a summer home maintenance checklist.
1. Window maintenance
Remove screens from windows, if possible, and wash them with soap and water. Allow the screens to air dry before replacing them. Clean the glass of each window, inside and out. Hang darkening window treatments to cut down on cooling costs. Everyone loves the sun, but not when it's heating the home and raising the cost of home cooling bills.
2. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Test each device to ensure it's working properly. If it's almost time to replace batteries in each unit, replace them now. Do not wait until a safety device no longer works before replacing its batteries.
3. Clean air conditioners
Remove filters from portable air conditioners and wash them with soap and water. Wipe down the exterior and front of each unit with a damp cloth to remove dirt and debris. If the home has central air, replace the filter. Go outside and clean the evaporator and condenser coils. Remove all dead leaves, grass clippings and debris near the unit.
4. Clean ceiling fans
Dust ceiling fans. Fill a bucket with soap and water. Place a cleaning cloth in the water and proceed to clean each blade of the fan. Ceiling fan blades in the kitchen may be a little more difficult to clean because of food-related grime; they may require a degreaser.
5. Clean the grill
Loosely wrap aluminum foil around burners. Scrub any debris from the grates with a grill brush. Remove the grates and grease pan from the grill. Spray the inside of the grill with a heavy-duty BBQ and grill cleaner. Spray the grates and grease pan with the cleaner too. Allow the cleaner to sit on the grill and its parts for the time described on the product's instructions. Scrub the inside of the grill, the grates and grease pan, and rinse. Allow the grill to dry before using it.
6. Check garden hoses and sprinklers
Connect garden hoses to exterior spouts. Turn on the water and check each hose for a leak. Test sprinkler systems. Examine portable lawn sprinklers for wear and tear; replace them if necessary.
7. Examine porches and decks
Apply mortar repair to cracked concrete. Replace wood boards on porches or decks that are damaged, lifting or feel weak. Apply stain or paint to protect wood and preserve the life of steps, banisters and floors.
8. Garden maintenance
Remove deadheads from flowers. Pull weeds. Apply weed barrier fabric and mulch to reduce weeds and enrich plants and flowers. Water vegetables and plants regularly. If necessary, apply fertilizer.
9. Clean gutters
Place a ladder against the home. Use a telescopic gutter brush or plumber's snake to unclog gutters and remove dead leaves. Matted leaves will cause standing water and attract mosquitoes and pests. Also, water must flow freely through gutters to reduce the risk of damage to the home. Call a professional for assistance with cleaning gutters if necessary.
10. Clean and repair exterior paint and siding
Remove peeling paint with a scraper. Repaint the bare areas with the same color of exterior paint. Use a light-duty pressure washer to remove bugs, cobwebs, dirt and debris from vinyl or aluminum siding.