Most of the USA is suffering from unusually hot weather, and those scorching temperatures don’t just take a toll on people but they can also stress a residential building. So it is good idea for homeowners to keep an eye on their properties while also keeping some unique and helpful hot weather maintenance tips in mind. Here are a few items to put on the home maintenance checklist for the especially hot and humid time of year:
Air conditioning systems are especially overworked this time of year, so it is important to check them on a regular basis to make sure they are in good condition and are functioning in an energy efficient way.
• If there is a unit with a fan on top of it outside, for example, keep the fan grill free of debris such as leaves or branches.
• Trim the landscape around A/C units so that summer weeds and tall grasses don’t encroach, and also make sure that there are no drainage problems that might cause standing water near the unit.
• Anytime the unit makes loud noises or shows signs of rust, have it checked by an HVAC contractor to make sure it is working properly. If the unit is too old replacing it may be the right thing to do because inefficiently working air conditioners create much higher utility bills.
• Window units should be checked to make sure they are not creating moisture that is causing damage to a window frame or sill, porch, or the siding of your house. A/C filters should also be inspected and cleaned or replaced as needed.
• A dirty filter not only impedes efficiency to make it harder to cool your home but it can also create airborne dust, allergens, or mold that can be bad for your health and aggravate those annoying allergies.
Speaking of health, harsh UV rays from scorching sunshine can affect the outside of your house just like they can cause skin damage to people who sunbathe without protection at the beach. So toward the end of summer is an ideal time to look for signs of sun damage around your home.
Walk around the outside and give the paint job a close inspection. On parts of the exterior where there is less shade and the most exposure to direct sunlight you may find sections of peeling and blistering paint. That kind of paint problem can be caused by sun breaking down the chemical components of the paint over time. There are some brands and formulas of paint that are more resistance to harmful UV rays, so if you decide to repaint you may want to invest in that type of paint. But peeling and blistering is also caused by not using the right kind of paint or not priming the subsurface properly.
If it has been an especially rainy summer then the gutters also deserve a closer look. Keeping them structurally supported and clean helps to preserve the whole house, because when large amounts of rainwater cannot drain through the gutter system water seeks the path of least resistance. That could be through your roof, for example, or down the side of your house where the water can damage exterior walls. Also check around the whole property for especially muddy spots that may indicate a lack of proper drainage. These are especially critical around structures like a garage or shed because poor drainage can undermine the foundation and cause serious damage.
But standing water also invites mosquitoes, and everyone knows how quickly they can spoil a summer day or outdoor entertainment. After every rain it is a good idea to police the area and dump out any collected water from items like empty gardening pots or trash cans. If you have a water feature like a fountain you may want to buy special anti-mosquito pellets or add some household bleach to the water to keep it free of larvae.
Always be careful, however, when using any chemical or bleaches around the house. A small amount of bleach could kill your aquatic plants or goldfish, for example, and drinking standing water that has chemicals in it could harm your pets or even small children who like to play in muddles.
So always read labels carefully, take appropriate precautions, and don’t take any chances. Call in a professional whenever you have a question or doubt.