June 23, 2010

Summer Home Maintenance Tips

Filed under: Home Maintenance — Chuck @ 8:23 am

Although we would all prefer to spend each and every one of our summer weekends relaxing on the beach, golf course, or around the outdoor grill, the warm weather also provides an excellent opportunity for doing outdoor chores. So set aside a little time, at least, to devote to routine annual or semi-annual home maintenance projects.

To make the endeavor more useful, satisfying, and productive, plan your home maintenance projects with some expert tips in mind. If you have a copy of the home inspection report you got when you hired an inspector before buying your home, take it out and give it a quick read. There may be some comments or notes from the inspector regarding recommended home maintenance procedures. Highlight those with a marker, and make a checklist of ones that should be done in the summertime.

You will want to concentrate on the outdoors, naturally, because during the rest of the year those tasks may be harder to do thanks to shorter days and colder temperatures. Plus it is much more fun to be outside during the summer, so you can combine work with pleasure – especially if you mix up a refreshing pitcher of iced tea or lemonade to keep you hydrated while you’re working.

Check painted surfaces for peeling, cracking, or blistering. Sometimes painting the trouble spots on a home or garage can help prolong the life of a paint job and reduce the number of times you have to repaint your whole house. Make sure the gutters are clear and that they drain away from the foundation of your home, too, because summer thunderstorms can produce dramatic amount of potentially damaging rainfall runoff. Also visually inspect the roof to see if any shingles are curled, misshapen, or missing. Those might be easy to repair or replace, but if you neglect them they could wind up costing you an entire roof replacement or expensive water damage inside the home.

Do a walk-around to inspect the perimeter of the home. You should look for any termite tracks along the foundation. These are thin, tiny trails of dirt shaped like branches. If you aren’t sure how to identify them, have a termite inspector show you examples so that you can be on the lookout for these telltale signs of trouble. You should also learn to accurately identify carpenter ants and wood-boring bees, because these insects can also do a tremendous amount of damage to your home. A good inspector can check for these and also show you what to look for so that you can do regular spot checks on your own.

Be sure to keep your air conditioning system or heat pump filters clean, and keep the HVAC fan outdoors free of leaves and other debris. Everything grows faster this time of year, too. So keep bushes, weeds, tree limbs, and even flowerbeds and mulch trimmed or manicured away from your home and foundation.

Here’s the easiest and most pleasant summer chore of all. Stand beneath the shade trees on your property and while looking up into the leaves and branches, check for dead limbs. A sudden gust of wind or an ice storm next winter could send those crashing down, so if you find evidence of dead, diseased, or rotten limbs have the trees inspected and treated or trimmed.

Also, before stepping on the ladder, cranking up the hedge trimmer, picking up a paint brush, or doing anything involving home maintenance – be sure to practice safety first. Too many homeowners cut corners on simple safety procedures and wind up making unfortunate trips to the emergency room – which is no way to spend a bright and sunny summer afternoon. Take your time and protect yourself – because nothing is more valuable than your good health and the health and safety of those around you.

Use OSHA-approved safety glasses to protect your eyes, wear cotton or leather gloves to help avoid blisters, cracks, and abrasions on your hands, and wear an appropriate dust mask or respirator when working around chemicals, dust, or other products that could be potentially hazardous when inhaled. Sturdy footwear is a must – otherwise you could twist and ankle or step on something sharp and get injured – and if you’re going to be exposed to poison ivy or other toxic plants then wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Sunscreen and a hat with a brim or visor are also important to protect you from harmful UV rays.

The effort you make will pay off throughout the year by keeping your home in tip-top condition and ensuring that it performs as it should. A home that performs well is less expensive in terms of repairs and utility bills, so that will keep your overall homeowner costs to a minimum.

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