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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Home Maintenance Checklist


For most of us, we just can’t wait until the warmer weather gets here. I know how much I look forward to the warmer months.

There are many things to look forward to: the green grass, the warm sun and blue skies, picnics, concerts in the park, enjoying the night sky, and so much more.
Most often many of us will do summer cleaning in the spring, but sometimes – time gets away from us. So if spring rushed by you, no problem, you can still get your maintenance checks and repairs done this summer and wrap up the end of winter.

Inspecting Outside Areas

It’s a good idea to take a walk around the exterior of the house and check exterior walls, patio, deck, sidewalks, windows, gutters, etc.

A good time for these inspections are mornings before the sun comes up (it’s easier to spot areas of concern before the bright summer sun comes up) or later in the afternoon.

You’ll be looking for trouble spots. Here’s a list of things to keep an eye out for:

Checking the Exterior of the House

  • Check the caulking and weather stripping on windows. Replace where needed. Wash windows, screens, window tracks and shutters. This includes sliding doors if you have them.
    Don’t wash windows in the heat of the afternoon, you'll just end up with streaky windows.
  • Check for any cracking to the foundation, sidewalks, chimney, patio, any masonry work, etc.
  • Look for staining near downspouts. If there is any staining, your gutters could be clogged and in need of a good cleaning for proper drainage.
  • If the winter months were overly stormy and windy, you may want to consider having your roof checked for damage.
  • Inspect the locks on all doors. Make sure your keys slide in and out smoothly to both the main doorknob and the deadbolt. Repaint the front door if necessary.
    After all, this is where you greet your guests and a shabby front door won’t do at all.
  • Check exterior walls for any trouble spots such as: peeling or bubbling paint, missing patches of stucco, mortar or masonry cement between bricks, and an overgrowth of shrubbery too close to the house that can damage siding.
  • If you have air conditioning, make sure all units are working properly.
  • If you have a deck, check for any slime or algae that could cause someone to slip. Check for loose boards, rotting, nails that are poking up, or boards that have splinters (that’s an accident waiting to happen if you walk around in your bare feet!).
  • Check exterior lights on the property and change bulbs where needed.
  • If you have a security system, run a diagnostic test and check and clean cameras.
  • Check exterior dryer vent and make sure it isn’t full of debris or clogged.

 Take a Fresh Look at the Grounds around the House

  • Is your grass looking a little worse for wear? Do you have a lot of weeds, crabgrass or moss growing? If so, take a trip to your local home improvement store and get the appropriate fertilizers, herbicides, or lawn food you may need. Talk to store employees to see what is best for your lawn and don’t forget to make sure your lawn mower is in good working order.
  • Trim and deadhead plants and thin out some areas of overgrowth, give your gardens a little curb appeal. Applying mulch will help keep weeds at bay. 
  • If you use decorative pots, give them a good cleaning, especially the ones by the entrance to the home and on the deck or patio where you might entertain guests.
  • If you have sprinklers that run on a timer, make sure they’re all working as expected and fix or replace sprinkler heads as needed.
    No need to water the cement or the neighbor’s yard!
  • Check for leaky outdoor faucets and replace hoses.
  • Clean and repair any of the kids outdoor play areas and equipment.
  • Clean outdoor patio/deck furniture.
  • Clean the grill so you’re ready for backyard barbecues. 
  • If you have a pool, sauna, jacuzzi, etc. you most likely already have a maintenance plan in place so just make sure decking is clean and slip free and surrounding areas are in tip top shape.
  • Does your fence need repainting or re-stained? Not only will painting or staining a fence make your yard look better, it will help protect the longevity of the fence too.

Maintenance Checklist -  Inspecting the Inside of the House

Below is a list of interior home maintenance items that may need your attention. I don't know about you, but I save all the manufacturer's paperwork on the products used in our home. This way I can easily refer to them for the recommended methods of cleaning, maintenance, and what replacement parts I may need in the future.
  • Check the interior windows. Clean out the tracks as the weep holes can sometimes get clogged. Check the caulking and clean the windows as you go along and let your rooms shine with the summer sun.
  • Clean and inspect ceiling fans.
  • Consider cleaning the carpets and upholstered furniture to get rid of the blah musty smell.
  • Change filters to the furnace and the main air conditioning vent. If necessary, vacuum away accumulations of dust on the vents.
  • If you have a crawl space under your home, a below grade or daylight basement, they can sometimes be prone to dampness. Check the walls for possible moisture damage, peeling paint, mold on walls, or a musty odor. If you notice any of these, have a professional contractor come out and take a look.
  • Go through the house and check for leaky faucets. Check under sinks and make sure all connections are secure.
  • Check the sinks themselves as well.
    I just recently noticed water under my kitchen sink, turns out the caulking was actually missing in places and I just hadn’t noticed. I had to re-caulk around the sink to fix the problem - now we're good to go.
  • Look for any dampness around the dishwasher and washing machine. Check the hoses for potential problems.
  • If it hasn’t been done in a while, you may need to flush the hot water heater. Over time they can accumulate small amounts of sediment, preventing them from working properly and possibly affecting the efficiency of it. Also, if your hot water heater uses an anode rod, check it as well.
    Manufacturer's recommend yearly maintenance to hot water heaters. It helps keep the internal components rust free and clean. Yearly maintenance will also help extend the life of your hot water heater.
  • Check all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home to make sure they are working properly. Don’t forget to check and make sure the battery connectors are not corroded.
  • Check your first aid kit. Now that you and the kids will be outside more often, there might be some minor mishaps and scrapes that will need to be taken care of. Make sure medications are up-to-date and you have enough lotions and potions for bug bites.

Once you’ve finished checking areas in and around the house and made any necessary repairs, you’ll have more time to spend on trips to the beach!

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