As the temperature rises and the days grow longer, there’s a specific energy in the air that signals the arrival of summer. While many of us eagerly anticipate the joys of beach trips, barbecues, and lazy afternoons by the pool, it’s also a time when our homes require extra attention. The scorching sun, increased humidity, and occasional summer storms can take a toll on our homes inside and out. To ensure your home remains a cool, comfortable retreat before the hottest months of the year, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive summer maintenance checklist in place. This article will guide you through the essential tasks to keep your home in tip-top shape throughout the summer maintenance season. We’ve got you covered from simple HVAC maintenance to outdoor landscaping tips. So, let’s dive into the ultimate summer maintenance checklist to ensure your home remains your oasis in the heat of the summer.
Summer maintenance for the exterior
When it comes to summer maintenance, the outside of the home is an excellent place to start. Being out in the open has a way of making maintenance projects seem more manageable and less stressful. Perhaps it’s the Vitamin D you get from being out in the sun or the fresh air — either way, spending time outside is its own reward.
In terms of exterior summer maintenance, however, you can do some key jobs to ensure your home stays in good working condition:
Inspect and clean the gutters and downspouts: The fall and winter seasons tend to put a hefty workload on your gutters and downspouts, not to mention the damage caused by ice and freezing temperatures. If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall or cold, it’s an especially good idea to check for damage in summer. This way, you won’t run the risk of water leaking out of damaged gutters and downspouts and into your home, where it can cause mold to grow. A build-up of leafy debris can also cause rainwater to overflow and potentially seep into the house.
Check and repair the roof for damage: Here are five major things that can wreak havoc on your roof:
- Wind. A strong wind can rip off shingles, flashing, ridges, and rakes.
- Snow. Snow accumulation, or a single heavy snowfall, can damage your roof through its weight. Not all roofs are constructed strong enough to withstand the weight of substantial snowfall.
- Condensation. Condensation in the attic can be caused by malfunctioning plumbing or appliances. A buildup of condensation can lead to mold and wood rot.
- Ice. When you heat your home in the winter, the warmth rises and warms the shingles and any snow on your roof. The melted snow drips into nooks and crannies, refreezes, and causes cracks.
- Icicles. Icicles may look pretty, but they can be dangerous if they fall on someone. These icicles can also cause damage through their frozen weight.
Clean and maintain the outdoor HVAC unit: The summer offers a prime opportunity to clean and maintain your outdoor HVAC unit. While you can clean debris away from the outside of the unit, hiring an HVAC technician to perform routine maintenance and clean the interior is a good idea. This way, you can be sure that the unit is functioning at peak capacity when you need it most.
Inspect and repair damage in the driveway and walkways: Snow, ice, and even heavy rain can cause cracks and other damage to your driveway and walkways. If left alone, these cracks can worsen each passing season until they become unsightly home safety hazards. Take the opportunity to inspect and repair your driveway and walkways in the summer to keep them in good condition.
Indoor summer maintenance
After you’ve taken care of the outdoor maintenance for your home, it’s time to give a thought or two to indoor maintenance. You may think that this refers to what is often called “spring cleaning,” but that is not necessarily so. While there is an element of cleaning involved, the indoor maintenance of your home is mostly about prevention:
Service and clean the A/C: It’s a good idea to have your A/C serviced regularly, but the best time to do it is before the full heat of the summer sets in. It’s good to clean the exterior of the A/C, especially around the input and output vents, and change or clean the filters. This way, your A/C unit won’t be working harder than it has to. You should also have your unit professionally serviced to prevent costly repairs down the line.
Inspect and maintain window and door seals: Damaged window and door seals can cause air leakage, meaning that your HVAC or A/C units will have to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home. Doing this will lead to increased wear and tear and higher utility bills.
Clean and inspect ceiling fans and light fixtures: Interior lighting fixtures can usually be inspected and repaired at any time of the year, but you’ll want to clean and inspect your ceiling fans before the temperatures get too hot.
Summer maintenance for landscaping and outdoor spaces
Working in the yard and garden is a source of peace and joy for many people. Fortunately for those people, much of what is involved in maintaining the landscaping and outdoor spaces revolves around looking after the greenery:
Trim trees and shrubs away from the house: Trees and shrubs that are allowed to get too close to the house can cause damage to the outdoor walls of the home. Additionally, pruning the shrubs and trees close to your home restricts the growth of the roots, preventing them from entering your plumbing or damaging the foundation.
Fertilize and water the lawn: Fertilizing and watering your lawn during the warmer months will help it grow lush and healthy to weather the colder months better.
Inspect and repair damage to the deck or patio: Harsh winters can wreak havoc on your deck or patio, so you may need to check them for damage once the temperature warms up. Whether you have a concrete patio or a wood deck, you may find yourself repairing cracks or refinishing the wood.
Clean and maintain outdoor furniture and accessories: Outdoor furniture and accessories left out over the winter may need a good summer cleaning and maintenance to keep them in good shape. For wood furniture, this may mean refinishing or painting them. For cloth cushions or patio umbrellas, they may need a good shampoo.
Protect against unwanted pests: Whether in your garden or home, pests are a destructive nuisance. Inspect your property to figure out where there may be nests or entrance points and take steps to eliminate the problem. Take an ounce of prevention by removing any food sources from the property.
A home isn’t truly a home until it is safe. To that end, it’s important to take the time to make sure some of the components of your home are working and in good condition to prevent home safety hazards.
Here are some of the preventative measures you should take to ensure the safety of your home and family:
Test and replace smoke detector batteries: Smoke detector batteries must be tested and replaced regularly, so they are guaranteed to work when needed.
Check and test outdoor lighting: Having lighting fixtures in place, especially if they were installed for security purposes, won’t help if they aren’t working. Take the opportunity to inspect and test your outdoor lighting while the weather is nice.
Ensure adequate outdoor lighting: Outdoor lighting can deter intruders and prevent tripping in the dark. It’s a good idea to ensure your outdoor space is properly lit to boost your home’s security.
Inspect and replace worn or damaged electrical cords: A damaged electrical cord can lead to a house fire or a shock injury. Take the time to ensure that your electrical cords are in good condition, replacing them if need be.
Review and update security systems: Security systems occasionally need to be updated to keep your property secure. By reviewing and updating if needed, you reduce the risk of gaps in your security.
Ensure proper ventilation in the attic and basement: Attics and basements don’t often have the windows and other ventilation that the rest of the house does, posing an air-quality problem. Ensuring these areas have proper ventilation reduces the risk of lung injuries.
Home warranties and summer maintenance
A home warranty provides the peace of mind of knowing that your home’s components are covered if they need to be repaired or even replaced. In short, a home warranty is a residential service contract — between the homeowner and the warranty provider — that offers financial coverage for the home’s systems and appliances if they need to be repaired or replaced.
What does a home warranty cover and not cover?
Depending on the plan you choose, a home warranty can provide coverage for the following items:
- Electrical systems
- Ducts and vents
- Water heaters
- Garbage disposal
- Oven, stovetop, range
- Garage door opener
- Stand-alone ice machines
- Re-keying of locks
- Ceiling fans
- Jetted bathtubs
- Trash compactors
- Built-in microwave (optional)
- Pool equipment (optional)
- Spa equipment (optional)
- Air conditioning (optional)
- Septic tank (optional)
- Sump pump (optional)
- Well pump (optional)
Typically, the following items are not covered:
- Faulty installation
- Items covered by a manufacturer’s warranty
- Pest-related damage
- Cosmetic defects
- Misuse or neglect
How to file a claim on your home warranty
If you have a home warranty and you are having problems with a household component that you think may be covered, there are a few steps you can take to make a claim:
Double-check your plan: Checking your plan before you make a claim will prevent you from doing unnecessary work for items that don’t have coverage.
File the claim: Your home warranty paperwork will have instructions for how to make a claim. Your provider may have a phone number or online portal dedicated to filing claims, but putting it in writing will prevent it from getting deleted or ignored. When you send in the claim, send it as a certified letter to be notified when your provider receives it.
Keep hard copies: When you write a claim, it’s a good idea to make an extra copy for your own records. Additionally, it’s important to keep records of all correspondence with your provider, as proof of your communication.
If you need help with where to begin your summer maintenance, following the list provided in this article will keep you on the right path. While the summer is a time for fun and relaxation, it’s also the best time to ensure your home and property are cleaned, repaired, and maintained. By looking after the jobs listed above, you can rest easier knowing that your home and property will remain in good condition for many years.