The Summer Solstice just passed - it serves as the perfect benchmark to remind us that it's time for Summer Home Maintenance. (Just as the Winter Solstice is a good calendar reminder to winterize your home.)
Here are 8 ways to get your home ready for summer.
Check detectors. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to see if they're working properly. If you don't have a battery tester, get one so you can determine how much life is left in your detector batteries. Better to remind yourself to replace the batteries than to have the detector remind you with a high-pitched squeal in the middle of the night.
Inspect air conditioners and fans.
During the next few months, your air conditioners and fans will be working their hardest to keep you cool. It's important to check these devices before you fire them up - especially if they've been dormant all Winter. Check for wear, especially on all electrical cords.
Clean ceiling fans and portable fans with a damp rag. In most cases, portable fans feature easily-detachable grills to allow access to the fan blades. Consider purchasing a special ceiling fan blade duster on a long handle so you can avoid using a ladder. Check all your air conditioner's filters before using the unit for the first time. If you have a central air conditioning unit, call a professional to inspect and service the unit - you should do this annually.
Install window air conditioners. Save this task for when someone is around to help you. Window units are bulky and heavy - don't try to install one by yourself. You might hurt your back, or damage the unit if it slips and falls out of the window while you are installing it.
Polish your porch. A lot can build up on porch floors over the winter. First sweep them, and then mop with an all-purpose cleaning solution. If there's a lot of built-up dirt on a concrete porch, you may need to scrub them with a brush or use a pressure washer. If your porch has floorbaoards, a heavy-duty workshop vacuum with a brush attachment works well to dislodge fine dirt between the boards.
Inspect your deck. Look for signs of weathering or rot. Hammer down any protruding nails. Check to see if your deck sealant is still working by sprinkling a little water on the boards. If the water doesn't bead up, you're due for a reseal. Consider pressure washing the deck before resealing. If you've never used a pressure washer before, consult someone with experience so you know how to remove the grime without tearing up the wood.
Wash your windows. If this wasn't part of your Spring Cleaning regimen, then it's not too late to tackle it now. Newspaper works much better than paper towels to clean without streaking.
Check your exterior plumbing. Go around all your exterior faucets and check for leaks. Even a tiny leak can result in a big increase to your water bill. Also check all the hoses you attach to your exterior faucets. Small leaks can often be fixed with rubber electrician's tape. If you need to completely replace a hose, heavy-duty rubber garden hoses are worth the extra cost. If you keep them out of the direct sun when not in use, they will last many years. Avoid hoses that claim to "never kink". They usually kink more easily than rubber hoses!
Double-duty doormats. There's a lot more traffic in and out of your house during the warm months. We recommend using two doormats at your main entry, one outside the door and one inside the door. The exterior mat should be coarse and bristly to scrape dirt off your shoes before entering. Use a more rug-like mat on the interior to catch any dirt the exterior mat missed.
If your house is near a beach, place a tub of water by the door so people can dip their feet and leave the sand in the water rather than tracking it inside the house.
Enjoy your Summer!