Though summer doesn’t officially start until later this month, families across the U.S. have already kicked off the season. The kids are out of school, the temperatures are climbing, and the neighborhood pool is open for business. If you’re a homeowner or renter, you know that there is a unique set of summer home maintenance concerns. You don’t have to worry about frozen pipes or shoveling snow off the sidewalk, but the heat takes its toll on your house, too. Read on for tips to protect your home against the elements this summer!
To keep cool on hot days, most homeowners turn to air conditioners. But like other utilities and appliances in your house, the AC can raise energy costs, leaving you with a big electric bill. Make sure your AC is tuned up and your home keeps the cool air inside.
30% of a home’s cool air is lost through drafty windows and doors during the summer, according to Brennan, a Texas-based window company. If replacing your old windows isn’t in the budget this year, at least be sure to caulk around the edges and sills to seal any cracks. Black-out curtains or roman shades can also keep temperatures low, especially in rooms with large windows that tend to heat up quickly during sunlight hours.
Think about installing a programmable thermostat with a self-timer to keep energy costs at a minimum. Program your AC to power down overnight when you’re sleeping, or set it to raise a few degrees during the day while you’re at work. This will conserve energy and prolong the life of your AC!
If your home has ceiling fans, keep them on at a low speed throughout the day to help move cool air throughout the house and provide a comfortable breeze. Box fans can also be strategically placed near vents to keep air circulating, especially in larger areas of your home. If your AC happens to break down or you just want to take advantage of the fresh outdoor air, a box fan can also be conveniently placed in a window.
Your kitchen is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to heating up your home. Using the stovetop or oven introduces hot air into the room and the AC can’t always keep up, making your house stuffy. Skip the oven and head outside to grill out! Invest in patio furniture or a picnic table and dine in the great outdoors while your kitchen stays cool.
Warmer weather also brings a variety of unwanted household pests, like ants, flies, and beetles. The average fly-swatter doesn’t always do the trick, but don’t give up yet! Keep the bugs out with a few easy tricks.
Place insect traps in the corners of your home, especially near windows or cracks where they crawl in. Easily conceal them with a piece of furniture or a houseplant so they don’t interrupt your decor.
A professional pest control technician might be your best bet if the bug problem becomes unmanageable. Exterminators are knowledgeable about ways to get rid of specific insects, and have the right tools and products to do it. If you don’t like using harsh chemicals in your home, you can also use natural insect deterrents like vinegar, essential oils, and even chalk!
It sounds simple, but sometimes the best way to keep bugs outside is to make sure that your window screens are well-attached and in good repair. Pests sneak in through rips in the screen or through cracks where it is not fully attached to the window pane. Another preventative measure is keeping your home clean. Try to wipe up any sticky spills immediately before they attract ants. Keep food sealed and don’t leave crumbs on your countertop or stove. Frequently vacuum or sweep around baseboards in the kitchen or dining room, where small food particles collect.
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy your backyard. Many homes have decks or patios where families gather for barbecues, bonfires, and holiday celebrations. But, since outdoor spaces are directly exposed to the elements, they often need a bit more seasonal maintenance.
Wooden decks fall into disrepair easily. Make sure your wooden deck is treated with a quality wood stain and sealant. Angie Hicks of Angie’s List suggests pressure-washing and restaining your deck about every 3 years. If you have a patio, sealant is also available for tile and stone. While you’re at it, secure any loose stones or bricks and repair cracks.
Keep your garden looking great all season long, even on the hottest days. Don’t let your plants get parched. Automatic sprinkler systems are good for large lawns and gardens, and there are several cheap options on the market. Remember to water either early in the morning or later in the evening (avoiding the heat of the day), and skip the sprinklers if there is a drought alert issued in your area.