Summer’s higher temperatures and longer days mean homes are subject to a lot more sunlight and heat than other times of the year.
Depending on where you live, you may also have extra rainfall or an even drier climate, both of which can have a significant impact, especially on the exterior of your home.
Following is a handy guide of the top summer maintenance to-dos that will protect your new home from the summer elements and keep it running comfortably and efficiently until the first fall leaves make their debut.
Tune Up Your A/C
If you just moved in, then your new AC is working well. However, it’s good to keep in mind that just like your car needs a tune-up, so does your air conditioning unit, especially now. Summer’s hot days mean your A/C has to work harder to keep your home cool, a feat that can cause electric bills to soar. You will probably want to call a professional heating and cooling contractor for this job. One thing you can do is replace the air filters monthly; this helps units run efficiently.
Give Your Lawn a Little TLC
Summer rains mean you will likely need to cut the lawn more often and water less. This is the perfect time to sharpen the blades on your mower and other lawn equipment, clean them off and reset the sprinkler system to either make the most of a rainy season or help out with a dry season.
Wax Your Windows
Just kidding! But, it is a good time to clean them and check the sealants – even though your home is new, you want to make sure it stays in tiptop shape. If you find that caulk has dried in the summer heat, “use caulk, weather-stripping and spray foam around windows, doors and other hot spots including basements, crawl spaces and attics,” recommends Lowes spokesperson Tara Gudger.
Seize the Moment to Pressure Wash
Summer is usually the best time to get outside and pressure wash the exterior of your home to remove dirt, stains and mildew. Remember that decks and patios need to be pressure washed as well. Experts recommend doing this once or twice a year, but it depends on the climate and its impact on your home. Those in drier climates can usually wait longer than those in humid climates. If summers are too hot in your region, wait until September when the temperature drops.
Hit the Deck
Chances are you’re already finding yourself spending more time on your deck. If your deck is a few years old and has seen some harsh weather, make plans to refinish the deck. Most experts suggest doing this every one to two years. A simple trick to finding out if your deck needs to be resealed is to toss water on it. If the water bubbles, you can probably wait. If it soaks in quickly, it’s time to refinish.
Now that spring’s blooms have fallen and summer rains may be likely, it’s a good time to clean the gutters of leaves and debris to prevent clogging and allow rainwater to be carried away, minimizing mildew and rot. Use a brush to clear out the debris, then use a hose to run water through it and ensure nothing was left behind.
Prep the Grill for Cookouts
Longer days call for al fresco dining and that usually means firing up the grill. Charcoal grills should be cleaned with hot water and soap, bur remove the ashy residue first. Allow gas grills to cook on high for 30 minutes covered with nothing inside. Once cool, clean with a grill brush and wipe the exterior with a damp sponge.
Spruce Up Your Outdoor Furniture
To keep your outdoor furniture from getting dirty, dust and vacuum materials like wicker to remove dust first, then determine what needs a more thorough cleaning. Most materials, including cushions, can be cleaned with mild soap and water. Mildew stains on fusions and umbrellas may need a non-chlorine bleach solution (a half-cup for every five gallons or so is a good rule of thumb). Look for peeling paint or rusted areas on iron and steel furniture, and sand, prime and coat with rust-resistant paint if needed. Most outdoor furniture will maintain its condition if you seal with car wax. Teak cleaners and sealers are especially made for that material.
Reset Your Ceiling Fans
Unlike winter, when you want to push warm air down, the opposite is true in summer. Switch the blades of your ceiling fan so they push cool air down by flipping the switch on the motor that changes its direction. Indoors it will reduce the pressure on your air conditioning system and possibly help you save on your energy bills. Outdoors it will help you make the most of cool summer breezes. The general rule is counterclockwise in summer and clockwise in winter, but check your fan’s user manual to be sure, recommends Gudger.
Climb on the Roof
Remove leaves and other debris left over from the spring blooming season and inspect the roof shingles for leaks and damage. Summer’s intense heat can lead to cracks and loose shingles. Also be sure to check eaves and overhangs for water stains. One easy way to know if something needs your attention is to take a photo of your roof each time you inspect it, then compare images.
Ana Connery is former content director of Parenting, Babytalk, Pregnancy Planner and Conceive magazines as well as parenting.com.
While editor in chief of Florida Travel & Life magazine from 2006-2009, she covered the state’s real estate and home design market as well as travel destinations.
She’s held senior editorial positions at some of the country’s most celebrated magazines, including Latina, Fitness and Cooking Light, where she oversaw the brand’s “FitHouse” show home.
Ana’s expertise is frequently sought after for appearances on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and CNN. She has interviewed the country’s top experts in a variety of fields, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and First Lady Michelle Obama.