Home maintenance for the summer months

Summertime, and the living can’t always be easy. In fact, this is a good time to roll up your sleeves for a bit of home maintenance: It will ensure your house runs smoothly all year long and that minor problems are caught before they balloon into budget busters.

Cooling & heating systems

Inspect, clean or change your air conditioning filter once a month. A dirty filter can decrease efficiency and lead to early equipment failure. Check the top of the unit for leaves and other debris and keep two feet around the unit clear of shrubs, tall grass and other air-obstructing materials. Also, don’t let your lawn mower blow grass into the unit. And why not get your heating system inspected during the summer instead of waiting for the fall rush? More tips.

Appliances

Reduce strain on your fridge in the hot summer months by pulling it out from the wall and vacuuming dust, pet hair and other debris from the condenser and tubing to allow proper cooling. Vacuum lint from your clothes dryer duct and vent hood, and do a little preventive maintenance of your washer – learn how to do both these tasks here. Also, clean dust from the vent hood grille and the inside of bathroom and other venting fans.

Exterior structures

Decks, porches and outdoor stairs need to be checked annually for rot and repaired or replaced if necessary. That means checking underneath and especially any wood that’s in contact with the earth. The spaces between deck boards should be washed to clear out debris that can trap moisture and cause rot. If the surface of your wooden deck or porch is weathered, now is the time to refinish it.

Windows & doors

Climate change is bringing more severe weather, including heavier summer storms. Check windows and doors for rot or a bad fit that could allow water penetration. Inspect caulking around all doors and windows – keeping it in good repair reduces the likelihood of water penetration and reduces cooling and heating bills by preventing unwanted air exchange. Re-caulking is an easy DIY project.

More inspections

Check the outside of your foundation for cracks, flaking concrete and other problems. If you suspect a problem, call in a foundation specialist who has experience, insurance and good references. You also need to keep your roof, including flashings, in tip-top shape to prevent costly repairs down the road. You can do a basic visual check of your roof yourself, but it’s smart to hire a professional roofer every few years to give it a thorough inspection.

Related

Check our resources & advice for more maintenance ideas and our directory of home improvement and maintenance pros for jobs you don’t want to tackle yourself.

More stories by Patrick Langston