Here Comes Summer…Is Your Home Ready?
Everyone is familiar with spring cleaning, the process of clearing out the winter’s accumulation of dust and dirt inside the home, along with making the seasonal changes in our wardrobes.
But spring is more than just a time to get ahead of what built up during cold weather. It’s also the best time to give your home some functional and cosmetic updates. These steps will not only make your home look better, they’ll also save inconvenience and money.
Some of these steps are easy for the do-it-yourself homeowner and won’t require the services of a professional. Others are very complicated and may call for the tools and skills of an expert. Understanding which job is which is key to saving yourself a lot of trouble and money.
Keeping It Cool…And Cheap
Let’s start with climate control. You need to make sure your air conditioning is in shape for the inevitable heat waves of summer. A thorough cleaning, inspection, and filter replacement should be done before you first flick the thermostat to “cool”, and obviously, it’s a job that needs to be done by a professional contractor.
But it’s more than just your system that needs attention if you want to save money and conserve cool air. Things all over your home contribute to the temperature inside. Think about upgrading to better blinds or curtains, in order to reduce the amount of solar energy that gets inside your home to battle with your air conditioner. For the long term, consider planting shade trees on your home’s sunniest sides.
Get your caulk gun and spend some quality time tracking down drafts, such as gaps in windows or spaces around dryer vents. These are easy steps that anyone can do safely!
Fending Off Unwanted Visitors
Another thing we think about in summertime is bugs. No one wants flies, mosquitoes, and assorted creepy-crawly things to get inside, but it’s a tough battle with so many people going in and out all day.
Your caulking work will contribute to your control of this problem, but you also want to look at things like window screens. Don’t assume that it’s okay to throw open the sash just because you have screens. Damage can easily happen when screens are removed for the winter. Inspect them and make sure that they fit tightly in the frame and don’t have tears or holes in the screen.
Preparing Your Tools
A spring tune-up is in order for your outdoor tools as well. Remember your last time mowing last fall? You were probably tired and ready to settle in for football season, so you may not have properly put the mower to bed.
Now it’s spring, the shaggy grass is calling your name, and you’re probably tempted just to pour in some gas and go. Don’t do it. On one of those rainy days when you’re wishing you could mow, give your machine a good inspection. Check the spark plug. Replace the air filter, and check the blades. They don’t need to be razor-sharp, but if you can’t tell the front of the blade from the back, you should have them sharpened. More in-depth care is available from small-engine technicians; don’t skimp on it.
Hand tools need attention too. Your pruners, shears, hoes, and rakes should be cleaned up, and a light coat of oil can help them resist corrosion through the summer. If wooden handles are starting to show some age, consider sanding them down and painting them with a durable oil-based paint or other protective coating.
Touching Up Your Landscape
Finally, consider your plants. Many landscape features, such as roses, should have been cut back in the fall, but now is the time to catch up. Remove dead or damaged growth, and before they break dormancy, complete pruning on fruit and ornamental trees. If you’re planting new things, make sure to consider their mature size as you choose locations, and don’t forget overhead obstructions like utility wires or your house.
Spring cleaning can get really big really fast. There are countless tasks you’ll want to take care of before summer. It may sound like a tall order in a short time, but over the long term, you’ll find the effort was well worth it.
This is a post by Sara Stringer