Summer’s in full swing, and hopefully you’re enjoying some quality time outdoors – maybe at the pool or beach, or even in the shade of the Neuse River Greenway Trail or Umstead State Park. And while carving out an hour or so each weekend for a few summer home maintenance essentials might not be the highlight of your weekend, it WILL help your home’s value and your peace of mind.
Here are a few recommendations for actions that should top your summer checklist:
1. Fire Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you forgot to do this when we turned our clocks forward this Spring, now’s a good time to jump on it. Experts recommend testing your home’s fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every 6 months to ensure they’re working properly. We suggest you also replace the batteries. Fresh batteries ensure that your devices will continue to work through to your next check. It’ll also reduce the odds that you’ll be disturbed by those inevitable low-battery beeps!
2. Replace the Filters in Your HVAC System
The filters in your HVAC system need to be replaced a minimum of every three months. If you have pets or smokers in your home, you may want to consider changing them monthly or investing in ones you can clean and reuse. A fresh air filter not only helps to improve your air quality, it helps your air conditioner’s efficiency, saving you money over the long haul.
3. Pressure Wash Your Home’s Exterior
Throughout the year, your home is exposed to the elements. It’s battered by rain, snow, and high humidity. The damp can lead to a build-up of mold and mildew, which can damage your home’s exterior. Pressure washing helps to clean your siding and extend its lifespan. It’s usually best to hire a professional since the powerful water pressure levels involved can easily dent and otherwise damage siding, grout, and other surfaces.
4. Clean Your Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal
You probably load your dishwasher and don’t give it a second thought, but it’s a good idea to clean both your dishwasher and garbage disposal periodically. You can easily clean your disposal by flushing it with hot water and detergent. For your dishwasher, place a couple of cups of vinegar in the bottom and run it.
5. Clean Your Washing Machine
Your washing machine can trap odors and pass them on to the clothing you wash. It’s a good idea to wash it every quarter. Check the drum area for stains or dirt build-up that’s creating the smell. Using bleach and hot water it’s a fast and simple project to scrub the drum clean.
6. Keep Your Backyard BBQ Season Safe
Now that you’ve been enjoying the BBQ for a few months, it’s time to give your grill a mid-season checkup. Get your grill heated up, then scrub the racks thoroughly with a wire brush. If you have a propane grill, check the hoses to ensure there aren’t any cracks or blockages. It’s also a good idea to make a habit of checking your tank’s reserves after each time you grill, so you don’t get caught on empty with a grill-full of food!
7. Clean Your Outdoor Furniture
Most outdoor furniture is designed to be weather resistant—but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a home for mildew, dirt, and other unpleasant layers. Check the cleaning instructions to see if your furniture and pillows require any special care. Washing down tables and seats with a hose is often sufficient, and setting pillows out in the sun will also help kill mildew, (just don’t lay them on your grass!).
8. Minimize Bugs
With warmer weather comes insects and pests of all kinds. Depending on your preferences, you can choose organic or low-toxicity sprays to help reduce those living in your yard. A spray like Cutter’s Backyard Bug Control can help make life outdoors more pleasant. Also look for places that are enticing to bugs, such as areas of standing water, and either get rid of them or use Mosquito Dunks to discourage those biting pests.
9. Check Window Screens
Warmer weather is a great time to walk the perimeter of your home. While you walk, check out your window and door screens. If you have damaged screens, it’s a great time to replace them.
10. Clean Dry Vent
You always clean out the lint trap before through a load of clothes in your dryer, but what about the vent from the back of the dryer to the outside? Summer is a great time to clean out this vent and remove any built-up lint or blockages that can lead to a fire. Be cautious though: birds often nest in the vents, so avoid touching any inhabited nests.
This list is geared to helping you stay on track with summer home maintenance essentials, with minimal demand on your R&R time! At Alexy Realty Group, we love helping homeowners love finding AND living in their dream homes. We hope you’ll give us a call, whether you’re ready to sell your home, buy a new one, or simply need a referral to our favorite service providers!