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Weekend Wisdom: Top 11 Summer Home Maintenance Tips

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The moment you've been waiting for all year is finally here - the start of summer! While your shorts and flip flops may be ready, is your home? Like your skin needs sunscreen, your home also needs protection from the harsh elements.

That's why we put together these summer maintenance tips for your home - to help you prepare for the sizzling sun and severe storms of the summer months. And all these tasks can be completed in one weekend! 

Service your generator

Do you have power at your fingertips?

If you have a generator, make sure it starts and you have gas to run it. If you haven't gotten the unit serviced in a few years, it's best to call a qualified technician to do so.

If you don't have a generator and your area tends to see a lot of storms, you should consider getting one. It's a great investment to keep your house and belongings safe during a power outage, and if you need to run any medical devices through a power outage, then it's necessary. Plus - it'll help keep the food in your refrigerator cold.

Get more tips for powering through a power outage in 5 Tips to Save Your Home from Severe Summer Storms.

Clear your gutters and downspouts

Save your foundation by cleaning your gutters.

Gutters and downspouts are more important than you may realize. They help to keep water from seeping into your roof or basement, as well as prevent damage to your foundation. (Any of these issues can cost you a lot of money in repairs!)

Unfortunately, winter weather may have damaged your gutters, and the pollen and blossoms of spring (particularly if you have a lot of trees around your property) may block the flow of water in downspouts. As summer arrives, clear your gutters of debris and seeds, and then inspect and repair any damage.

If possible, give your roof a quick visual once over from the ground, and if you see missing or damaged shingles, call a roofing specialist

Give your HVAC system some attention 

Improve your unit's energy efficiency.

Replace the filters and run your HVAC system to make sure it's working properly. (This also helps your unit run efficiently, keep your utility bills low, and improve your indoor air quality.)

If you have central air, look at the outdoor condensers and cut back any grass or plants that may have grown around the unit. If you placed plywood over the unit during the winter months, remove it before turning on the unit.

Reverse the direction of ceiling fans

Stay cool in the summer heat.

If you switched your ceiling fans during the winter to assist with heating, reverse the direction to counterclockwise to create a downdraft of cool air. Just remember to turn off the ceiling fan when you leave a room. (Ceiling fans help with comfort and don't actually cool a home during the summer months. Leaving it on can increase your energy bills!)

Check your sump pump 

A sump pump can save your home!

If your house has a basement, it may have a sump pump. This device helps to keep the water out of your bottom level during heavy rainstorms - but only if it's operating. Check that the pump is working by triggering the float switch and ensuring the circuit breaker for the pump has not been tripped.

Also, do you have a backup battery? If not, get one. If the power goes out during an intense storm, you'll need that battery to run the sump pumps, so your home doesn't flood. 

Trim plants and clear debris around your house 

Give your trees a trim.

Branches that touch your home can lift roofing shingles and damage your vinyl siding. (They can also tangle with your electrical wires.) Cut back branches and foliage to create a gap between them and your house, and collect any debris around the exterior walls.

If the branches are too high off the ground and near electrical wires, hire a professional to handle this. Safety first!

Enhance your curb appeal

Increase your home's value by upgrading your curb appeal.

Mold and algae buildup on your fence and siding can really do a number on your curb appeal. Power washing the exterior of your home can help to remove that grime and keep your home aesthetically pleasing. If you don't own a power washer, you can rent one from most home improvement stores but use it with caution. Power washers can be dangerous, and if used improperly, they can also cause bodily harm (ouch!) and damage your siding.

Clean and repair outdoor entertaining space

Your deck may need some attention.

Inspect your deck for broken or rotted timbers and any nails or screws that may have become exposed. Also, check the supports underneath to ensure critters haven't made the area their home over the winter. If you see any mold or algae, you can use a power washer to clean it off, but first, do a water test on your deck. If you spray water on the deck and it's absorbed, it might be time to reseal.

Not sure how to reseal your deck? Contact a professional who can help! Get more deck safety and maintenance tips in Safety Checks for Your Deck and Maintenance Tips You Need Before Summer

Inspect and clean your grill 

Keep your grill clean.

According to the NFPA, more than 10,000 home fires are caused by grills each year. In a quarter of these, the grill had not been cleaned. Clean the drip trays and grates between each use, and do a deep clean of the whole unit every other month. If you use your grill frequently or even daily, you may need to clean it thoroughly more frequently, too! If you own a gas grill, check for any signs of damage or cracking along the hoses or at the connectors.

Learn additional ways to keep your grill grilling and your home fire free in Top 10 Grilling Safety Tips.

Inspect screens on doors and windows

Holes in screen doors can welcome in uninvited guests.

Keep insects out of your house by checking all window and door screens for warping, rips, or holes. Small holes can be patched using repair kits from a hardware store or you may need to replace the entire screen.

Also, check your weatherstripping to make sure it's still good from the winter, so your air conditioner won't need to work overtime. Just don't forget to air out your home from time to time to improve your indoor air quality. No one likes a musty or humid home.

Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Check your smoke alarms' batteries!

Most home experts recommend you check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors once a month. (We send out a reminder on the first Saturday!) But we couldn't create a summer home maintenance checklist without mentioning the need to check your detectors. Replace batteries if needed, and if your detector is over 10 years old, replace the entire unit.

Also, don't forget to make an escape plan with a meeting place for the entire family. People are injured or worse every year running back into a fire when they believe someone has been left. Make sure you know everyone is out of the house during an emergency by completing this important step.

Take care of your home every season 

vipHomeLink can help!

Here at vipHomeLink, we know how difficult it is to know what to do and when to do it around the home. That's why we created our home management app, which provides homeowners with personalized reminders and seasonal home maintenance checklists. From changing batteries in smoke alarms to cleaning your gutters, we've got you covered now and every season.

Stay on top of home maintenance with vipHomeLink! Not a member? Subscribe today with the first three months on us!

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