Prepping your home for the summer requires more than putting screens back in windows and dusting off patio furniture. From updating the interior of your home to be more energy-efficient and bug free, to protecting the exterior from wind and hail damage, there’s a lot of work to be done. Find out the best and easiest ways to update your home, inside and out, for the summer weather.
Update Your Interior for Comfy Living
Summertime means days at the pool and beach, cookouts and starry nights. But it also means bugs, heat waves and high electric bills. With a little prep work you can increase your comfort and enjoyment in the summer months at home.
Clean your fans and get the rotation right. Before you turn on your fans, make sure they’re clean and spinning in the right direction. This Swiffer Duster is a great tool for cleaning the tops of the fan blades. You can bend the duster to a 90° angle to clean the hard-to-reach parts that collect the most dust. Because the duster is made of small fibers, it’s able to collect more dust than feather dusters can. This way, you don’t have to worry about pushing dust off the fan blade and onto items below when you clean.
You can also wrap a pillowcase around the fan blade. Drag the inside of the pillowcase over the top of the fan blade to collect the dust. The dust clumps will fall inside the pillowcase. Once your fan is clean, set it to run in a counter clockwise direction (if you are looking up at the fan,) so the air flows directly downwards. Most fans will have a toggle switch on the center fixture. Flipping the switch will change the fan direction.
Selecting a tool with an extender means you can clean the fan while your feet are safely on the ground. If you must use a ladder to reach the fan, make sure ladder safety is top of mind.
Clean your AC units. AC window units can become very dirty and cause respiratory problems if they’re not cleaned. A clean AC unit will also run more efficiently.
- Unplug the unit and disconnect it from all power sources. Review the instruction manual to learn how to discharge the capacitor. The capacitor holds a small charge and is used to start the AC motor.
- Dust off the exterior of the unit. Then remove the cover.
- If your unit has a disposable filter, remove it. Then vacuum the inside of the unit and replace the filter. Do this every month that the AC unit is being used. At this point, your AC unit is clean and you can plug it back in and use it.
- If your unit has a reusable filter, remove it. Place the reusable filter in a bucket with warm, soapy water. Swirl the filter around in the water to clean it. If the filter is especially dirty, use a soft brush to gently scrub it.
- Once the filter is clean, rinse it off and let it air dry completely. Mold could form if you put the filter back into the AC unit when the filter is still damp.
- Vacuum the inside of the unit.
- Place the dry filter back into the unit. You can now plug the unit in and use it.
If you have central air, contact a professional cleaning service. You’ll want to get the ducts and central unit cleaned. You should also consider replacing the filter every three months or sooner.
Have the house checked for air leaks. Insulation doesn’t just keep the warm air in your home during the winter. It also keeps the cool air in during the summer. Insulation leakage in your home will increase your heating or electric bill during any season. It’s best to call a professional insulation specialist to check for air leakage in your home.
There is a DIY option, though. You can light a stick of incense and walk through your house. Carefully hold the incense next to areas that may cause air leakage. If the smoke from the incense goes anywhere other than straight up, you might have an insulation problem.
Common areas that air escapes from are:
- Floors, walls and ceilings
- Areas where pipes pass through walls
- Fans and vents
- Electrical outlets
Keep bugs out. Insulating your home from air leakage can also help keep bugs out. But there are still a few more things you can do to keep the summer’s bevy of bugs from getting into your home.
- Add door sweeps and weather stripping to your doors.
- Buy 20-mesh or smaller screens for your windows. Repair any rips your screens. You can seal small rips in screens with clear nail polish.
- Dump or drain any pooling water. This can include wheelbarrows and fire pits that collect rainwater, puddles or gardens that flood and do not drain quickly.
- Contact an exterminator to spray around your home.
- Promote bug predators. Birds do a great job controlling bug populations. Add a few birdhouses and birdfeeders to your yard to help attract more birds to your property.
Update the décor. As you move away from winter, you will want to update the interior of your house. Swap out heavy blankets and dark colors for light throw pillows and linens. Replace scented candles with vases of flowers. You may even want to take down heavy curtains. You can replace them with linen drapes that will let more sun and fresh air in.
Update Your Exterior to Help Protect Against Storm Damage
Prepping your home for summer weather means more than just getting ready for the heat. You also have to prepare for windstorms and hail. It’s best to be prepared and get these changes made in the spring or fall. But you can still make most of these updates during the summer.
Check drains and gutters. It’s best to hire a professional to check your drains and gutters at the beginning of spring. Though it’s okay if you don’t get to it that early. You can have someone inspect them at any time of year. You can also clean your gutters on your own. Telescopic gutter cleaning hose attachments can cost as little as $40 and do a great job blasting old leaves and grime out of your gutters.
Trim branches and trees. Windstorms can easily bring down large trees and branches. Talk to a landscaper or tree removal service if you have any tall trees within 100 feet of your house. Also, check for branches that are hanging over your house. Consider having these removed or trimmed back.
Clear debris that can be blown away during summer storms. Keeping your self and your loved ones safe during a hurricane or severe storm should be your top priority. You can always put patio furniture away before a windstorm. But something like a gravel walkway, or stone garden may not be that easy to take care of in a hurry. During severe winds, small rocks and gravel can be picked up and thrown around. Talk to a landscaper about alternatives that you can use in your yard.
Clean and update windows. Consider getting pressure-treated windows for your home. These can withstand much heavier winds than standard windows. Also, get your windows professionally cleaned in the springtime. Strong wind gusts can blow dirt, dust, grime and dead bugs from your window box into your home.
Update your roof with Class 4 materials. Check to make sure you have Class 4 materials for your roof if you live in an area that experiences hail. Class 4 shingles are the highest quality asphalt shingles you can buy and are made to withstand hail damage.
Clean your garage or get a portable garage for your car. You don’t want to have to scramble to get your garage cleaned so you can park your car during a hailstorm. Tackle your garage as part of your spring cleanup. If you don’t have a garage, or it is already full, you can buy a portable shelters or carports for your car. These can run about $300 and are made out of steel, so they can withstand hail.
Update insurance. Talk to your insurance company to make sure your homeowner’s policy is up-to-date. They’ll be able to help you determine if you have the right amount of coverage for your home.
Transitioning your home from winter to summer isn’t always easy. There are chores you’ll always need to do, such as cleaning the windows and gutters. But Mother Nature may throw a curve ball at you, too. That’s why it’s so important to protect your house from the elements during every season. And once the updates are done, be sure to sit back and enjoy the warm weather with a cool drink. After all, summer is for relaxing.