The days are getting longer and temperatures higher, which can only mean one thing: summer is almost here! While summer is a great time of year, the high temperatures and summer storms can be tough on your home. Here are five tips to get your home ready for summer so you, your family, and friends can kick back and enjoy the summer without worrying about the negative effects it can have on your home.
1. Clean and Inspect Windows and Doors
Your windows and doors have spent the last several months keeping cold air out. Or at the very least, they have maintained a comfortable temperate inside your home — after all, Texas isn’t exactly known for its brutal winters. After the spring pollen has settled, but before the blazing summer inferno sets in, is a great time to give your windows and doors a thorough cleaning and inspection to see how they fared during the cold and rainy months. To make those windows sparkle like new, we recommend using newspaper or a squeegee along with your favorite cleaning solution.
To clean your exterior doors, start by removing as much surface dust as possible. Next, scrub the door using a mixture of gentle dish soap and warm water. Finally, dry the door with paper towels or an old, but clean, rag. Cleaning methods vary from door to door. For instance, if your entry door is wood, you may want to follow up with furniture wax or polish to give the door a beautiful, clean glow.
While you’re cleaning your windows and doors, make sure to inspect them. This is especially important after the rainy seasons, which can leave window seals moldy and rotting if not properly sealed. You’ll also want to check for air leaks to make sure you’re not throwing your hard-earned money out the window via energy loss and inflated energy bills. When it comes to window and door issues, the sooner you recognize and address them, the better. For more information, check out these care and maintenance tips for exterior doors. You can also watch this handy video on how to check and seal windows. It’s not nearly as intimidating as it sounds, we promise.
If you see anything out of the ordinary — or anything that looks downright bad — give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you get to the root of the issue.
2. Service Your Air Conditioner
There’s nothing worse than having your air conditioner break in the dog days of summer. HVAC companies are often extremely busy during the hotter months, and it can be days or even weeks before they can get a technician out to service your unit. For this reason, we recommend getting your air conditioner serviced before it gets too hot. However, there are a few things you can do yourself to make sure your AC unit is in good shape.
The first thing you can do is change the system’s filter. Dirty air filters are not only less effective, but they make your air conditioning unit work harder, stay on longer, and cost more to run. In an ideal world, you’d change your filters every two to four months, but we understand that doesn’t always happen, so take this time to make sure it’s ready for summer use.
Next, turn your unit on and see how it’s cooling. If it doesn’t start within a few minutes, or it’s not cooling as expected, you should call a professional. Even if it is running as expected, we still recommend getting it checked by a professional. Having your unit serviced annually can extend the life of the unit and ensure that it keeps running efficiently for years to come.
3. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Winter and spring can mean the accumulation of leaves, pine needles, and other gunk in your gutters and downspouts. This accumulation can lead to all kinds of problems, from leaks in your attic to wood rot around the gutters. While you can clean the gutters yourself, it can be a tough job, especially if your house is taller than one story. If you’re comfortable tackling it yourself, we say go for it, just be careful. However, we recommend working with a partner. Otherwise, hiring a pro might be the right way to go.
If you choose to do it yourself, you’ll need a steady ladder, gloves, a water hose, and a trowel — which you will use to scoop out the gunk. We also recommend safety goggles as it can be a messy job, and the last thing you want is debris splashing in your eyes while you’re balancing on a ladder. Once you have removed as much of the gunk as possible, hose out the gutters and let the water run out through the downspout, using the hose to force out any clogs.
The last step is to make sure the water from the downspout flushed out away from your house. You don’t want it collecting around the foundation of your home as this can cause all kinds of nasty problems. It may not be a fun job, but it’s well worth it to avoid bigger problems in the future.
4. Inspect Your Roof and Home’s Exterior
The quicker you can identify and fix any issues with your home, the better. For this reason, we recommend taking a quick look around your roof and your home’s exterior. Even if you can’t go up on your roof, you can still inspect your shingles, flashings, and chimneys using a pair of binoculars. If you have a fairly flat roof or do feel comfortable inspecting your roof, please do so carefully.
You’ll want to check to make sure all of your shingles are aligned, intact, and that there aren’t any missing. Also, check the flashing for rust. Flashings are those metal pieces where the shingles meet objects like your chimney. You’ll also want to inspect the caulk around any skylights or pipes to make sure it isn’t cracked.
If your chimney is made of brick, you’ll want to inspect the joints between the bricks or stones to make sure that they are intact and that there is no vegetation growing there. Both of these things can be signs of water problems.
Once you’ve made it past the roof, inspect the rest of your home’s exterior. Be on the lookout for any cracks or exposed wood, which can lead to water damage.
5. Clean and Repair Driveways and Walkways
Paved concrete driveways and walkways are a magnet for stains and grime, and the porous nature of the concrete allows stains to sink in deep. This makes it difficult to get clean, especially with just a regular water rinse. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to clean with the right tools, and a clean driveway can make your home’s exterior look like new again. The easiest way to go about cleaning concrete is to rent or buy a power washer from your local home improvement store or hire someone to clean the areas. If you choose to do it yourself, make sure to research how to properly clean your driveway. While you can clean your concrete without a power washer, and without hiring a professional, it requires significantly more elbow grease. If you choose to take this route, you can get more information here.
Right before summer hits is the perfect time to repair cracks and joints in concrete walkways and driveways. Most driveway cracks are relatively simple to fix, and you can often do it yourself. To figure out how to proceed, you’ll need to identify the type of crack you’re dealing with and what caused it first. If it’s a fairly simple fix, do it yourself. Otherwise, you may want to consider hiring professionals.
Once your concrete is repaired and cleaned, you may want to consider adding a concrete coating product to protect the life and look of your concrete.
Summer can be a tough time of year in Texas, but if you follow these simple steps, you can keep you and your home happy throughout the season. If you have any questions or would like to talk to us about issues you’ve spotted with your windows, doors, or concrete, give us a call at (972) 393-3991 or stop by our showroom, located at 2865 Market Loop in Southlake, Texas.