August 19, 2022
August 19, 2022
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Summer is the perfect time for relaxing, yes. It’s also vacation time for so many. But it also happens to be the best time for home owners to take a look around their house and property, and, if necessary, fix up some important maintenance items.
The reason is simple – you want to look after those chores when the weather is nice, so that you don’t need to worry about them so much when temperatures and conditions become less predictable. In many parts of Canada, this can mean right after Labor Day, as the days start to get shorter and the fall winds and rain kick in. Your place may even be subjected to a pounding from a late summer storm. That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to provide a list of summer home maintenance items you can look after now, before the snow flies.
In general, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on routine home maintenance; it is, however, an excellent investment in many areas – little touch-ups you can do to avoid major headaches down the road. Items such as clearing out gutters – safely – involve little to no cost. Other upgrades may involve replacements of parts or components which involve significant dollars. Statistics show that in Canada, it takes anywhere from around $1,000 to $7,000 per year to address routine home maintenance. Strategic upgrades – which might be amortized over time – such as full replacement projects – roofing, for example, or major Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) could cost up to $10,000. This, again, is why it makes so much sense to handle the small stuff promptly, so that you can defer the big projects for as long as possible.
Here are some of the priority annual maintenance items you should be looking at right now. These should be checked in the summertime, while the weather is at its best. Delaying some of these items could result in the type of unwanted surprise you never need, such as a mechanical breakdown or an internal leak from the roof or your foundation.
The summer heat is the time to ensure your home’s Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are in good working order. Check that all the components are functioning, including the fan, the filters, along with your thermostat. If some appears amiss – if the cooling level is not appropriate, or if your home doesn’t achieve the desired temperature, you should get a technician involved, who can diagnose and correct the problem.
We also mention the furnace because, while it may not be needed at the moment, it certainly will be in just a few months. Having a maintenance check of it now is far superior to needing larger scale repairs when the cold season is upon us. This includes a check of the gas lines, motor, and fan, as well as your humidifier.
We often don’t pay them much attention, but the enclosure of your property plays an important role to your family’s safety and security. Make sure your fencing is upright and secure all around your home. Make any necessary repairs to fencing, posts and openings all around your perimeter. This helps keep unwanted intruders out, both human and animal. Also check any gates you might have. They should be fully functional – both open and closed, and fully lockable if necessary, especially if you are planning on going away on vacation.
Once your trees and shrubs have gone through their annual period of growth, you should take a good look to determine what needs to be trimmed or cut back. Mother nature does her work in the spring, and the result could be overgrown bushes and shrubs in summer, as well as branches and leaves which could be overhanging your home, or getting too close to it – roofs, walls and windows. Even some of your neighbours’ growth could be encroaching onto your property, which you have full rights to cut back if required. Pay close attention to power lines as well. Your municipality may be responsible for tree growth on your street’s hydro or telephone lines, but anything within the confines of your property is probably up to you for maintenance.
These are definitely summertime maintenance items. It’s quite likely all your exterior horizontal surfaces – deck/patio, veranda, and driveway – are in need of a wash. Power washing is often employed to get as much grit off the surface as possible.
For vertical surfaces such as posts and rails, it will take some cleaning fluid and elbow grease to do the cleaning job. After that, you might need to consider paint touch-ups, or even a whole new paint job, should the existing coating be deteriorated. This greatly helps protect the surfaces underneath from prematurely rotting or rusting out.
We all know summer is prime barbeque time. But your grille, and all other components of your BBQ, probably have a layer of grime and grease, built up from the previous cooking season. Take the time to scrub them down and get all surfaces clean again. This is not only for aesthetics. Much of that grime is likely grease-related and highly flammable. The last thing you want is for your BBQ to catch fire during use. So take the time to get the unit spic and span for summer and fall use.
Especially on your home’s exterior, the elements pound against your windows and doors, all the year round. The end result is a layer of grime which not only obstructs your view, it can also be unattractive looking. One regular summertime maintenance activity should be window and door cleaning. While you’re at it, you should consider your window interiors as well. Washing both sides, in and out, will give the maximum sparkle to your glass surfaces.
At the same time, you can also check on the condition of all caulking and seals, and make any necessary repairs as required. This will help with your interior home comfort, by eliminating drafts; it will also save you money on energy consumption. This applies to both your air conditioning now and your heating costs when things cool off.
Your home’s roof is like a big umbrella, designed to keep the water and all of the elements out of your interior space. It should be checked every summer, for:
If you lack the skills or equipment to safely do this yourself, engage with a qualified roofer to come out and do the check for you. It’s a wise investment, and could save you a lot of aggravation and dollars down the road, if you catch and repair small items before they turn into out-of-control leaks.
It’s an excellent idea to ensure all the drains in and around your home are clear and functioning properly. Starting with the inside, you should check all bathroom and kitchen drains. If they are slow or clogged, you could try a do-it-yourself remedy, such as a commercial drain clearing product. If that fails, you may need to get hold of a qualified plumber who can diagnose and correct any of your interior drain issues.
Outside the home, you should take advantage of the warm weather by checking any exterior drains and sewers on or around your property, as well as your eavestroughs and downspouts. They should be free of debris and clogs that can cause serious issues later on – often water not draining properly and away from your house can wind up in your basement.
These mechanical venting devices in your home work the whole year round, and as such, they accumulate lots of dust and debris. Take time in the summer to check them, just as we already recommended you should with your furnace and air conditioner. Dryer vents and exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom need to be clear in order to work properly. For each unit clear them out either manually or with a vacuum, so that air flows through them unimpeded. You’ll find they work way better when they are unclogged.
Take no chances. Ensure that all your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fully functional. Change the batteries annually. A common piece of advice is to do it on your birthday, an easy date to remember. But if that day has come and gone, take time one day in the summer and check all of these very important devices, on all the levels of your home.
We all like to take a break in summer, and enjoy some downtime with our family and friends. Many folks like to go away for vacations, which is also great. But it only makes sense to schedule some time during the warm months for routine home maintenance items such as the ones we’ve listed. If you take some time up front to create a checklist and plan it all out in advance, it won’t take up much of your relaxation time, either. Getting your home-related inspections and maintenance completed can be achieved over a weekend or two. As we’ve pointed out, catching small items now can save you big on both frustration and expense down the road. Catch the little items and fix them while the weather’s fine.
We hope you’ve found this summary of summer home maintenance items useful. Please contact us with any questions or comments, or additional ideas for summer home maintenance.
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