Technically, the first day of summer is June 21st, but as we in the Lowcountry know, summer has already arrived. Long days of sunshine, heat, and humidity are already upon us. No need to worry, though — with these easy summer home maintenance tips, you can have your home ready for summer in less time than it takes to heat up the grill.
Indoor Summer Home Maintenance Tips:
1. Check your smoke detectors and your carbon monoxide detectors.
- Replace the batteries if needed.
2. Get your cooling system ready.
- Consider getting your air-conditioning system serviced. Proper air conditioner maintenance can help your AC last longer and prevent air conditioner fires. In Savannah and the Lowcountry, life without AC is just about unthinkable. Don’t wait until the dog days of summer to make sure your cooling system is up to par.
3. Dust the ceiling fan blades and check that the fan is balanced and working properly.
- Attach a dryer sheet to a paint roller so you can reach easily and dust away. Or, my personal favorite, grab an old sock (b/c how often do you need socks in Savannah, anyway?) and dust the blades. After you use it, toss it in the washing machine and it’s as good as new.
4. Get your chimney cleaned.
- This isn’t applicable to everyone, but many homes in the Historic District have chimneys, and they shouldn’t be neglected. Yes, you might not use your fireplace again until fall or winter, but that’s exactly why this is the perfect time to call a chimney cleaning service. They won’t be as busy!
5. Clean or replace your shower heads.
- Most shower heads can be easily cleaned. Don’t be deterred by scaling from hard water, vinegar can easily take care of that problem for you.
6. Clean bathroom drains.
- Whatever method you choose, clean them! With so many affordable options available, there’s no excuse to put this chore off another day.
7. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans.
- If your fans spin counterclockwise, they’ll push the air straight down to your home will stay nice and cool. To do this, turn off the fan, wait for it to stop, and find the direction switch and check that your fans are spinning counterclockwise.
8. Clean the baseboards of your home.
- Use a damp cloth and wipe away all the dust and grime. Disclaimer: I will be the first to admit, this is one of my least favorite chores. But man, is it satisfying once I’ve done it!
9. Check your attic and basement.
- In your attic, look for signs of dampness, mildew, leaks, holes in the roof, and pests.
- Basements are uncommon in the Lowcountry, but if you have one check for leaks, pests, mold, and mildew.
10. Clean the vents of your bathroom fans.
11. Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct.
- Clean out all of the dust and lint trapped in the vent and exhaust duct. Call in a professional to clean and service your washer and dryer if needed. Clothes dryers can be a fire hazard if they’re not cleaned and maintained.
12. Change the filter in the air conditioner.
- If you have a smart thermostat, such as Nest, it should be automatically reminding you when it’s time to change the filter. Pay attention to that reminder. Also, make sure to keep the vents around your air filters clean.
Outdoor Summer Home Maintenance Tips:
13. It’s grillin’ time! Are you and your grill ready?
- Charcoal grills: Empty the grill and wipe away any dust or residue. Use hot water, dish soap, and a scrub brush or sponge to clean both the outside and inside of the grill. Be sure to let your grill dry off before using it next.
- Gas grills: Close the lid, turn the heat up high, and let the grill cook for about half an hour. Let the grill cool. Use a grill brush to sweep the grill. Wipe down the outside with a sponge and cleaner. Then clean out all of the drip trays.
14. Wash down your porch. You should sweep the porch thoroughly, then wash it with a cleaner. Remove any embedded dirt by scrubbing with soap and water.
15. Give your deck a once-over. This is a summer home maintenance must, especially with the amount of late-afternoon thunderstorms we experience here in Savannah and the Lowcountry.
- Check your deck to see if there are any boards that look like they’re rotting, loose, or feel soft. If they appear to be any of these, replace them now. Summertime weather conditions will only make them worse.
- Hammer any loose nails.
- You can also check if your deck needs to be resealed by pouring a little water on it. If the water beads into little puddles, you’re good. If it sinks into the wood, you should get your deck resealed against water.
16. Wash the windows.
- Why not? Clean windows are nice. Use warm water and soap to get those windows sparkling, or go old school with vinegar and newspaper.
17. Wash or change your window screens.
- Use hot soapy water and a brush to gently wash your window screens.
18. Add a layer of mulch.
- If you have plants, the extra mulch will help fight off weeds and help your soil retain moisture during these scorching summer months.
19. Check for outdoor leaks.
- Go on a hunt for leaks by checking all outdoor faucets. Then look at your hose. You can waste a lot of water if there’s even a tiny hole in your hose. Use electrical tape to repair any small holes in your hose.
20. Check your outdoor play equipment.
- Repair or replace anything that’s damaged or possibly hazardous and make sure that the structure is still sturdy and strong. This includes rust, missing pieces, or tears in any parts of your play equipment. Safety is key.
21. Protect your home against unwanted guests.
- Yes, unfortunately sometimes critters decide that your house is the place to be. From snakes to squirrels, take steps to close off your home to non-pet animals.
- Cover any holes that are more than a quarter-inch wide.
- Get your tree branches trimmed back so they don’t create a highway for squirrels to your attic. Branches should be at least 8 feet from your roof.
- Make sure your outdoor trash bins are tightly sealed to prevent a buffet for pests.
- Do away with yard debris. Leaves and twigs are a haven for animals that might decide to invade your home.
- Tend to your lawn frequently by mowing.
22. Clean out the gutters and downspouts.
- You should clean the gutters at least once a year, perhaps twice if you have a lot of trees around your home.
23. Inspect the caulking around the windows and doors of your home.
- Keep ants and bugs at bay in the kitchen by adding fresh caulking to your windows and doors.
24. Consider having your driveway and walkway pressure washed.
25. Repair cracks or holes in your driveway and front steps.
26. Trim bushes and plants.
- Pay special attention to the area around the AC unit.
27. Touch up the paint on the outside of your home.
28. Check over your fence.
- Have it repainted, resealed, or repaired as needed.
29. Look at the outside of your house.
- Check for rotted, dirty, or loose siding.
30. Consider getting your roof inspected.
- It’s important to properly maintain your roof to make sure that it can last as long as possible.
This summer home maintenance tips list may seem daunting, but honestly, most of these tasks take no time at all. Preventative maintenance will pay off by helping you avoid costly home repairs later. The priceless peace of mind that you can enjoy knowing that your home is ready for the summer is also invaluable, and will make that piña colada you’re enjoying on your porch even more delicious.