Fixing, cleaning, and maintaining a home while it’s warm and dry is like shopping for the winter holidays in July. It’s smart to get it done early — before the bad weather comes along. Here are some tips for getting home maintenance done during the summer.
Suppose the gutter system — including gutter guards, downspouts, and gutter extensions — is working properly. In that case, water will flow through and out at least five feet away from the house, says Dan DiClerico, a home expert for a national online home renovation website.
Start with a visual inspection of the whole system and look for these signs of wear or damage, suggests Kevin Chang, co-founder of a San Francisco Bay Area company that provides year-round home maintenance to roughly 200 homes:
Pieces that are loose, corroded, or pulling away from the house.
Signs of ground erosion. If the grass has washed away beneath the roof edge, for example, it may indicate that water is splashing down because the gutter system isn’t effective.
Leaves, twigs, and other debris in the gutters.
Spray water onto the roof to make sure it funnels into the gutter and downspouts. Overflows or slow flow could be signs of obstruction.
Summer is a good time for homeowners to inspect roofs, inside and outside, to help avoid emergency repairs later. Roofs are generally low maintenance, DiClerico says, but when they need repairs, he recommends calling a professional. DiClerico says binoculars can help homeowners do a visual inspection from ground level, before heading into the attic, and he recommends paying attention to these common signs of roof problems.
Missing or loose shingles
Seams where two sections come together, and to flashing, seals around windows, chimneys, and other openings.
Inside, check for missing insulation in the attic, and signs of moisture like discoloration or mold in the attic or on ceilings, which could indicate the roof is not watertight.
A strong coat of paint can help protect against leaks during the winter. But too much heat makes it hard for the new paint to cure, so exterior paint projects are best done at the beginning or end of the summer when temperatures and humidity are lower, says DiClierico. His additional painting recommendations:
The ideal temperature for painting outside is between 50 and 90 degrees.
Don’t skimp on sanding, scraping, filling, and other prep work. They’re the key to a paint job that lasts.
A good paint job should last 10 years.
If you’re not painting, wash the outside of the house with soapy water and a sturdy bristle brush, he advises. Use a pressure washer sparingly; in DiClerico’s opinion, the gentler option is preferable. Pressure washing a roof can damage shingles, he warns. A spray-on roof cleaner will take care of mold or mildew.
Give it a good cleaning, inside and out. Use a grill scraper or brush to free the grates of burned-on grease and empty the drip tray. Doing this deep clean once a season should be enough, Chang says.
Chang also likes to burn off any remaining grime by putting all burners on high with the lid closed for 15 minutes. He suggests doing this regularly throughout the summer whenever the burners start looking dirty.
Filters and vents:
During the summer, Chang says heat makes a home’s systems work extra hard, which makes it an ideal time to address the elements that help those systems run smoothly. Summer is also a good time to have the heating system serviced, to help avoid emergency repairs when the cold weather returns. “It’s a lot like taking your car in for a regular service,” DiClerico says.
Change HVAC filters: Replace spring-allergen-loaded filters on forced-air systems.
Clear dryer vents: Depending on how long or hard it is to reach the duct, Chang recommends vacuuming, using a drill brush tool, or hiring a professional to clear out the duct system, which sends the dryer’s hot air outside.
Wash range hood filter: When the filter above the stove is yellowish or feels sticky, oil and grease have built up. The filter should pop off easily in most cases and can be soaked for 20 minutes in soapy water, then put back. “There’s not too much need for scrubbing here,” Chang says.
Clean refrigerator coils: Summer means refrigerators use more energy to keep cold, and built-up dirt on the coils (usually at the back of the fridge, but sometimes on top or underneath) can reduce efficiency. Gently vacuum or wipe away dust.
To determine if a home has a moisture problem, especially in the basement, “your nose is going to be the best first detector,” says DiClerico. Just sniff for a dank, musty smell.
A dehumidifier can help keep moisture within the ideal range of 30 to 50 percent humidity. Many things — including inadequate ventilation, cracked foundations, and poor drainage — can contribute to moisture in the basement, but identifying the cause can be tricky. If a dehumidifier doesn’t help or if there are signs of mold, DiClerico recommends calling an HVAC professional for an inspection.
On the main living level, cracked, peeling, discolored, or moldy caulking, particularly around the sink, shower, and tub, can lead to moisture damage and rot, Chang says. He recommends replacing failing caulking with new waterproof and mold-resistant caulking.
Our team here at Corken + Company wants to make sure you protect and care for your house in these coming months! We hope these tips will save you from any future issues.
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