Summer is the season to enjoy your home, not fix it. But still, some chores must be done. Keep on top of them, and you’ll still have plenty of time for beer and barbecues. Check out the New York Times for more lists like this one!
Garden. By summer, you and your mower should be close friends. Set your mower on the highest setting so you do not cut the grass too short and expose it to drought and weeds. Dig up the weeds (this should be a weekly affair). Water the plants and deadhead flowersthat are past their bloom. These steps will keep your garden looking tidy, and your neighbors content. If you hire a professional landscaper, check local ordinances, as some communities restrict the use of some equipment during summer.
Water plants and foliage. Make sure your foliage gets plenty of water during hot summer days. Water early in the day, but not necessarily every day. Plants prefer a good soaking a few times a week rather than a light, daily drizzle.
Sprinklers. Once spring showers end, your plants will need extra water from your sprinklers. Check your system. Hire a landscaper if you can’t do it yourself:
- Turn the sprinklers on manually, one station at a time.
- Walk around the yard and check to make sure sprinkler heads are upright.
- Look for clogs and clean the valves out with water from the hose or a brush. Leaky valves probably need to be replaced.
- Make sure the spray is wide enough, and not blocked by any foliage. You may need to prune plants or adjust the flow on the valve.
- Check the timers.
- If you notice leaks, pooling water or low pressure, it could be a sign that underground pipes are cracked, a problem that usually means it’s time to call a plumber.
Pool. Do your best to keep it clean. Skim the surface frequently to keep leaves and debris out of the water. Scrub the sides once or twice a month to keep algae growth under control. Check the filter basket and chemical levels weekly. And keep an eye on the water level.
Exterior repairs. If you plan to paint your facade or repair your porch, summer is a great time to get that done.
Ceiling fans. Reverse the setting on your ceiling fans to counterclockwise. This pushes the air down, creating a nice breeze.
Plan for extreme heat. Heat waves are inevitable in summer, so prepare your home before the harsh weather arrives. Check the weather stripping around doors and windows to keep the cool air in. Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes. Check on your neighbors, particularly older ones who live alone. Heat waves can strain power grids, causing brownouts and blackouts. Check your disaster supply kit to make sure it’s fully stocked with items like batteries for flashlights, canned food, bottled water, medicines, a battery powered radio and a first-aid kit.
Establish a family emergency plan. Where will you meet if you need to evacuate quickly and not everyone is at home? What are the best escape routes from the house? Discuss the plan with everyone in the family. Choose a contact person outside the family whom everyone can call, and make sure everyone has that person’s number. Teach your children when and how to call 911. Review this plan with your family annually.
Bugs and other pests. You’re not the only one who loves your home. Termites, ants, carpenter bees and mice like it, too. Some infestations, like a single trail of ants, may be resolved with a spray can and a thorough cleaning of the area. Others, like termites, demand professional assistance. A single visit from a pest control company could cost $300 to $550, according to HomeAdvisor. But if you have a continuing pest problem, like mice, consider an annual contract, with a monthly fee of around $40 to $45, according to HomeAdvisor. Discuss the details of the contract carefully, as not all services are included in a standard contract.
But you also need to be diligent and take steps to reduce the risk of infestation. Seal holes where mice and roaches can get in. Protect mattresses against invaders like bedbugs — if you go on a trip and think you may have brought unwanted stowaways home in your luggage, unpack in the garage and wash all your clothes immediately. Check the attic regularly to make sure a family of, say, raccoons has not taken up residence.
Consider home improvement projects. Many contractors are focused on outdoor projects in the summer months. Now is the time to lock them in for your fall and winter indoor ones. If you plan to paint a few rooms or update a bathroom, get bids now so you can schedule the jobs for the cooler months ahead.