End of Summer Checklist
Warm Summer months are coming to a close, and while you want to make the most of them with barbecues and days spent by the pool, there are some important home maintenance tasks you should tackle to make sure your home is functioning as it should. Read on for an end of summer checklist to keep your home in tip-top shape.
- Change your air filters.
- Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
- Clean your dishwasher by placing a cup of vinegar in the dishwasher and running it to cut down on grease.
- Clean your garbage disposal.
- Clean the inside of your oven.
- Schedule a service call to have your furnace checked
- Inspect your roof for soft spots and damaged shingles.
- Inspect your siding for any holes (may indicate an insect problem) and mold (may indicate water damage).
- Clean your gutters.
- Check your HVAC system for any smells or sounds that could indicate leaks.
- Repair any cracks in your driveway.
- Trim back any foliage that is around your home units, decks, and windows.
- Spray your garbage cans and recycling bins with a bleach cleaner and rinse them off with a hose.
- Sweep your deck, thoroughly clean the boards, and apply a new coat of sealant.
- Prep your lawn for the Fall months
Take advantage of the warm weather and longer days while you can and work on some simple home projects that will keep your house maintained and efficient!
Summer Safety Tips
As we approach the thick of summer, it can be easy to get so caught up in the fun and beautiful weather that we forget the common dangers in our everyday summer activities. Below are some safety reminders to keep in your back pocket while you enjoy the summer ahead.
Summer often involves “fun in the sun,” but remember to be careful about protecting yourself from the dangers of the sun as well. Too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays can increase the risk of skin cancer later on, so building healthy skin protection habits from an early age is beneficial in the long run. Some basic things you can do to protect yourself are to stay in shady areas, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes, wear long sleeved shirts, pants, or some kind of cover-up, and be sure to use sunscreen. It is best to put on sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher around 15 minutes before you go out in the sun. Don’t be fooled by cloudy or overcast weather because the harmful UV rays can still get through, even if it’s not sunny. Also, it is important to remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or directly after you’ve sweat or been in the water.
After spending time in the sun, the body can get dehydrated, so pay attention to how much water you’re drinking. When it’s hot outside, your body needs more water to replenish its fluids. Although the amount of water you should drink daily varies from person to person, a good estimate is to drink as many ounces as half your body weight in pounds. Some symptoms of dehydration can be headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, and itchy or dry skin. It is always important to be on the lookout for these symptoms, especially with children since it can be difficult to get them to drink water. If you’re having trouble getting your kids to drink more water, try mixing it with fruit juice to make it taste better or use fun cups or crazy straws.
Caution on Ticks
Another thing to be on the lookout for during summertime is ticks. If you can, stay away from bushes and shrubs to reduce the chances of encountering ticks, and wear light colored clothes so it is easier to spot one on you. Wearing long sleeved shirts and pants can make it harder for ticks to get to your skin, and even tucking your pants into your socks can offer more protection. Once you come inside, check your hair and skin for any ticks and wash your clothes with hot water. If you do find a tick on you, don’t panic. It usually takes about 36 hours for the tick to release the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease, so use some tweezers to remove it as quickly as you can.
If you want to enjoy the summer weather during your mealtime, an outdoor BBQ, lunch at the beach, or a picnic in the forest are great activities to do. However, in the heat, you have to be extra careful about how you are storing your food when you go outdoors so it doesn’t spoil or get contaminated. Use ice packs in your travel coolers to keep bacteria from spreading in the heat and keep any raw meat in a separate cooler from your other food and drinks. Always remember to bring hand sanitizer or wet wipes when you’re eating on the go if washing your hands isn’t an option.
If there is one thing everyone hates about summer it’s the mosquito bites. To be proactive about limiting the amount of mosquito traffic you get around your home, get rid of any standing water in things like baby pools, bird baths and flowerpots because mosquitoes only need ½ an inch of water to breed. Make sure your screen windows and doors are free of any tears so mosquitoes can’t get inside your home. Mosquitos can be attracted to certain things you wear or how you smell, so avoid wearing dark colored or floral clothing and any sweet-smelling perfume or cologne.
Continue Social Distancing
Although everyone is eager to get outside and do all the things they love, this summer is going to look different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the interest of public health, it is important to remain cautious about which activities we take part in while keeping the safety of ourselves and others in mind. Keeping your hands clean, staying at least 6 feet from others, especially those who are sick, and covering your nose and mouth when around others are some daily precautions we can take to limit the spread of the virus.
Enjoy your summer and remember to stay safe!
A Guide to Freshening Up Your Home Exterior for this Stay-at-Home Summer
Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned our homes into our offices, schools and restaurants, and looking forward to the coming months, our list of summer activities is now limited. Our houses must also become a summer entertainment space as well, and what better way to welcome the season of a social-distancing summer than finally getting outside to spruce up the appearance of your home? Now more than ever having a fresh and clean home exterior will give you a sense of rejuvenation when you spend all those hours enjoying the sunshine on your porch or in your yard. On top of this, increasing and maintaining the curb-appeal of your home is also a great way to preserve its investment. Below you will find a checklist of ways to freshen up your home in preparation for this stay-at-home summer.
Clean out your gutters
Power wash your driveway, sidewalks and concrete porches
Patch any holes and cracks in your driveway
Inspect your porch for loose boards or nails and repair as needed – Your deck or porch should be resealed if, when you pour water on it, it absorbs the water; if the water beads up on the surface, it is adequately sealed
Clean / inspect siding and roofing of your home and repair as needed
Prune all shrubs, bushes and trees that are growing close to your home, especially around any AC units – Adding a layer of mulch in your garden can also prevent weeds from growing
Clean your chimney
Wash your windows and window screens
Check for leaks in outdoor faucets and hoses
Clean and repair your grill
Touch up any chipping paint on the side of your house, fence or doors
Wash down any stored outdoor furnitureCheck your lawn irrigation system to make sure it’s functioning properly
Take advantage of the long summer days to keep your home’s exterior in prime condition!
Spring Interior Checklist
Most of us are spending a lot more time at home than normal. It is a great idea to use this extra free time inside to work on some housekeeping items. Keeping up with regular home maintenance can help your home run efficiently. Read on for a checklist of chores you should tackle this spring to make sure your home is in tip-top shape.
Replace your air conditioner filter. It’s important to replace the air filter in your central heating/cooling system every one to three months to keep it operating efficiently.
Schedule a service call to have your furnace checked.
Make sure you switch your ceiling fans to spin counter-clockwise. This forces air down and creates a cooling effect.
Clean bathroom vents. Removing dust from the covers will help them run quietly and efficiently.
Clean showerheads and bathroom drains to remove mineral deposits.
Clean out your faucet traps by unscrewing the ends of the faucets with pliers, remove the small screens and flush out all the debris and mineral deposits.
Clean all kitchen appliances inside and out, especially your refrigerator and its coils.
Clean out your garbage disposal with ice cubes and salt to remove build-up of sludge. Then pour a half cup of baking soda into the disposal and slowly pour vinegar on top to remove odor. Flush with hot or boiling water.
Change your water and icemaker filters.
Clean your range hood and filter.
Clean your clothes dryer vent pipe.
Clean your windows and window sills.
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries where necessary.
Oil your garage door opener and chain, and all door hinges.
Check your attic and basement for any signs of water leaks, mold or pests.
Taking care of to-do items around the home may not be the way you want to spend a beautiful spring weekend, but it will help keep your home running efficiently and help you maintain your investment in your home!
Springtime Energy Saving Tips
The majority of us are spending much more time in our homes during this public health crisis. Because of this, many of us are using more energy within our households, and looking to save money wherever possible. Living in a more energy efficient home is not only good for the environment, it is also good for your wallet. Energy efficiency can save you hundreds of dollars a year by reducing your utility bills. Read on to see where you can make changes in your home to save your money and the environment at the same time!
- Install low flow faucets and showerheads to reduce water expenses.
- Never leave your bathroom and kitchen ventilation systems running longer than they need to be because these systems replace inside air with outside air.
- Air dry your dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle by opening your dishwasher door after the rinse cycle.
- Avoid using your oven on hot days. Instead use your microwave or grill outside.
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
- Take advantage of warmer days by hanging your laundry out to dry.
- Use blinds and shades in the sunny side of your home during the warmer months to keep your home cooler while using less AC.
- Install a programmable thermostat to use less heat or air conditioning during the hours you are not home.
- Turn on your fan while using the air conditioner so you can raise your thermostat 4 degrees without any difference in comfort.
- Clean and replace your air conditioning system’s filters. Dirty filters can slow air flow and cause your system to use more energy.
- Don’t charge your cell phone overnight since it only takes a few hours to charge.
- Unplug your device chargers when they are not in use.
- Utilize power strips. Even when turned off, electric equipment will still use a small amount of electricity. Using a power strip, you can easily disconnect the power supply to multiple devices when they are not in use.
- Make sure that you are using energy efficient light bulbs like LED’s in all your light fixtures.
- Use a timer on your outdoor lights to ensure they are only on after sunset and before sunrise or install a motion sensor so the light only turns on when someone is present.
- Always turn your lights off when you leave a room.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of electricity and water that you are using in your home. And, if everyone adopted just one or two new ways to make their home more energy efficient, we could make a significant impact on our environment. It's a win-win!