Summer Home Maintenance Checklist
Summer is here! (Finally). If you're like us, you're planning to have as much fun in the sun as possible. But the added time spend outdoors doesn't mean you should neglect your home. Here, we've created a summer home maintenance checklist to make sure you're ready to enjoy all the season has to offer.
⃞ Get an inspection and tuneup for your air conditioning unit. If you didn't already take care of this in the Spring, now's the time, as there's nothing worse than having your air conditioning conk out in the middle of the summer. Make sure yours is in working order before that first 90-degree day comes. Also, be sure to replace your air filter every three months or so. A clogged filter can reduce efficiency and lead to higher energy bills.
⃞ If you don't have central air, reinstall your window-unit air conditioners. Make sure you're ready for that heat wave before it hits.
⃞ Install a smart thermostat. They're perfect for busy homeowners who can't (or forget to) turn down their thermostats whenever they're out of the house. Some, like Nest thermostats, automatically raise and lower temperatures based on your schedule. They can also be adjusted via smartphone.
⃞ Test your smoke detector and carbon-monoxide batteries. Double-check that your alarm batteries work, and replace any detectors—and fire extinguishers—past their expiration dates.
⃞ Clear lint from your dryer vents and grime from your ducts. Lint built up in dryer vents can also lead to fires, and clogs in return vents force the dryer to run for longer, causing energy bills to rise.
⃞ Examine window screens. When the weather's balmy, you'll want to throw those windows open; any holes in the screen will allow pests to fly right in.
⃞ Check your windows and doors for leaks and replace or re-chaulk any seals that need it. Windows and doors that aren't tightly sealed will let air out, which will make your AC work harder and your energy bill go up.
⃞ Get your carpets cleaned. The worst part about having your carpets professionally cleaned is having to wait hours before you can walk on them again. Book a cleaning in the morning, then enjoy a nice activity outdoors for a few hours while they dry. Problem solved!
⃞ Clean your windows. April showers bring May flowers... but they can also bring unsightly window streaks. Give them a good cleaning outside and in, so you can enjoy the views of your yard all summer.
⃞ Check the roof and exterior walls. Spring storms can loosen shingles, aggravate cracks in the masonry, or weaken siding. You should also check for any areas that might need new paint.
⃞ Pressure wash.You want might to do this to your siding in addition to your driveway and patio. This removes any mold or embedded debris, and also gets your exterior spaces ready for summer entertaining.
⃞ Clean your grill. Everybody wants to cook up some burgers as soon as the good weather hits, but if your grill's been stored outside or in a garage, you're going to want to give it a good scrub first. Luckily, there are some good tools that can make this process easy.
⃞ Make sure your lawnmower works. Inspect and test all lawn-care equipment, including sprinklers and hoses.
⃞ Finish up any landscaping. Heavy gardening gets harder the hotter it gets, so try to finish all your planting before the temperature climbs too high. Born without a green thumb? You can also hire a professional landscaper for help.
⃞ Hire a pest-control expert. Sure, exterminators focus on pests inside your home, but many also offer mosquito-control treatments to help you enjoy an itch-free summer. If a whole-yard treatment isn't in your budget, consider investing in a bug-zapping outdoor light instead.
Don Uxa of Squeaky Clean Car Wash on why the "bells and whistles" might not amount to much
Time to let you in on the greenest carpet-cleaning method in town.
Karl duHoffmann, co-proprietor of Orchard Hill Cider Mill, breaks down the nuances of apple cider and explains the exquisiteness of pommeau