Is Your Home Ready for Summer?

In March, we shared our checklist of spring maintenance tips on how to maintain your home after the winter months. Now that we are almost through spring and into summer, we would like to share some more advice on how to keep your home running smoothly through everybody’s favourite season.

Tips on how to prepare your home for summer

Although the weather has been fairly warm since the start of May, you can count on it being consistently warmer as we approach the official start of summer on June 21. With this knowledge in mind, you can begin to prepare your house for the change of season by following our simple checklist of home maintenance tips.

  • Get out your summer home maintenance gear (lawnmower, garden hose, sprinkler, fertilizer, gardening tools, etc.) and make sure they are well organized and easily accessible.
  • Ensure your water supply has survived the colder weather and that you have no leaks or floods when turning on the outside taps (although you are already likely watering). Ensure you observe watering restrictions.
  • Summer is the perfect time to update your deck, door/trims, picnic table and chairs with a fresh coat of paint/stain.
  • Make your deck/balcony as appealing as possible by creating an outdoor extension of your indoor living space: make sure it’s comfortable, clean and filled with your favourite things, like comfy chairs, flowering planters, candles and pillows.
  • Gardening is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and can actually make your home more appealing if you are thinking of selling, according to Realtors and Home InspectorsWatering the soil, not the leaves, with a long, slow drink is what is required to maintain good growth. Frequent, shallow watering encourages roots to grow towards the surface, making plants vulnerable in hot weather, especially lawns. Irrigate early in the morning and only on days when watering restrictions allow.
  • Leave shallow containers (bowls, seashells, plant trays, etc.) with water around your garden for bees, butterflies, wasps and other beneficial insects. Be sure to add pebbles into the container so insects won’t drown while trying to drink. Refresh the water daily so it doesn’t provide a breeding opportunity for mosquitoes.
  • For all outdoor yard work that takes 20 minutes or more, applying sunscreen is always advised. It is also recommended to wear a hat in these situations to protect your face from the sun.

Summer cooling tips

Another important thing to remember is to make sure your home is comfortably cool when the temperatures rise. This can be accomplished without a high energy output by incorporating a few simple airflow updates and some common sense.

  • Switch your ceiling fan to run counter-clockwise (the blades are tilted upward as they spin) to push air downward and create a stronger draft.
  • Get an attic fan. Just moving the air around and having good ventilation up there could eliminate the need for A/C. Run the blower on your furnace as well.
  • Replace your air conditioner’s filter and have your system professionally serviced. You’ll breathe easier with reduced possibilities of air-cooling malfunctions in the sweltering summer heat.
  • Use awnings or shutters to shade the home. Shutters can provide ventilation, security, shading and storm-protection in one simple device.
  • Cupolas can be as functional as they are decorative. As warm air rises, cupolas allow hot air to escape at the high points in the home, while bringing up cooler air from below. This also creates a steady and cooling air flow, even when there is no breeze outside. In some homes, cupolas also provide soft, indirect sunlight that illuminates the home without bringing in the heat. This same principle can work to help summer cooling in almost any home, if you can assist air flow by way of an opening skylight or attic fan.
  • Think about preparing easy, minimum-cooking meals like salads to keep extra heat out of the kitchen. Luckily there is a wide variety of healthy, nutritional options to choose from.
  • BBQ’s are a great way to prepare meals outdoors without over-heating your kitchen along with the rest of your home.

Prevent Water Damage

In most areas, summer can bring heavy rains and thunderstorms, so protecting your
house against water damage may be one of the most important things you do. Start with
your foundation; check your basement for cracks and leaks. Build up dirt or place grates
outside to direct water away from the foundation. If the dirt you currently have has
settled around your house, water will start running toward your house. As a general
rule, a grate of one-inch-per-foot will ensure proper water runoff.

Then, check your gutters for breaks or low spots that allow water to pool near the house.
These leaks will eventually erode the area underneath the damaged gutters, leaving
water close to your foundation. While inspecting your gutters and ensuring they are clean,
you should also check the downspouts. You’ll want to direct water away from your home
by 3 feet or more. This can be done with a gutter extension or splashguard.

While you’re inspecting your foundation, roof and gutters, take a look at the trees and
shrubs on your property. Cut any tree limbs or shrubs that touch your house. Over time,
the wind will cause these to rub on your roof or siding, resulting in serious damage that
could be costly to repair.

Our main advice for summer is to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather as much as possible and to always play it safe out there!

If you have any questions or concerns about the readiness of your home this summer, or any other home inspection issues, contact Glenn Duxbury at Duxbury & Associates.


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About Glenn Duxbury

Duxbury & Associates Building Inspection and Consulting Ltd. has received the 2004 Douglas College Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the ‘Consulting’ category for persistence and pursuit of excellent service delivery to clients by providing very thorough and professional Inspection Reports and dedication to those involved in buying / selling / building / renovating and maintaining uncompromised customer focus.