How to Prepare Your Property for Summer
The summer months bring a lot of joy but can also bring some very serious challenges for the property owner as well. From paint-peeling hot weather to tornados and everything in between, there are many things that can cause thousands of dollars in damage, especially for the unprepared. While many of these things cannot be entirely planned for, you can do your best to minimize damage and expensive repairs and replacement costs by doing a few things at the start of the season.
The Exterior: Freshen, Inspect, and Repair
Now is a good time to kill two birds with one stone by power washing the exterior of the property while also visually inspecting the siding, foundation, and more for visible signs of damage and potential issues. During this time, you should also:
- Inspect, clean, or replace the gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters can cause problems with the foundation as well as flooding in the basement. A downspout should be directing the accumulated water at least six inches away from the foundation of the home. Take this time to install a mesh guard over the entire length of the gutter. These guards reduce the amount of debris that accumulates in the gutters as well as keeping rodents from using them as a handy way of getting to and from various parts of the property.
- Inspect, repair, or remove shutters and other moveable parts. If your shutters are simply ornamental, consider whether you want to actually replace them or if you want to update the exterior without them. Shutters that do not function as they should are not doing you any favors and can be a potential hazard during a sudden storm, so remove and replace them.
- While you are on the ladder, give the roof a good inspection as well. Winter can cause buckling, shifting, and tearing of shingles. Other materials can also have signs of damage from the temperature fluctuations that happen during the average winter, so it is important to keep a watchful eye on it.
- Check the siding while it is being washed. Any loose or damaged areas should be addressed before the summer storms and other potential conditions cause further damage. Loose siding can blow off and be lost. In addition, loose siding can allow water to seep in and cause issues like flooding or mold growth.
The Heating and Cooling System
Even if you made it through a winter season without an issue from the heating system, you may not be as lucky when it comes time to change over to cooling. It is important to inspect the system before the hottest days of the year are upon you, for comfort’s sake.
- Inspect and clean out the ductwork.
- Replace air filters if needed.
- Test the system, and make repairs as needed.
If you do not have a central air system, you may consider installing window air conditioners to make things a little more tolerable. Make sure that you do so safely and that the system is properly vented to the outside so that condensation does not cause damage to walls and floors. If you prefer not to use window units, there are other ways of cooling the house. Install blinds or energy conserving drapes on windows, especially those that get the most midday sunlight. Installing ceiling fans is another suggestion that helps dramatically.
- Even in a home with central air, ceiling fans are a great way to help circulate air.
- Make sure that ceiling fans are cleaned before turning them on. In rural areas, the fans may need to be dusted several times a year, even when they are running on a regular basis.
- Remote-controlled fans are great for eliminating the little dangling chain that can be a safety hazard in homes with young children and a nuisance for those who are either too short to reach them or too tall to avoid them.
Landscaping: Form, Function, and Safety
Now is the time when you will be removing any of the dead blooms from spring’s bounty. Deadheading plants allow them to focus on healthy and strong root systems and leaves for the rest of the season. In addition to doing tasks to make the property more attractive, there are some other things that will need to be done in the yard.
- Remove any dead branches from trees near the property. You may also need to prune any healthy branches that are touching the home’s exterior. Branches are used by pests, including rodents, to gain access to the house and can also cause serious damage in a sudden summer storm.
- Inspect any tree that looks like it is not as healthy as it could be. Call in an expert to have sick trees cut down and removed.
- Be aware that certain trees and shrubs are notorious for invading sewer pipes and other underground lines, so do not plant them; if you already have them, keep an eye out for problems.
- Inspect and replace security and walkway lights. Replace burned-out bulbs, update old fixtures, or upgrade to solar-powered models. Consider adding lights to any frequently used pathway, especially from the driveway or garage to the door.
Summer heat can bring tragic situations like wild fires, sudden storms that include tornados, and more. Being prepared as much as possible can minimize the stress of the situation. Here are some tips for protecting a property in emergency situations:
- Bring in anything that could possibly get picked up and thrown around in a high wind situation. Roll in and then store patio umbrellas, yard toys, outdoor furniture, and more. Keep in mind, however, that just because you cannot pick something up does not mean that a tornado cannot either.
- Close shutters and awnings as they may become bent and damaged during high winds.
- Move all valuables to the highest level of the house. Make sure that things are on high shelves or off of the floors, especially in the basement or lower levels of the house if flooding could occur.
- Regularly cleaning dried leaves and debris out of gutters could help protect the home from catching fire as easily during a wildfire. Make sure to keep other flammable materials such as woodpiles and brush at least 30 feet away from the home as well.