“Summerize” Your Home and Yard
Is your home and yard ready to take the summertime heat? The DC metro area is known for its hot and steamy weather … so don’t let your home get roasted this summer in more ways than you’d like!
Here’s our handy to-do list to help you prep your home for summer:
Keep It Cool
Get your A/C system serviced professionally. If you haven’t had your A/C checked out yet then now is the time before you’re hit with no A/C on the hottest day of the year. Even if your system is relatively new, you want to get your heating and cooling system maintained at the change of seasons. This preventative service can help you can avoid any emergency problems.
Sign up for a yearly maintenance contract with a HVAC company. Having a service contract with a cooling and heating company means that they will reach out to you before the change of every season. That way your system will get serviced at the appropriate time. Plus, if you do have any emergencies in the middle of the season, your service call will be a priority and move to the top of their list. Email your agent here at Dwell Residential for our list of recommendations.
Clear away debris around your outside air conditioning unit. Make sure you don’t have shrubs, weeds or other growth too close to your unit. You want it to work properly and be as efficient as possible.
Clean and replace your unit’s air filters. Don’t forget to do this and stick to your manufacturer’s recommendations. Your A/C unit will be working in overdrive to keep you cool, so do your part to make it work effectively.
Go shopping for portable or window A/C units (or even fans). Not every home has central A/C; or maybe some of your rooms are more stifling than others. You might be surprised to see how many more (and improved) options are out there to help keep your home cool over the summer… oscillating fans, ceiling fans, attic fans, window A/C units and portable A/C ones. And many are more energy efficient and less noisy!
Prevent Moisture and Mold
Summer means higher levels of humidity. This excess moisture in the air causes mold and mildew. High humidity levels can wreak havoc on your home and stuff. It can warp wood and cause condensation on walls. Plus, it damages your electronics, pianos, books, clothing and more.
Basements especially become musty and moist, especially on humid days. If you have a basement or live in a lower level condo, now is the time to tackle this problem before it gets out of hand. No one wants to deal with health concerns from mold or have ruined items.
Get a dehumidifier to remove moisture. Make sure you buy the right dehumidifier and the correct size for the room. It either comes with a bin you have to continue to empty or you can connect a tube to a drain so it empties continuously. Whatever you do, don’t buy one that will overflow if you forget to empty it! Keep in mind dehumidifiers vary according to how many pints of moisture they can remove in 24 hours.
Manage your indoor humidity levels for summer. Try to reduce the humidity levels to 40-50% at most. Your programmable thermostat may indicate your home’s relative humidity. There are several lifestyle changes and solutions that you can do to help with humidity levels.
Try these: Ventilate in high moisture areas, such as bathrooms or kitchens with vent fans or an open window. (Don’t take long hot showers!) Consider getting a home ventilation or humidification system if you don’t have one so you can set appropriate levels for you home in summer and winter. Run the A/C when you can to curb moisture. And if you have a crawl space, make sure to insulate it with a plastic vapor barrier and have vents.
Help prevent mold in your home. Too much moisture in the air is a health concern and can worsen your allergies and asthma. Mold is dangerous and having a dehumidifier running continuously can help reduce your home and basement’s moisture. Again, make sure you check humidity levels in your home and maintain proper levels. If you think you have a mold problem – it even can happen behind walls or under carpets — contact a professional to work with you on your home. You definitely want to avoid major health issues for your family.
Summertime Chimney Work
Believe it or not, the summer can be a great time to get your chimney and fireplace swept or any work done on the inside or outside. The busy time for chimney companies tends to be in the fall, so you can often negotiate a great discount because of the time of year! Give it a shot.
Last Call for Yard Work
Your yard should be in pretty good shape by this time of the season if you’ve kept up with serious clean-up tasks throughout the spring. Remember that early June is a perfect time to make your yard more beautiful and a good time to finish up any preventative care. That way you’re set to relax and chill for the rest of summer!
Have your trees trimmed … period. Summer storms and trees full of leaves with unstable branches can only bring disaster. No one wants a tree to crash though their home or hit their car. Call today to make that appointment if you haven’t done it for a couple of years. Better yet, have a tree service come out regularly to ensure your trees are healthy and not diseased.
Check on exterior drainage systems and consider improvements. Summer means big thunderstorms due to the heat. To prevent costly water damage to your home, now is the time to make sure all of your drainage systems are operating properly and that they move water away from your home. Consider getting downspout extenders for gutters, having your landscaping slope away from your home’s foundation, or installing storm drains in your yard or even a French drain system.
Remove leaves and debris from all area drains, gutters, and window wells. Again, preventative maintenance when it comes to water overflow damage. Prevent this from happening by doing a good final clean up around your home now.
Add a splash of color with some annuals that can withstand the summer heat. It’s time to switch out the pansies and put in some colorful but hardy plants in containers and beds. Work with your local garden center to see what works best for your yard, especially if you have direct sunlight.
Weed and clean up beds of early spring plantings. Early springtime annuals or perennials have stopped blooming. Now is the time to clear out those wilted leaves and dead plants to make room for late-blooming flowers.
Good time to prune some flowering shrubs. Azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons can be pruned now that they are done blooming.
Keep Watering. As the temperature rises throughout the summer, keep watering your lawn, plant beds, and containers. Don’t water in the middle of the day with the hot sun, but do it in the early evening when it starts to cool down.
Clean, power wash or stain/seal your deck and patio. It’s still a good time to get your deck and patio power washed or cleaned, especially now that the pollen season is over. Brighten them up and make them sparkle for your summer entertaining. It’s also a good time to protect them with new stain or sealant. And, don’t forget about having your home’s siding power washed or cleaned, depending on what the manufacture recommends.
Keep Mosquitos (and other Pests) at Bay
Last year with the Zika virus scare, many communities alerted everyone on how to deal with mosquitos. It’s still good to be vigilant this year too and make it a standard practice from here on out. And don’t forget about ticks and rats, some other summertime pests.
Keep mosquitos from breeding in your yard. Mosquitos love standing water – any amount! So do your part to cut down on places where they can breed. Double check for standing water in your yard and any outside containers – such as wheelbarrows, flowerpots, buckets, watering cans, garbage cans, kids’ toys. Even the little bit in your gutter drain can lead to breeding. Store items in your garage and shed as much as possible.
Be proactive about mosquitos – both larvae and adults. Take protective measures for mosquito control to prevent larvae from flourishing. Look into non-toxic solutions such as nonchemical larvicides (Mosquito Dunks for larvae; Mosquito Bits for adults); goldfish, koi, and mosquitofish that prey on these pests; and solutions to make the water “move” more. Put the Dunks or pellets in your gutter drains to prevent larvae. Don’t forget to buy some citronella candles for when dining outside!
Make sure your door and window screens don’t have holes. A simple task you can do today! Walk through your home and check all of your screens. No one wants a buzzing mosquito nearby while trying to sleep! You can patch a screen yourself if you like … check out DIY instructions on YouTube.
Use an oscillating fan to blow mosquitos away. It’s a perfect and easy solution for an outside gathering on your deck or patio. Plus, a standing fan is great way to cool things off on a hot night too.
Hire a pest control service to manage any summertime problems (rats). The summer means more spiders and, yes, rats. Hate to even mention it, but the DC metro area has them. Do your part and keep your garbage contained and clear out debris in your yard so you don’t have a tempting “home” for critters. A pest service can offer suggestions and solutions on how to deal with any problems, inside and outside of your home.
Avoid having long grass to prevent ticks. Mow your lawn regularly and remove leaves and debris, where ticks can thrive. Check yourself, your kids. and pets after being outside.
DIY Projects in the Sun
Take advantage of summer mornings or late afternoons for some outside projects that need ventilation. Fumes won’t bother you and items can dry in the sun. It’s a perfect time to strip, sand, or stain any flea market finds. You can even to spray paint something a fun, bright color without worrying about the mess (still put down newspapers or covering to protect your grass or patio).
Remember to enjoy your summer! Take care of your home and yard now so you’ll be worry-free in July and August. Please contact us for any recommendations for service providers. Here’s our handy PDF version of the Summer “Your Home’s To-Do List.”