Warmer weather and longer days make summer ideal for checking items off your home maintenance to-do list. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Touch Up Exterior Paint
Touching up the paint on your home’s exterior is a great first summer project. The Milwaukee weather can do a number on the exterior of your home, including siding, trim, and gutters. Grab a ladder, paint, and paintbrush and touch up paint where needed.
Look for gaps and openings on exteriors surfaces of any type to avoid water penetration and wear issues. Window ledges and sills, wood or metal trim, anywhere a little snow can sit, melt and refreeze, opens a little gap for water to enter. Touching up or repainting these areas in summer can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Plus, nowadays if you aren’t sure of the exact color of your home, you can ask any experienced paint professional to match it for you. Technology makes it easy to match colors these days.
- Wash Exterior Windows
Nobody likes dirty windows to look out of. Start enjoying your view, and let the outdoors in.
This project requires a little elbow grease, particularly if you haven’t washed your exterior windows in a year or more. Skip the Windex and grab a sponge (or a strip applicator for picture windows) and a bucket of warm water with a squirt of soap, the less foamy the better.
After scrubbing, use a squeegee in an “S” pattern beginning at the upper corner of the window. Wipe the squeegee clean with a dry cloth after each pass.
- Clean Window Screens
Regular, light maintenance or an occasional deep clean on your window screens will keep them in good shape.
For regular maintenance (weekly or bi-weekly), wipe screens with a cloth or duster or run a vacuum cleaner with the soft brush attachment and a light touch.
For a deep clean, take all screens off of the house and clean them at once, outdoors. You could also clean them in the garage, basement, or bathtub – anywhere with a drain. Use a hose, a little soapy solution, and a sponge to clean the screen. Remember to be gentle on the mesh.
- Clean the Exterior of your Home
Grime, moss, and bacteria on your home’s exterior not only contribute to diminished curb appeal, but can cause damage that costs a lot of money to fix. So keeping your home’s exterior clean is worth the effort.
Be sure to research proper techniques for cleaning the specific materials that make up your home. For most types of siding, you can use a hose and a long-handled sponge to scrub with soapy water.
Pressure washing is another great option, but requires a large, heavy duty washer. It also requires a bit of skill. If it’s not done properly, pressure washing may damage your home.
- Reverse Ceiling Fan Direction
When your ceiling fan runs counter-clockwise, it forces air straight downward, creating a breeze. In the summer, this will keep your home cool and increase the effectiveness of air conditioning.
On most ceiling fans, the direction switch is located on the body of the fan, above the blades. Wait for the blades to come to a complete stop before attempting to access this switch. Use a step-stool or small ladder to reach. Flip the switch, then turn the fan back on.
- Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter
An air conditioner filter should be cleaned every two weeks to ensure proper functioning, particularly if you run it often. While some newer models have a self-cleaning function, most a/c filters can be cleaned by washing with warm water or with a vacuum cleaner.
- Check Your Furnace
Just like your air conditioner, your furnace has a filter that needs to be cleaned. Turn off the power before locating the furnace behind the service panel or door. If necessary, unscrew the panel and remove the filter to be washed (if reusable) or replaced (if cardboard).
When replacing an air filter, make sure the air-direction indicator is facing the correct way – in the direction of the furnace.
Get a professional furnace inspection and tuning every year or every other year to ensure the proper functioning, safety, and longevity of your furnace.
- Maintain Your Washing Machine
Check inside the body of the machine for soil or residue build-up and clean using a sponge and a mixture of ¾ cups bleach with a gallon of warm water.
Next, clean out your fabric softener dispenser using a damp cloth and hot water. And to polish the outside of your washing machine, use vinegar and water, or an all-purpose cleaner like Fantastik.
- Clean Your Driveway, Patio, and Walkways
The best method for cleaning large, hard outdoor surfaces like driveways, decks, and patios is by using a pressure washer. Before you begin, be sure to inspect all surfaces for weeds or cracks.
For most concrete and brick surfaces, a pressure washer with about 3gpm and 3,000 psi works well.
Use a wide tip for the washer to ensure the surfaces do not degrade during washing. The last thing you want to do is crank up a strong pressure washer using the straight tip spray, and then all of a sudden you cut marks into your beautiful patio or deck…
- Make your Baseboards Shine
This is a tedious, often-ignored task that, nevertheless, contributes greatly to the overall look and feel of your home. Use a damp cloth to wipe down all baseboards in your home. Be sure to protect your knees by kneeling on a folded towel. And then throw on some music or a podcast to make this boring task more tolerable J.
- Clean Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal
Once every month or two, flush your garbage disposal with hot water and dish soap, or use a store-bought cleaner. This will give it a nice rinse. And if you ever eat lemons, or use them for a drink, toss the used lemons into your disposal. When you run the disposal, your kitchen will smell like wonderful… unless you’re some weirdo that doesn’t like lemons ;)
To ensure a clean dishwasher, pour 2 cups of vinegar into the bottom of the machine and run on low. Also, be sure to grab some rags or paper toweling and give then bottom inside of your dishwasher a good scrub to get rid of any extra food or dirt.
- Inspect Hoses
At least once per year, inspect all household hoses for leaks or other damage, including dish and clothing washers, dryers, dehumidifiers, refrigerators, and toilets. All hoses should be replaced every 3-5 years.
- Get a Home Inspection
Ok, so this doesn’t need to be done each summer, but it’s always a good idea to make sure your home is in good shape. Letting problems go, or not noticing problems with your home can turn into huge expenses later on.
So if it’s been a few years since you’ve had a home inspector look over your home, consider spending a few hundred dollars to have your home checked over by a professional home inspector. They’ll notify you of potential red flags or problem areas that you should consider addressing.
And if you’re considering selling your home, a pre-listing home inspection will give you plenty of time to address any issues that may arise when you go to sell.
Live in the Milwaukee area? Book your home inspection today!