It’s summertime and the weather is warm and the sun is out! Take some time this month between backyard barbecues and summer vacations to complete some of these July home maintenance tips. This months list includes a mix of indoor and outdoor items focused around safety and enjoying the summer.
Update your Home First Aid Kit
We all spend more time outside and being adventurous with the warmer weather. This can often lead to more accidents as well. Be prepared by making sure your first aid kit is updated and ready to go. You might even consider having a small additional kit for outside or to keep in the car for outings and weekend get aways.
Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Fire Extinguishers
If you are following our home maintenance lists, then it has been six months since the last check of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure to use the test button on each device and change batteries as needed. You might also want to consider replacing older smoke detectors with the newer 10-Year Worry Free Sealed Battery Smoke Detectors. These newer detectors take away low battery worries and chirps. It is also worth considering interconnected smoke detectors which all go off if one alarm is activated. These are the safest because it is most likely that everyone in the house will hear them.
It is also a good time to check your fire extinguishers and make sure they aren’t expired.
Check Outdoor Lighting
Start with cleaning your porch lights on the front and back of your home. Some fixtures are easily removed and can be brought inside to clean with warm water and gentle soap. For those that must stay in place, turn the power off and carefully wipe the exteriors with a damp microfiber cloth and dry with a soft cloth. When your finished cleaning, double check and make sure that all of the lightbulbs are working as well.
Think about changing out bulbs in some of your outdoor lights to smart bulbs. This allows you to automate a schedule for your lights and keep the exterior of your home lit up even when you aren’t home. We find in our home that lights that are on a schedule add ambiance and become something we can enjoy even when we weren’t thinking about it.
Clean and check windows
Take time to thoroughly check your windows. Remember that poorly insulated or installed windows can take extra energy in your home. First check for any gaps between the windows and casings. You will also want to inspect the screens on windows and doors for any holes to prevent pests, especially mosquitoes, from entering the home. You can use a screen patching kit to repair any damage.
Next work on giving the windows a good cleaning to keep that summer sunshine streaming in. Use a glass cleaner or a vinegar solution, then squeegee them dry or wipe with a clean microfiber cloth. Consider using a window washing hose attachment or telescoping window washer to reach outdoor windows without a ladder.
Before moving onto the next window make sure that the window locks are all in working condition. Make sure to tighten or replace any loose locks. Be sure to pay attention to access points on the ground level of your home. This leads us into our next item on the list.
Home Safety Check
Our summertime thoughts are often filled with BBQ’s, picnics and vacations. But do not overlook your homes safety while you are away. Did you know that burglary rates are higher in the summer compared to any other time of year according to the US Department of Justice. It might be a good time to consider a new security system. Today there are tons of options for home security. Consider the different options and costs to see which best fits your needs.
It is a good time to make sure that all the locks on your doors are in working condition. You might even want to consider replacing older deadbolts with smart locks that can be controlled remotely.
Lastly, take inventory of your home’s safe. Make sure all valuables are in the safe including documents, jewelry, and firearms.
Change Air Filters
The spring months are tough on the air in our homes. Extra pollen comes in through open windows and doors. Spring cleaning can add extra dust to the air. This pollen and dust can get trapped in your HVAC filters. Take time to make sure you change out the old filters and improve the air quality in your home.
Inspect Water Heater
Take time to check your water heater this month to see if it needs any repairs. It is recommended that you drain your water heater once a year to clear out built-up sediment and minerals. Flushing your water heater improves the efficiency and life span of the unit. You should also check the lines, fittings, and valves for any leaks.
To drain the water heater:
First turn off the electricity or gas to the unit. Close the cold-water supply valve. Next affix a hose to the drain valve and snake outside. Open the drain valve first, then the pressure relief valve. This will allow the water to start to drain from the tank. Once the tank is empty, you will want to open the cold-water valve again and let the water run clear from the hose. Then close the drain and pressure relief valves, allow the tank to refill, and detach the hose. The final step is to turn the water heater back on.
Check outdoor sitting areas
Keep the good times going outside by doing a quick clean up in outdoor sitting areas. Take a moment to wash outdoor cushions and furniture with a mixture of warm water and dish detergent. Use a broom, leaf blower, or wet-dry vacuum to remove debris from outdoor areas to help keep it free of pests. Open up the patio umbrella and use a vacuum or broom to remove cobwebs. You can also use warm soapy water to wash the umbrella, then leave open to dry.
Consider adding some shade to your entertaining area to increase comfort and usability. You can do this by adding additional umbrellas, shade sails, using plants or canvas shades. When you have ample shady spots to sit in, you will likely find yourself spending more time outdoors during the hot months of summertime. Creating a ceiling in your outdoor spaces also adds an extra level of intimacy or privacy.
Keeping up with home maintenance regularly, adds to the value of your home and makes preparing for selling your home easier. Whether you are looking to sell in the next few months or living in your home forever, make sure to show your home some love and care.
Do you have more questions about any of these July Home Maintenance Tips or how they affect the value of your home? Give the Emmily Longenecker Team a call at 717-450-7090, we are always available to answer your questions.