The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising and there is no doubt that it is officially summertime. Just like you change your wardrobe when summer rolls around, there are some things you should be doing around your house with the changing of the season. Here are seven home maintenance tips that you may have overlooked that can help keep your house clean, cool and cost-efficient this year.
1) Change out the filter on your air conditioner. This is very simple to forget, because your AC may still be working well even if you don’t change the filter. Despite that, replacing filters can lower your energy consumption by up to 20% and can help those dealing with allergies. Manufacturers suggest changing out the filter every three to six months, with it increasing to every two months if you have pets or allergies. This applies to full AC systems as well as window units. To learn more about how to find and replace your filter, visit here.
2) Get your ceiling fan ready for use. First things first, dust your fan blades frequently. This only takes a few moments and can help tremendously with air quality, especially for those with allergies. Next, check that your fan is balanced properly by looking for any loose screws on the fan itself, the down rod and the electrical box. If everything is screwed in tightly and your fan still wobbles, purchase a balancing kit at your local home improvement store. Finally, make sure your blades are spinning counterclockwise and pushing the air down. If they are not, find the switch on the fan (while the fan is completely stopped) and flip it. Cool air, coming right up!
3) Wash or change out your window screens. A common trend with these tips so far is helping those with allergies. A dirty screen can be full of allergens just waiting to enter your home with each gust of wind. With a brush and hot, soapy water, gently wash your screen until you’ve removed the buildup. If your screen is past saving, replacements are typically available for under $30.
4) Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is something you should be doing monthly, but the changing of the season is always a helpful reminder to give it a test. Press and hold the test button on your detector until you heard a loud siren (or two beeps for a carbon monoxide detector). If no sound is emitted or the sound is weak, it’s time to change the battery. Typically, 9-volt battery-powered devices need a battery change every year. Lithium-powered devices need a change every ten years, which corresponds with the lifespan of the device itself, so changing the whole device is recommended (it’s closer to seven years for a carbon monoxide detector). If you device is hardwired, it is recommended you still replace the backup battery annually and replace the device entirely every 10 years. To learn more about the benefits of a hardwired, monitored fire system, visit here.
5) Clean your vents and ducts. This one may require the help of a service professional, but it is possible to do it yourself. Whether it’s the vent of your bathroom fans or the drying machine, debris such as dust and lint can easily build up. This can reduce the efficiency of the devices and, more dangerously, cause fires.
6) Check for leaks. Before you bust out the sprinkle, quickly check your hose and faucets for leaks. While a small leak may not seem like a big deal, it can be a tremendous waste of water over the course of the summer. Leaks in a hose can be patched with a variety of tapes and kits available at any home improvement store. A leaky faucet may be repaired as simply as adding a rubber washer, or could require an entire faucet replacement.
7) Clean your gutters. Between the falling leaves of autumn, and the heavy precipitation of winter and spring, your gutters are working hard most of the year. Summer is the perfect time to inspect them, give them a proper cleaning and prepare them for the more taxing months to come.