Summer’s coming whether we’re ready or not and in less than two short months the sun will be searing and the afternoon rains frequent – is your home ready? There are a few simple steps every homeowner should take to ensure their house is prepared to face the elements, whether they live in the Northwest or the Southeast. Mother Nature doesn’t play favorites and she certainly doesn’t pull any punches so now’s the time to get your house summer-ready…
Assess Your Rain Systems:
People often focus on summer’s blistering heat and forget about the other natural phenomenon that springs up this time of year, particularly in the Southeastern United States: sudden downpours. Summers in Georgia, for example, are characterized by periods of severe drought followed often by inches of rain in a single afternoon. But before these sudden storms hit, give your home a complete gutter and drainage audit to make sure you’re set up to handle a deluge. Properly installed gutters should slope at least 1” for every 40’ of run and you should aim to have them cleaned at least twice a year (maybe more, don’t be lazy!) to check for blockages and rust. Make sure flood-risks around your home like drainage ditches and leaky basements are also ready for the rain so you won’t wake up to surprises after a siesta. Above ground pools are great for summer…unless they didn’t exist before the storm.
Get an Energy Boost:
AC bills, especially in climates that hover in the 80s or 90s during the summer, can break the bank so give your house an energy once-over before your unit gets cranking. Change your filters and your system’s Freon supply and even consider hiring an energy auditor to come to your home to test for leaks around window and doors – if you have any, this time of year is best to install replacements. In addition to making sure the outside of your home is fortified, assess your appliances to ensure they’re not sucking you energy-dry as well. Refrigerators, washer/dryers and even pool pumps can really put a dent in your monthly energy costs so if you’re considering upgrading, think about an energy efficient model. Not only will you be helping the environment at the rate gas prices are rising, you may have enough left over to buy a tank (okay, half a tank…who are we kidding.)
Prepare for the Heat Wave
Summer’s biggest home threat is, of course, the heat. Searing temperatures in places like Texas far exceed the 100° mark and your home may not be any more ready to withstand hours in these temps than your dog. Excessive heat will ravage many facets of your house including wooden decks, exterior siding and even clay roof tiles. Make sure all exposed wood has been properly sealed and replace any cracked or broken siding as well as roof tiles now – the last thing you or your contractor want is to be suffering through home improvements in the sweltering sun. A slower yet more permanent solution is to plant trees around the edges of your property and home that will provide shade for years to come, vastly reducing the direct sunlight that hits your home. Remember: sunlight is the enemy… unless you’re George Hamilton.
Summer is a great time to be outdoors and soak up the weather, that is, when it’s tolerable. With kids at home and vacations on the books it’s easy to forget about preventative home maintenance but you may regret not taking some steps now that save yourself weeks of hassle later. June, July and August can be brutal (as any lifeguard knows) but don’t let weather worry get you down! Get out there and enjoy the heat – just make sure those gutters are clean first…
Heather Hendrick is a freelance writer.