Summer maintenance tips
Summertime is the best time for building projects and renovations such as refinishing the deck, building a fence or painting outdoors. Mother Nature is on our side in terms of weather (for the most part), so we can really dig in and get our hands dirty to get that project checked off the list before fall.
But sometimes people forget about the simple home maintenance we should also be checking off our list.
1 . furnace filters
You should change filters every three months at a minimum, so, at the start of every season.
Everyone remembers to change the furnace filter in the winter, because when we think winter we think heating and furnace. But for some reason, we forget we use our furnaces over the summer, too.
Every time we use the A/C (central, non-window units) we’re using the furnace. That means many furnaces might be working in overdrive this summer, so change your filter! It’s a simple way to help keep the air in your home healthy and clean, and it also helps reduce allergy symptoms.
2 . Stop pests
Summertime is when most insects make their way indoors, looking for cooler spots. Go around your home’s exterior and look for potential entry points, such as window and door framing, venting, tears in screens, and cracks in the foundation, especially below windows and doorsteps.
I’ve seen swarms of bees and wasps find their way into homes through the tiniest cracks and openings. One house had a massive swarm of bees that made a home behind the kitchen cabinets, which were along an exterior wall. In another home, wasps found a tiny crack in the foundation below the front steps that led directly into the cold room.
Also, watch for insect wings. If you see a bunch of wings around the exterior of your home, there’s a good chance you have termites. (Termites have wings, and once they find a new home they drop them.)
Gaps around window and door frames, as well as any venting, should be sealed with rubberized exterior caulking. Cracks wider than a half-inch (1.3 centimetres) should be filled with expanding foam — there are special low-expansion foams that don’t put too much pressure on framing. Small foundation cracks can also be filled with an expandable foam or epoxy injection.
Torn window screens should be replaced, and refill any gaps in your mortar, or tuck-pointing.
3 . Be green to save green
In summer, we water our lawns, wash the deck, wash our cars, etc. Don’t use clean water you pay for. Instead, talk to a pro about installing a greywater reuse system that collects rainwater that comes off your roof. Not only is it environmentally friendly, it also helps protect your home. Rather than flowing down eavestroughs to the side of your home and possibly flooding your basement, the water can be used the next time you water your lawn or wash your car. It’s free, and you help the environment.
Think about switching to LEDs outside your home and using solar exterior lights.
Another trick to help you save is reversing ceiling fans. During winter, fans should turn clockwise, to help circulate warm air trapped along the ceiling. In summer, a fan in reverse creates a breeze.
4 . mould
That musty smell in your basement, crawl space or attic is mould. In fact, that smell is mould “digesting.” Take care of moisture issues by stopping leaks, using a dehumidifier, increasing air circulation, sealing the building envelope and possibly boosting your insulation.
You can clean small areas of surface mould with a product like Concrobium. Do not use bleach! If you have a big mould issue, call a pro.