As the warm weather approaches, it’s time to start thinking about summer home maintenance. Keeping up with regular maintenance tasks can be a great way to protect your investment, add value to your home, and even save money in the long run. With a little planning and some savvy strategies, you can keep your home in tip-top shape while also protecting your hard-earned savings. We’ll cover everything from indoor and outdoor maintenance, to budgeting and financing for unexpected home repairs. Let’s dive in!
Ceiling fans play a crucial role in circulating cool air throughout your home during the hot summer months. Over time, fans can accumulate dust on the blades and motor, which could cause excessive wear, lead to decreased efficiency and possible damage. To keep your fans in good working order, it’s a good idea to clean and inspect them at the beginning of the season.
Start by dusting off the blades and motor housing to ensure fresh air circulation. Then, inspect for any bent or loose blades, excessive wobbling, or a damaged motor. This is also a great time to make sure the fan is rotating the correct direction. In the warmer months, switch the fan rotation to counterclockwise, which pushes cool air towards the floor and can make a room up to 8 degrees cooler. Then, in the Fall, switch the fan to turn clockwise to bring warm air up from the registers and circulate it through the room. These simple maintenance tasks can save money on additional heating and air conditioning costs and keep your home comfortable all year long.
Change HVAC system filters
While it’s often overlooked, the filter is an essential component of your HVAC system. It’s responsible for trapping dust, allergens, and other particles to maintain clean and healthy air flow. When the filter is dirty, the air through your system is restricted and it causes the motor to work harder and run more often. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to change the filter at the beginning of the summer season to ensure optimal performance.
Keep in mind that the frequency at which you should change the filter depends on factors such as filter type, household size, pets, and allergies. Regularly changing the filter can help increase the lifespan of your unit, save money on energy bills, and prevent costly repairs down the line.
Inspect windows and doors for air leaks
Energy efficiency is key for homeowners looking to save money and minimize their environmental impact. One major contributor to energy loss is air leaks around windows and doors. To prevent cool air from escaping and keep your energy bill in check, it’s important to inspect and reseal windows and doors as needed.
Begin by checking for drafts or visible gaps around the frames. If you find any issues, consider using weatherstripping or caulking to seal the leaks. In some cases, you may need to repair or replace damaged windows or doors. While this may be an modest upfront expense, the long-term savings on energy bills adds up quickly.
Clean vents and air ducts
Over time, your registers and air ducts can become clogged with dust and debris, leading to reduced air circulation and potential damage. It’s a good idea to clean and inspect these systems before the summer heat sets in, as your HVAC unit will likely be working harder during this time.
By keeping your vents and air ducts clean, you can improve efficiency, prevent damage, and even extend the lifespan of your system.
Test smoke detectors
While smoke detectors are crucial for home safety year-round, the risk of home systems overheating may increase during the summer months. Use this time to inspect your smoke detectors and replace batteries as needed. If a detector is more than 10 years old, consider replacing the entire unit. This simple task can help protect your home and loved ones from potential fire hazards.
Service your air conditioner
A well-functioning air conditioner is essential for maintaining a comfortable home during the sweltering summer months. To avoid the inconvenience and expense of a broken A/C, it’s wise to schedule a professional inspection and maintenance service before the season begins.
A technician can check for potential issues, clean the condenser unit, and perform any necessary repairs to ensure your system is running efficiently. Regular A/C maintenance can save money on energy bills and extend the life of your unit.
Inspect and clean home siding
The exterior of your home is exposed to various elements throughout the year, such as pollen, bird droppings, and storm damage. Regularly inspecting and cleaning your siding can help maintain your home’s curb appeal and prevent more serious issues down the line.
Look for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, mold, or peeling paint. If necessary, repair or replace damaged siding to protect your home from the elements and maintain its value.
Check fencing and exterior doors
Fencing and exterior doors are often subjected to harsh weather conditions and can deteriorate over time. Regular inspections and repairs can help prolong the life of these features and prevent more costly replacements.
Inspect your fencing for damage or wear, and address any issues with spot repairs or repainting. Similarly, check exterior doors for signs of wear, difficulty opening or closing, or compromised security. If needed, repair or replace the door to ensure your home is protected.
Clean gutters and check roof
Storms can cause leaves, debris, and even damage to your gutter system and roof. Regularly cleaning your gutters and inspecting your roof can help prevent water damage and other issues.
Remove any debris from your gutters, and check for signs of damage, such as sagging, rust, or holes. If necessary, contact a professional to repair or replace your gutter system. Additionally, inspect your roof for loose or damaged shingles, and address any issues as soon as possible to prevent leaks and further damage. If you’ve experienced damage from lightning, hail, or excessive wind, contact your insurance provider and schedule an inspection. If you’re covered, paying the deductible on a claim may be far less costly than replacing a roof completely out of pocket.
Pressure wash exterior surfaces
Pressure washing your home’s exterior surfaces, such as driveways, decks, sidewalks, and siding, can significantly improve curb appeal and help protect your investments. By removing dirt, grime, and mildew, pressure washing can also prevent damage and extend the life of these surfaces.
While you can rent a pressure washer and tackle this task yourself, it’s important to use caution and research the appropriate pressure settings for different materials. For example, your concrete patio can likely handle more pressure than your vinyl siding. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the process, consider hiring a professional to complete the job.
Budgeting and financing home repairs and improvements
Proper home maintenance can help reduce the frequency of unexpected home repairs, but at some point, you’re likely to experience a costly repair that can put a strain on your personal finances. To avoid financial stress and protect your savings account, it’s essential to plan ahead and create a budget for home maintenance and improvements.
Establish a home maintenance fund
A good starting point for budgeting for home repairs and improvements is to establish a dedicated home maintenance fund. This can be a separate savings account, where you regularly set aside money to cover both routine maintenance tasks and unexpected expenses.
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to save at least 1% of your home’s purchase price each year for maintenance and repairs. However, this amount may vary depending on factors such as the age and condition of your home, as well as local real estate and labor costs.
Prioritize and plan for larger projects
When it comes to home improvements, it’s important to prioritize projects based on necessity and potential return on investment. Focus on projects that can improve your home’s energy efficiency, safety, and overall value.
By planning and budgeting for larger projects in advance, you can avoid relying completely on lines of credit to complete them. However, if the projects exceed your savings there are lending options to cover the difference. Depending on how much of a funding gap you’ll need to cover and how long it may take you to repay it, you may want to look for a credit card with a 0% introductory APR or even a fixed-rate personal loan. By focusing on improving your homes energy efficiency, value, and safety, you’re effectively getting the most out of your investments.