Out with the old and in with the new is a time-honored tradition each year, and for good reason: a clean, safe, secure home is the best possible way to spend the summer! For a printable version of this list, click here.
Care for trees and shrubs.
Trim dead branches, fertilize if appropriate, and call an arborist if you see any signs of possible disease. Make sure healthy trees and bushes are trimmed to stay clear of utility wires. This is a great time to add some fresh color with new flowers and plants; there are lots of great options native to Florida that will handle the weather well and attract critical pollinators like butterflies and honeybees! Clean gutters and downspouts. During rainstorms, clogged gutters can cause water to pool and damage your roof or siding. Installing gutter guards will make the ongoing maintenance of your gutters much easier!
Inspect your roof and repair if needed.
If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them; if you have a flat roof with a rubber seal painted on, touch up any cracked or peeling areas. If you are not comfortable climbing ladders or walking on the roof, do the checks with binoculars on the ground or hire a licensed professional; we care about your safety first and foremost!
Even it out.
Repair any cracks or broken surfaces in walkways and driveways to ensure a safe, level walking area. No one likes a twisted ankle!
Tune up your yard equipment.
Lawn mowers, tractors, weed eaters, and other equipment may need maintenance like blade sharpening, new filters, and clean fluids to be ready for regular use; refer to your owners manuals for details. Keep oil and fuel for your lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.
Make sure your sprinkler system is ready before your lawn needs the water.
Check your irrigation system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, don’t hesistate to call a professional if you’re unable to find a solution for yourself.
Seal it up!
Changes in temperature and humidity combined with normal wear and tear can cause elements of the house to crack and shrink…don’t make your AC work harder than it needs to! Check your foundation and siding for cracks, and windows and doors inside and out for leaks and drafts. Caulk cracks and install weather stripping around windows and doors, including the garage door.
Keep critters out.
Fill small holes and cover any larger gaps securely with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep the wildlife outdoors. If you have an attic with gable vents, install a screen behind them; the insulation makes an ideal hiding spot for anything that gets in. If you have a chimney, make sure it has a cap to keep birds, raccoons, and other wildlife out. Ensure you don’t have any standing water outdoors that could potentially become a breeding ground for mosquitos.
Check safety devices.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries if needed. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed. Examine all electrical outlets and cords for potential fire hazards like loose-fitting plugs, frayed cords, or overloaded extension cords. Check your home for radon if you have not already done so (tests can be easily purchased at most home improvement stores, Wal-Mart, or online); if levels are 4 or above, hire a contractor licensed in radon mitigation.
The best time to stock up on nonperishable food, batteries, and other necessities is before a storm arrives and there’s a run on those items.
Clean dryer vents.
Lint buildup in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire. You can clean it yourself or hire a specialist.
Cooling system maintenance.
There’s plenty you can do yourself to ensure the air conditioning doesn’t fail at the worst possible time, including changing the filter, checking the hose connections for leaks and that the drain pans are draining freely, and vacuuming any dust that has settled on the unit and connections. If you are concerned about efficiency or performance problems, call in a professional for a check-up; the proactive approach could save you a bundle in steep same-day repair fees down the road.
Change the direction of your ceiling fan.
During warmer months, the ceiling fan should spin in a counter-clockwise direction, blowing air straight down.
Deep-clean the house.
Start the warm weather months with a clean and healthy home!
Dust or vacuum chair rails, window casings, tops of cabinets and ceiling fans.
Launder or dry-clean curtains/drapes and use a damp cloth to clean wood or vinyl blinds.
Vacuum upholstered furniture and mattresses; rent a carpet cleaner for a deeper clean if needed.
Wash kitchen cabinets, backsplashes, and walls to eliminate any greasy residue that may have accumulated
Vacuum refrigerator coils
Clean small appliances
Conduct an energy audit.
You can find instructions for a do-it-yourself energy audit at Energy.gov or hire a trained auditor. Recommended improvements may include upgrading to Energy Star appliances, adding insulation to the attic, or reinforcing window and door weatherstripping. You may also consider changing older bulbs in regularly used areas like the kitchen and living areas to fluorescent or LED to benefit from the cost savings thanks to their significantly lower energy use.