Hot off The CPI Press:  Preparing Your Home for Summer in Maryland –

August 1, 2020

 

Spring and summer bring warmer temperatures to Maryland, making these seasons an excellent time to tackle some home maintenance needs. Both inside and outside your Maryland home, there are several items you should check off of your to-do list, so your home is ready for summer.

 

Here are a few easy tasks that provide a good starting point for these warm-weather DIY home maintenance projects.

 

1. Wash and Prep the Windows

 

Give yourself a better view of the outdoors by washing your windows, both inside and out. Clean windows let more natural light into your home and make it look cleaner overall. While washing your windows, be sure to open them and clean the dust and bugs that have made their way into the sill. Check the exterior windows to see if the trim needs fresh paint or if additional caulking around the window frames is necessary.  And remember to check the weatherstripping around windows as well as doors, ensuring all are in good repair to help manage your cooling bills.

 

2. Test the Alarms and Change Batteries

 

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that smoke detectors be tested monthly. It is a good idea to have a schedule for testing alarms, and we recommend that you choose an easy to remember date every month (i.e., the first day of each month).  To test your smoke and CO alarms, push the test button, and verify it is working correctly.

Changing the batteries at least twice a year is essential.  The USFA suggests that you change your batteries when you change your clocks to spring forward or fall back. 

 

3. Tackle the Landscaping

 

Does your lawn look a little worse for the winter wear? Does your flower bed need a little TLC? Spring and summer are ideal seasons to tackle the yard and improve your home's curb appeal. The longer summer days provide you with more daylight hours to weed, add mulch, plant new shrubs, and maintain your lawn. As an added perk, giving your yard some TLC adds value to your property should you decide to sell later on. Don't forget to prune the bushes and trees to keep them healthy.

 

4. Inspect and Clean Your Air Conditioner

 

Hot and humid months are ahead of you as summer moves on in Maryland. Make sure you are prepared for the summer heat with an air conditioner that's in good repair. Visually inspect the outdoor unit for signs of wear or damage. If you spot any problems, have a professional come and repair them. Clean and remove any vegetation that has grown up around the AC unit. The outdoor unit needs proper airflow to run efficiently and adequately cool your home.

 

We recommend you change your AC filter frequently.  As a general rule, you should change your filter at the beginning of each season and every three months while the temperatures are warm.  However,  we recommend changing your filter more frequently if you have pets or someone in your home has allergies, asthma, or other breathing disorders.

Hiring a professional for a pre-season maintenance call is a good idea.  Your HVAC professional can help keep your system clean and identify problems before they shut down your system or result in costly repairs.

 

5. Check Outdoor Hoses and Faucets

 

Check the hoses and the outdoor faucets around your home. Make sure they are properly working without leaks. The low temperatures in the Baltimore region during the winter months can cause hoses to become brittle, and this can make watering your lawn or turning on sprinklers for your children to enjoy a challenge.

 

To help prevent issues in the summer months, you should make proper hose and faucet maintenance a part of your winter checklist as well!

 

6.  Inspect Exterior of the Home

 

Inspect your home's exterior for loose or rotted siding.  Summer is an ideal time to powerwash the siding or brick to wash away dirt, bird droppings, tree sap, and other contaminants. 

 

If you find fading, cracking, or chipped exterior paint, be sure to paint and repair to help protect your home.

 

7.  Inspect The Foundation

 

Inspect the foundation of your home for cracks or leaks, which can create an entry point groundwater, radon, and insects. Repair cracks as needed and consider hiring a professional for a radon inspection to verify levels in your home.

 

8.  Clean Out Gutters and Downspouts

 

Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon, and as it accumulates in a clogged gutter, it can cause them to bend or tear away from the roof.  Additionally, clogged gutters or downspouts inhibit the flow of water away from the house and can cause leaks into the home resulting in ceiling or wall damage.   Properly cleaning your gutters each year can help protect your home from this damage and save thousands in repairs.

 

9. Switch the Ceiling Fans

 

Throughout the winter, ceiling fans need to run clockwise to circulate warmed air properly, preventing the warm air from getting trapped near the ceiling but without creating a breeze that could chill you. However, when the temperatures start to rise, you need to switch directions. If you haven't already done so, prepare your home for summer by changing the ceiling fans, so they run counterclockwise. This change will create a cooling breeze and keep the cooled air circulating.

 

Getting your Maryland home ready for summer doesn't have to be hard. With a little TLC to your outdoor areas and some work inside, you can have everything need to keep you comfortable as you enjoy the warmer temperatures this time of year.

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