How to Prepare Your Home For Summer
It’s the first day of summer, though here in the Bay Area, you wouldn’t know it – the weather is overcast and drizzly – but throughout most of the US, temperatures are really heating up. You’ve probably been ready for summer for months, but is your home ready for the heat? Here are some things to think about to prepare your home for the season.
If you’re flying the coop…
Whether you’re going on a short (or long) vacation or summering in a cooler climate (especially if you live in a super-hot metro like Phoenix or Las Vegas), don’t just pack up and leave. Scorching days can have quite an ill effect on your home if you don’t prepare before checking out.
· Empty your refrigerator of perishables and unplug it to save energy. Store any staples like flour or sugar in sealed containers in a cool, dry place like your garage.
· Unplug appliances if you’re going to be gone for more than a week or two. Put a little vegetable oil in your dishwasher’s seal so it doesn’t dry out and crack. Add a little to your garbage disposal, too, so it doesn’t lock up.
· If you’re expecting really hot weather, place cling wrap over your toilets to prevent water from evaporating. Shut off the main water valve before you leave.
· If you have furniture that might warp in the heat, place buckets of water around your house. The water will evaporate into the air and help keep the wood in good shape.
· Set your AC to come on at a high temperature of 90 or above. This way, you won’t waste money cooling an unoccupied house, but you’ll also protect your belongings from extreme heat.
· Arrange for landscaping and pool services if you need them. Set up your mail forwarding and stop your newspaper service. If you’re only gone for a little while, consider having a neighbor pick up your mail.
· Leave your contact info with your HOA or set up a vacation watch program to have someone check in on your home while you are away.
If you’re sticking around…
Even if this summer is one of staycations or weekend trips for you, there are still some things you can do to maintain your home for the summer, save money, and create an inviting atmosphere for chilling out.
· If you don’t have central AC, consider purchasing an AC unit or installing ceiling fans. Even in places like the Bay Area where we only have a few days in the 90s, an AC unit is totally worth it. Maximize its effect by installing it in a cool, dark room on the lower level of your home.
· If you have AC, check the filter and make sure your system is totally operable.
· Check to see if any of your windows need weather stripping to keep the hot air out. Consider replacing old windows with energy-efficient dual-pane windows for better insulation. Hang tightly woven window treatments on your windows and make sure your shades or blinds are all working well.
· Summer is a great time to clean and check on your condensing coils on your refrigerator. If you need a new fridge, consider an EnergyStar refrigerator (you may even get a rebate for upgrading!).
· Change out your bed linens for warmer weather bedding. Shake out and put away rugs.
· Plan meals that you can grill (get your propane and clean off your barbecue!) or that require very little cooking. If you need to cook, do it in the morning.
· Clean off your patio furniture, put up your hammock, and get your blender’s blades sharpened. It’s time to relax outdoors!
Enjoy your first day of summer!
Sarah Louise Green lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes about national real estate trends, home financing, advice for buyers, and DIY projects for the home and garden. Follow Sarah on Twitter:@slouisegreen