Summer Home Maintenance: Your Ultimate Property To-Do List

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Stay on top of these to-dos to keep your property in top shape this season

Summer home maintenance season is upon us! As the seasons change, so do the needs of properties. Whether you’re a homeowner, a landlord managing rental properties, or a real estate investor flipping homes, seasonal home maintenance is crucial. It not only ensures the functionality and comfort of the properties but also helps in preventing costly repairs and maintaining property value. Summer, with its warm weather and longer days, offers the perfect opportunity to address various maintenance tasks.

Regular maintenance is key to identifying potential issues early, which can save significant amounts of money in repairs. For landlords and real estate investors, maintaining properties efficiently extends the lifespan of the property’s components, ensures tenant satisfaction, and enhances rental and resale value. Moreover, well-maintained properties often lead to reduced turnover and vacancies, which are critical for investment returns.

Indoor Summer Home Maintenance

During the summer, the interior of a property requires particular attention to ensure it remains a comfortable haven against the heat. This is also the time to ensure that all systems are functional and efficient to avoid emergency maintenance calls and ensure tenant comfort and safety.

For homeowners, a well-maintained indoor environment enhances the enjoyment of their living space. For landlords and property investors, it’s about ensuring tenant satisfaction and preserving the value of the property.

1. Air Conditioning Units

Properly functioning air conditioning systems are essential in maintaining a comfortable indoor environment during the hot months. Regular checks and maintenance of these systems can prevent breakdowns and reduce energy consumption, which is particularly important in rental properties where HVAC issues can lead to tenant complaints and potential vacancies.

Check and service the units: Ensure they are running efficiently by cleaning or replacing filters, checking for leaks, and considering professional servicing to avoid breakdowns during peak usage. Regular servicing can also extend the life of the unit, ensuring it remains a reliable source of cooling for years to come.

  • Filters: Replace or clean filters every 1-3 months. Dirty filters restrict airflow, reducing efficiency.
  • Coils: Clean the evaporator and condenser coils annually. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home.
  • Fins: Bent fins can block airflow — straighten your coil fins using a fin tool.

Check for energy efficiencies: Regular maintenance can help in reducing energy bills, which is beneficial for both homeowners and tenants. An efficient AC unit consumes less power, which translates to lower electricity costs and a smaller carbon footprint.

  • Look at your thermostat settings: Set your thermostat to a higher temperature when you are not at home. Consider using a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule.
  • Seal and insulate: Check and seal any leaks around doors and windows to keep cool air inside and hot air outside. Proper insulation can significantly improve your AC unit’s efficiency.
  • Shade your AC unit: Ensure the outdoor unit is shaded but not obstructed. This helps the unit operate more efficiently by reducing the heat it has to overcome.

2. Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a cost-effective way to enhance the cooling effect of air conditioning units. By properly maintaining and using ceiling fans you can better circulate cool air, allowing you to set the thermostat at a higher temperature. This can significantly improve the comfort level of your home or rental property while helping save on energy costs.

Adjust your fan rotation: Set ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down, which can help in cooling rooms more effectively. This simple adjustment can make a significant difference in how cool a room feels, allowing for higher thermostat settings and energy savings.

  • How to change the direction: Most ceiling fans have a switch on the motor housing to change the direction of the blades. Ensure the fan is off before making the direction adjustment.

Clean the fan blades: Dust and clean the blades regularly to ensure optimal performance and air quality. Dusty fan blades can circulate allergens and reduce the fan’s efficiency, so keeping them clean is essential for both comfort and health.

  • How to clean: Use a damp cloth to wipe down the blades. For stubborn grime, use a mild detergent and water solution. Make sure the fan is off and blades are stationary before cleaning.

3. Plumbing

Leaks can cause significant damage if not detected early. Regularly checking for leaks can prevent costly repairs and maintain the integrity of the property. This is particularly important in rental properties where tenants might not always report minor issues until they become major problems.

Check for leaks: Check areas susceptible to water damage such as under sinks, around toilets, and showers. Leaks in these areas can lead to mold growth and structural damage, which are costly to repair and hazardous to health — which can be particularly problematic in rental properties.

  • What to look for: Use a flashlight to inspect hard-to-see areas and keep an eye out for any water stains, drips, and puddles that could indicate a problem.

Maintain good water pressure: High water pressure can cause damage to pipes and fixtures, leading to leaks and burst pipes. It can also reduce the lifespan of appliances like water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines. Low water pressure can also be a sign of issues such as clogs or leaks, and any issues should be addressed quickly to maintain the efficiency and safety of the plumbing system.

  • Checking for pressure: Use a water pressure gauge to measure the pressure — it should typically be between 40-60 psi (pounds per square inch). If the pressure is too high, consider installing a pressure regulator to protect your plumbing system. If you discover anything out of the ordinary, contact your favorite plumber right away.

4. Vents and Ductwork

Clean vents and exhausts ensure optimal air quality and flow, which is crucial for tenant health and safety. Regularly cleaning these systems can prevent the buildup of dust and debris, which can impact the efficiency of ventilation and air circulation in the property.

Check your vents: Regularly clean vents and exhausts in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas. This prevents blockages that can lead to reduced efficiency and potential fire hazards.

  • How to clean: Use a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean vents. For deeper cleaning, remove vent covers and wash them with soap and water.

Inspect and clean air ducts: This can help in preventing respiratory issues and maintaining a healthy living environment for tenants and homeowners alike. Clean air ducts and vents contribute to better indoor air quality, making the home more comfortable and healthier.

  • Dealing with leaks: Leaky ducts can lead to a loss of cooled air and increased energy use. Seal off any leaks with duct tape or mastic sealant or call your local HVAC technician for help.
  • When to call the pros: Consider professional air duct cleaning every 3-5 years, especially if there are visible mold growths or if you notice a musty smell.

5. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential for safety, providing early warnings of potential hazards. These devices can save lives by alerting occupants to smoke, fire, or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, giving them time to evacuate or address the issue.

Test your units: Ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Regular testing can help make sure you get an early warning about any issues in your home.

  • How to test: Press the test button on the detector. If it does not sound, replace the batteries or the unit if necessary.

Get on a replacement schedule: Don’t wait until your alarm starts chirping at you at 3 AM to change out the batteries or consider a new unit. Working detectors can save lives.

  • Battery replacement: Replace batteries at least once a year. A good rule of thumb is to replace them during daylight savings time changes or pick a certain time of year and create a repeating calendar reminder.
  • Unit replacement: Smoke detectors should be replaced at least every 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors every 5 to 7 years.

6. Pest Control

Pest infestations can cause significant damage and pose health risks. Regular inspections and preventative measures can help keep pests at bay, ensuring the property remains safe and comfortable for occupants.

Inspect for infestations: Check for signs of pests such as rodents, ants, and termites. Early detection can prevent infestations from spreading.

  • What to look for: Droppings, chew marks, and nests can all be a sign of unwanted visitors. Use a flashlight to inspect dark and hidden areas, such as under sinks, in basements, attics, and behind appliances.

Take preventative measures: Seal any entry points that may be allowing pests in and consider professional pest control services to address any big pest issues.

  • How to keep pests out: Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and foundations. Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair any damaged screens.
  • Check your food storage: Pests are tempted by what’s in your pantry as a food source, but you can help prevent them by using airtight containers to store grains, pet food, or other dry goods.

Outdoor Summer Home Maintenance

The exterior of a property is just as important as the interior, especially during the summer when outdoor spaces are used more frequently. Maintaining the property’s exterior can greatly enhance curb appeal and property value.

For homeowners, a well-maintained exterior makes the home more inviting and enjoyable. For landlords and property investors, it’s about attracting and retaining tenants and maximizing the property’s market value.

1. Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and downspouts play a critical role in protecting the property from water damage. Regular maintenance of these components ensures that rainwater is effectively channeled away from the building, preventing potential issues such as roof leaks, foundation problems, and landscape erosion.

Clean out debris: Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris to prevent water buildup and potential damage to the roofing and foundation. Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow, leading to roof damage, basement flooding, and foundation issues.

  • How to clean: Use a ladder to reach the gutters and remove debris by hand or with a gutter scoop. Flush the gutters with a garden hose to ensure proper water flow.

Inspect for Damage: Regularly check for signs of wear and tear and repair any issues promptly. Ensuring that gutters and downspouts are in good condition helps direct water away from the property, preventing erosion and structural damage.

  • What to look for: Sagging gutters, loose or missing fasteners, and rust or corrosion can all be signs of a problem. Repair or replace damaged sections as needed.

2. Roof

The roof is one of the most vital components of a property, protecting it from the elements. Regular roof inspections and maintenance can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems, ensuring the longevity and integrity of the roof.

Check for damage: Inspect for and repair any damaged, loose, or missing shingles to prevent leaks and water damage. A well-maintained roof prevents water from seeping into the home, which can cause extensive damage and mold growth.

  • What to look for: Use binoculars to inspect the roof from the ground. Look for cracked, curled, or missing shingles. Check for moss, algae, and debris buildup.

Get an inspection: Consider hiring a professional to conduct a thorough roof inspection, especially if the property has experienced severe weather. Professionals can identify issues that might be missed during a DIY inspection, ensuring the roof remains in top condition.

  • When to call the pros: Schedule a roof inspection at least once a year and review necessary repairs or maintenance with your local roofing company.

3. Yard and Landscaping

A great yard and landscaping enhance a property’s curb appeal and can attract potential buyers or tenants. Proper landscaping not only makes the property more attractive, but also contributes to a healthier and more sustainable environment.

Take care of your lawn: Keep the grass trimmed and healthy. A well-kept lawn makes the property look cared for and can increase its attractiveness to potential tenants and buyers.

  • Mowing tips: Mow regularly to maintain a height of 2-3 inches. Avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass blade length at a time.

Trim your landscaping: Ensure trees and shrubs are not overgrown and are well-maintained. Overgrown plants can obscure windows and paths, create safety hazards, and give the property a neglected appearance.

  • Trimming tips: Use sharp pruning tools to trim bushes and trees. Remove dead or diseased branches and shape plants for better growth and appearance.

Get rid of the weeds: Regularly weed gardens and flower beds to keep them looking tidy. Weeds can choke out desirable plants and make gardens look untidy, detracting from the overall appearance of the property.

  • Weeding tips: Remove weeds by hand or use a weed control product. Mulch garden beds can help suppress weed growth and retain soil moisture.

4. Sprinkler Systems

A well-maintained sprinkler system is essential for keeping your landscaping healthy and vibrant during the summer months. Regular maintenance of your sprinkler system can prevent water waste, reduce utility bills, and keep your foundation healthy.

Check the operation: Inspect each sprinkler head for clogs or damage. Clogged heads can disrupt the spray pattern, leading to uneven water distribution. Clean or replace heads as needed to ensure optimal performance.

  • How to clean: Remove the sprinkler head and rinse it under running water. Use a small brush to clean out any debris. For more stubborn clogs, soak the head in a vinegar solution to dissolve mineral deposits.
  • Check water distribution: Turn on the system and observe the water coverage as your sprinklers run. Adjust heads to ensure even coverage and avoid watering sidewalks or driveways.

Inspect for leaks: Look for signs of leaks or broken sprinkler heads and repair them promptly. Leaks can waste water and cause damage to the property.

  • Check the water meter: Look at usage on your meter before and after a set period of no water usage. If the meter changes, there may be a leak. Additionally, look for areas of your lawn that are unusually wet or have standing water.
  • Handle repairs: Tighten any loose connections and replace damaged pipes or fittings. Use waterproof sealant on minor leaks. For more extensive repairs, consider hiring a professional.

Adjust timing: Set the sprinkler system to water during early morning or late evening to reduce water evaporation and ensure efficient watering. This helps conserve water and keeps your landscape healthy.

  • Stick to a watering schedule: Typically, lawns need 1-1.5 inches of water per week. Watering in the morning and in the evening after sundown can help reduce water evaporation, but you should adjust the schedule based on weather conditions and soil type. Be sure to follow any regulations or ordinances in your city that dictate when and how much you can water.

5. Patios and Decks

Patios and decks are popular summer gathering spots that require regular maintenance to remain safe and inviting. Regular upkeep ensures that these outdoor spaces are enjoyable and safe for use.

Do cleaning regularly: Sweep and wash surfaces to remove dirt and grime. Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of mold and mildew, which can make surfaces slippery and hazardous.

  • Cleaning tip: For stubborn stains, use a pressure washer on a low setting along with a mix of water and mild detergent.

Make necessary repairs: Fix any loose boards, nails, or other structural issues to ensure safety. Ensuring that patios and decks are in good condition makes them more enjoyable and reduces the risk of accidents.

  • How to repair: Use a hammer or screwdriver to secure loose boards and nails. Replace damaged boards and railings as needed. Sand down rough areas to prevent splinters.

Consider sealing or staining: Apply a fresh coat of sealant or stain to protect wood surfaces from the elements and enhance their appearance. This helps prevent wood from warping, cracking, or rotting.

  • Tips for best application: Clean the surface thoroughly before applying sealant or stain. Use a brush or roller for even application. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times and additional coats.

6. Home Exterior

Cleaning the exterior surfaces of the property can significantly enhance its appearance. A clean exterior not only boosts curb appeal but also helps maintain the property’s structural integrity by removing harmful substances like mold, mildew, and pollutants.

Take care of windows and siding: Clean windows and siding using gentle methods to avoid damage. Clean windows let in more light and make the home look brighter and more welcoming, while clean siding enhances curb appeal.

  • How to clean windows: Use a mixture of water and mild detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage window seals.
  • How to clean siding: Use a soft brush or cloth with a mild cleaning solution. Avoid pressure washing vinyl siding, as it can cause damage.

Get out the pressure washer: Consider pressure washing hard surfaces to remove stubborn dirt and stains. This not only improves the appearance but also extends the life of these surfaces by removing damaging debris.

  • Pressure washer tips: Use a lower pressure setting for delicate surfaces. Always start from the top and work your way down. Wear protective gear to prevent injury from flying debris.

Inspect everything for damage: While cleaning, inspect for any signs of damage such as cracks or mold growth. Regular inspections and prompt repairs help maintain the property’s value and prevent small issues from becoming major problems.

  • How to repair: Treat mold with a bleach solution and ensure proper ventilation to prevent recurrence.

7. Driveway and Walkways

Maintaining driveways and walkways ensures safe and appealing access to the property. Regular maintenance of these surfaces can prevent small issues from becoming larger, more costly problems.

Look for cracks: Check for and repair any cracked areas in driveways and walkways to prevent further damage. Cracks can worsen over time and lead to more costly repairs.

  • What to look for: Big cracks are easy to spot, but make sure you also look for small cracks and signs of wear. Use a magnifying glass to inspect closely. Mark areas that need repair with chalk.

Apply sealcoating: Consider sealcoating asphalt driveways to extend their lifespan. Sealcoating protects the driveway from the elements and helps prevent cracks.

  • How to apply: Clean the surface thoroughly before applying sealcoat. Use a brush or roller for even application. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times and additional coats.

8. Outdoor Lighting

Proper outdoor lighting enhances security and aesthetics. Well-lit exteriors can deter potential intruders and improve visibility, making the property safer and more attractive.

Check light fixtures: Ensure all outdoor lighting fixtures are working properly. Well-lit areas deter intruders and improve visibility at night.

  • What to look for: Check for burnt-out bulbs, loose connections, and damaged fixtures. Use a ladder to inspect hard-to-reach lights.

Replace bulbs: Replace any burnt-out bulbs and consider upgrading to energy-efficient LED lights. LED lights last longer and use less energy, reducing maintenance and costs.

9. Fences and Gates

Fences and gates provide security and enhance the property’s appearance. Wood or metal can become damaged due to weather in winter and spring, so summer is the perfect time to take a look and make repairs. Regular maintenance ensures that these structures remain functional and visually appealing.

Look for damage: Check for any damage to fences and gates and make necessary repairs. Broken or damaged fences can compromise security and detract from the property’s appearance.

  • What to look for: Look for loose boards, misaligned hinges, rusted metal, and signs of rot. Use a flashlight to inspect hard-to-see areas.

Apply paint or stain: Repaint or stain wooden fences to protect against the elements. Regular maintenance prevents wood from rotting and extends the life of the fence.

  • How to apply: Clean the surface thoroughly before applying paint or stain. Use a brush or roller for even application. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times and additional coats.

10. Pool Maintenance (if applicable)

A well-maintained pool can greatly enhance a property’s appeal. Regular care ensures the pool remains safe, clean, and enjoyable for occupants, as well as preserve the value that it adds as a feature of the home. Pool maintenance isn’t just for summer, especially if you live in a warmer area, but upkeep is extra important in the months the pool is in use.

Check water levels and quality: Ensure the pool’s water levels are correct and the water is balanced. Proper chemical balance prevents algae growth and keeps the water safe for swimming.           

  • How to test: Use a water testing kit to check pH, chlorine, and alkalinity levels. Adjust chemicals as needed to maintain balance.

Clean the pool: Regularly clean the pool and check for any necessary repairs to pool equipment. Cleaning filters and skimmers can help ensure efficient operation in the long term.

  • How to clean: Skim the surface daily to remove debris. Brush the walls and floor to prevent algae buildup. Vacuum the pool weekly to remove dirt and debris from the bottom. Don’t have time? Consider hiring someone to help you keep up your pool.

Download our summer home maintenance checklist

Maintaining a property during the summer is crucial for ensuring it is safe, functional, and appealing. For landlords and real estate investors, regular maintenance not only helps in retaining tenant satisfaction and securing potential buyers but also in protecting and enhancing the investment made into the properties.

Take the time this summer to ensure your properties are well-maintained and ready to withstand the season’s challenges. Our handy summer home maintenance checklist breaks down everything you need to do, indoors and out, to get your property summer-ready.

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