In summer, opportunities to relax are hard to resist. But you can’t neglect the upkeep of your home! The warm weather is also the perfect time to tackle outside projects.
Use the table below as a checklist.
After a violent storm or period of strong winds, give your roof covering the once-over. Take the required corrective action immediately if you see that shingles or metallic flashing have lifted up or possibly even been torn away. Also check the condition of the covering if a tree branch has fallen on the roof.
If you have a flat roof with an asphalt and gravel covering, make sure the gravel is evenly distributed and protects all parts of the membrane from UV radiation. If there are areas where the tarpaper is showing through, you need to add gravel. If there is still stagnant water on the roof 48 hours after rainfall ends, contact a roofer.
|Adjust your downspouts to make sure rainwater is carried far enough away from the foundation. Even better: set up a rainwater collection system. Make sure the barrel is covered by a screen to keep biting insects from proliferating.|
|Cut any tree branches, climbing plants and bushes that are in contact with the building, blocking any air intakes or outlets (e.g., air exchanger or dryer exhaust vent) or near the heat pump (if you have one). Always be careful near power lines! To be fully aware of the risks and what type of work you are allowed to do by law, see this Hydro-Québec web page.|
Clean the dryer, air exchanger and bathroom fan exhaust vents. Make sure the flappers are working properly and will keep insects, birds and other small animals out.
|Seal any openings in the exterior cladding to keep small animals (e.g., squirrels, bats) or insects (e.g., ants, wasps) from getting in.|
|Inspect all wooden parts of fencing, decking, stairs, exterior cladding or other elements. Summer is the ideal time to strengthen or restore them.|
Find and repair, using the appropriate products, any cracks in asphalt or concrete surfaces. Replace damaged interlocking pavers or concrete flagstones and, if necessary, fill in their sand seals.
|Caution should be exercised if you want to apply paint or stain: these products should not be used on a hot, humid day more than they should in frost conditions. Choose a day that isn’t too hot, wait until the morning dew evaporates, and work on surfaces that are in shadow.|
|Connect your pool filter to a timer. Besides eliminating the noise from the pump at times, this will generate appreciable energy savings over a full season, whether you have an aboveground or inground pool.|
|Once a month, check that all the ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on your exterior outlets are working properly: plug in a nightlight or lamp and press the “Test” button: the “Reset” button should pop out and the light should go out. If not, contact an electrician. If the GFCI is working properly, press the “Reset” button to reactivate the outlet.|
|To help ensure your home’s safety, immediately replace any burnt-out exterior bulb, preferably with an energy-saving compact fluorescent model. Consider installing a timer or photocell control system so that the lights turn on in the evening even when you are away.|
|Periodically test all children’s play equipment (e.g., swing sets, slides) to make sure it is solid. If necessary, cover over the sandbox so that it doesn’t become an open-air kitty-litter box (e.g., with a custom-fitted covering, mosquito screen). Periodically disinfect the sand or (even better) replace it.|
|Do a preventive safety inspection tour all around the property to check all gates to the backyard, make sure the swimming pool door automatic locking system works properly, childproof a staircase, etc.|
|Lock up certain equipment and accessories that could be dangerous for children—for example, the garden shed, where hazardous materials like fuel and pesticides may be stored.|
|Mow the lawn once the grass reaches 4½ in. (11 or 12 cm), never cutting more than a third of its total length, so that you leave a height of 3 in. (7.5 cm). Mowing too short leaves the lawn fragile and vulnerable to dryness, weed infestation, etc.|
|Your lawn needs about 1 in. (2.5 cm) of water per week. If there is no rain, this corresponds to a few hours’ watering, ideally in the early morning. Place a few containers of identical dimensions in different spots around the lawn, and stop watering once they fill up with the recommended amount of water.|
|Inspect the automatic garage door opener, if you have one. Lubricate the motor and chain and make sure the security mechanism is properly calibrated.|
|Make sure the basement or crawlspace is properly ventilated. Measure the relative humidity and take the necessary steps to keep it as close as possible to 50%.|
|To keep condensation from forming in warm weather, wrap cold-water pipes in insulating sleeves. To prevent mould from growing on basement walls and floors that are affected by condensation, move furniture away from the exterior walls, and open the doors of any cupboards adjoining those walls to help surfaces dry out.|
|Thoroughly clean carpets and area rugs and store them until the fall.|
|Pour water into the floor drains and plumbing fixtures that don’t get much use during the summer, to restart siphons and prevent unpleasant odours.|
|Attend to your air-conditioner maintenance. Clean or replace the filter and clean the evaporator coil. If required by the manufacturer, lubricate the fan.|
|Inspect the filters on other devices (e.g., air exchanger, range hood, bathroom fan) and replace them if necessary.|
|Summer is an excellent time to have your central heating system repaired, refitted, inspected or calibrated. Make sure you will have clean filters for when you start heating the house again.|
|Summer is also an opportune time for chimney sweeping.|