Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

You may not want to spend your free time this summer doing home maintenance. But you don’t want to wait until it’s too late either. Keep your home safe and its curb appeal high by following this summer home maintenance checklist!

Some of these tasks are potentially dangerous, so please consider hiring a service professional.

Get Rid of Pests
Relocate Beehives
Maintain Your Swimming Pool
Inspect Your Fencing
Power Wash Your Driveway
Adjust Your Ceiling Fans
Prep Your Grill
Inspect Play Equipment
Check Your Foundation

Get Rid of Pests

If you own a home, there’s a good chance you’ve shared it with a furry trespasser or two, whether you realize it or not. Mice, rats, squirrels and raccoons are among the many critters drawn to homes for the warmth and food they can provide.

If you’re not careful, you may find these unwanted guests living in your walls, attic, basement or even your chimney. Once they’re in, they can be a real nuisance to your family and destructive to your home.

The best course of action is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Here’s how to keep them away.

Eliminate Food Sources

If there’s something to eat laying around, pests will find it.

  • Store any food, grass seed or pet food in sealed metal or heavy plastic containers.
  • Set your garbage cans on 6-inch high wood platforms and make sure their lids fit tight.
  • Replace garbage cans that have cracks or holes.
  • Pick up any fruit that has fallen from trees in your yard.

Seal Up Your Home

Pests can squeeze into almost any size hole.

  • Walk around the outside of your home in search of any small openings. Pay particular attention to your foundation and roof eaves.
  • Fill in any holes with steel wool or foam insulation. Ideally, you should also cover the hole with caulk, plaster or cement.
  • Inspect your attic thoroughly for animal droppings or openings where pests can get in. Screen off any trouble areas.

If you find rats or raccoons in your home this summer, call a pest control professional right away. Rats can carry fleas and disease, while raccoons are dangerous when cornered.

Relocate Beehives

Bees are an essential part of our planet’s ecosystem and should be left alone when they aren’t causing trouble. However, if a beehive forms on or near your home, you should have it removed or relocated.

On your home, bees prefer building their hives near wood-based cavities, such as door frames, the underside of your roof and inside walls. In your yard, you might find a beehive on a fence post, inside a hollow tree, or on a branch or bush.

Follow this checklist if you find a beehive near your home this summer:

1. Keep Your Distance
Most bees will only sting you if they feel their hive or queen is threatened. That said, it’s a good idea not to provoke them, especially if someone in your family is allergic to bee stings.
2. Find the Opening
If the hive is inside your home, try to identify where the bees entered, but don’t block the opening. This may result in the bees escaping to other parts of your home.
3. Call a Beekeeper
If the bees near your home are honey bees, a beekeeper may be able to relocate the hive at little or no cost. Honey bees are on the decline worldwide, so you don’t want to kill them. If you can’t find a beekeeper, contact an exterminator.
4. Clean the Area
Bees often leave behind honey and other residues that could attract certain animals and insects. To prevent a larger problem, remove any leftover honeycomb and seal the opening they used to get into your home.
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Maintain Your Swimming Pool

In the summer months, your swimming pool is the centerpiece of family fun around your home. Without regular maintenance, though, it can become smelly and dirty. Keep your pool safe and swimmable all summer long with these easy-to-follow tips:

Maintain Your Pool
  • Clean the water
  • Scrub the walls
  • Check the filters
  • Clear around the pool
  • Keep your pool safe

Clean the Water

Test the pool water each week to maintain healthy chemical levels. The optimum pH level for pool water is 7.4, while the chlorine level should stay between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million (ppm). Safely store your pool chemicals in a cool, dry spot and away from sunlight.

Scrub the Walls

You should scrub the sides of your pool and vacuum the bottom at least once a month to prevent algae from forming. Left untreated, algae can turn water green during the summer heat.

Maintain the Filters

It’s important to keep your pool’s filter system clean. Check, clean and replace dirty filters on a regular basis.

Clear Around the Pool

Don’t forget to clean the pool deck. Be sure to hose any debris, dirt and bird droppings off the deck so they don’t get into the water.

Keep Your Pool Safe

Consider enclosing your pool with a fence that’s at least four feet high. If you have an above-ground pool, remove any steps or ladders when it’s not swimming time so children can’t climb in. Finally, when your pool is not in use, make sure it’s securely covered so no one falls in.

Inspect Your Fencing

Fences often get overlooked by homeowners, but a fence that is in poor condition can be a safety concern. Fortunately, a little summer maintenance goes a long way.

  • Check your fence for any loose nails, screws or bolts. Make sure the gate is properly aligned and all latches and locks work properly.
  • If the exterior of the fence is chipped or faded, you may want to give it a fresh coat of paint or stain. If it’s just dirty, try spraying it down. For solid plastic or vinyl fences, get a fence cleaner with a mildew eliminator to get the gunk off. This will add to your fence’s life.
  • If your fence is designed to keep pets inside, you should also inspect below the fence for any holes they can squeeze through. Level off the uneven ground to keep your pets inside your yard.

Power Wash Your Driveway

Over time, your driveway can become dirty and worn. One way to restore it is to use a power washer. It’s an affordable solution that can prolong your driveway’s lifespan and increase your home’s curb appeal.

You’ll need a power washer that can deliver about 3,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) of water. Anything more powerful than that can strip the paint off surfaces and may not be safe. Start out at a low PSI such as 1500 to get used to the strength of the water spray.

PressureFunctionalityCleaning Jobs
1500-1900 PSILight dutyFor regular maintenance and household cleaning jobs, like the outside of your home
2000-2800 PSIMedium dutyFor cleaning concrete, brick and wood surfaces, including patios, roofs, decks and fences
2900-3200 PSIHeavy dutyFor cleaning driveways, sidewalks, pathways, boat bottoms
3300 PSI and higherExtra heavy dutyFor getting graffiti off walls and heavy stains off driveways

Now follow this simple checklist:

  1. Prepare your driveway. Clear away any debris and sweep all excess dirt from the surface of your driveway.
  2. Set up your machine. Attach one end of the high-pressure hose to the spray wand and the other to the tank. Then attach your garden hose to the intake valve on the power washer. Chances are you won’t need to add soap or chemicals to the power washer’s tank. Read the manual for exact instructions.
  3. Wash your driveway. Hold down the spray handle and move the wand side to side across the surface of your driveway. Try to overlap each movement by about half a foot. When dealing with tough stains, you may have to hold the power washer closer to the driveway.

Adjust Your Ceiling Fans

Over the course of a long, hot summer, an energy-efficient ceiling fan can save you a decent amount of money on your home’s electric bill. It makes sense then to keep it in proper working condition.

Cooling DeviceWatts Per Hour
Ceiling fan75
Small room air conditioning unit500
Large room air conditioning unit1,440
Central air conditioning system3,500

Try these easy maintenance tips:

Clean the blades. A layer of dust can reduce airflow and make your fan work less efficiently.

Make sure the fan is balanced. An out-of-balance ceiling fan wobbles as it spins. This not only stresses the motor, it can also cause the entire fan to fall down. Easy-to-use balancing kits are available at most hardware stores.

Rotate the direction of the blades. Make sure the blades blow the air directly down during the summer months. This will create the wind chill effect you need to stay cool in your home. To reverse the blades’ direction, flip the switch located on the side of the fan.

Prep Your Grill

If you’re like most homeowners, your grill has been hibernating in storage since wintertime. Before you fire it up this summer, take a few minutes to get it back in top working order.

  • Remove nasty buildup from the grates all the way down to the drip pan. Hot, soapy water should remove grease splatters from the base and sides of the grill.
  • If you have a gas grill, make sure you perform a leak test any time your grill has been in storage for a long period of time. Look for any crimps, scratching and punctures in the fuel line. Read more grilling tips.

Inspect Play Equipment

Outdoor play equipment such as climbers, tubes and slides should be in safe operating condition at all times, but especially in the summer. For maximum safety, make sure your equipment meets these safety and maintenance guidelines:

  • Smooth Edges – Look for any sharp points or edges, splinters, protruding bolts or broken parts. Reinforce, flatten or repaint as needed.
  • Openings – Any holes or openings should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches to prevent a child’s head from being trapped.
  • Protective Surfacing – Make sure the protective surfacing around the equipment extends at least 6 feet in all directions. It should be composed of safety-tested rubber or shock-absorbing material like wood chips or pea gravel.
  • Guardrails – Platforms and ramps that are more than 30 inches high should have guardrails or barriers to prevent falls.

Check Your Foundation

A solid foundation is crucial to maintain the structural integrity of your home. That’s why it’s important to check your foundation at least twice a year. Here are some things to look for:

What to Look ForPotential Danger
Cracks, gaps or holes in the foundationGroundwater, insects and radon gas may enter your home
Cracks in your home’s ceiling, walls or floorsYour foundation may be shifting
Uneven or sloping floorsYour foundation may be shifting
Windows or doors that don’t open or close properlyYour foundation may be shifting

Although you may want to fix these issues yourself, it’s always best to consult a foundation service expert.

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The above content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace or modify any provisions, limitations or exclusions contained in any insurance policy.

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