Summer home inspection and maintenance tips
Summer is the perfect time to plan a getaway to your vacation home for some much-needed rest & relaxation. But before you can do so, you need to make sure that your summer home is “up to snuff”. Summer home inspection and maintenance is one of those things that you need to do each year if you want to ensure that your summer home is ready to provide you, your friends, and your family members with a great time. Incidentally, a summer home is one of the best candidates for the top home warranty programs, as regular maintenance may be a bit more difficult. That being said, we have prepared a few tips to help you inspect and maintain your summer home.
Tips for summer home inspection and maintenance
- Test your smoke detectors
- Inspect your outdoor furniture
- Prepare the grill
- Inspect your windows and replace window screens if necessary
- Clean the downspouts and gutters
- Check the roof
- Bugproof the yard
- Schedule HVAC service
- Check for any leaks
- Clean the internal systems
- Reverse the ceiling fans
A summer home can quickly turn into a “money pit” if you do not stay ahead on your maintenance tasks. While you can get a home warranty for your summer home, it is still recommended that you prevent as many issues from occurring in the first place. While the benefits of home warranty plans are numerous, you will still have some out-of-pocket expenses whenever repairs and maintenance are required. For this reason, it is always best to stay ahead of maintenance and repair tasks. And that is what our tips for summer home inspection and maintenance are all about!
Testing the smoke detectors
The very first thing you will want to do is ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Many homeowners simply forget that these exist, presuming that they will work when needed. However, they do run on batteries and can encounter issues from time to time. Therefore, the one thing that you want to include in your spring home maintenance checklist is to test the smoke detectors and replace the batteries if needed. Safety first!
Inspecting the outdoor furniture
Second, you will want to make sure that all your outdoor furniture is in good condition. While doing so, keep an eye on any items that require replacement. Outdoor furniture is integral to the enjoyment of your summer home and you might want to add a few pieces to create an even more comfortable environment. Chances are that you have at least a few “hand-me-down” furniture pieces that are in desperate need of replacement.
Most of the time, a home warranty will not cover outdoor furniture, meaning that this is a cost that you need to finance on your own. But before replacing, make sure to know exactly what does a home warranty cover. Some home warranties extend even to outdoor furniture and can provide you with a welcome reprieve from associated costs.
Preparing the grill
No summer home is complete without a grill. What you want to do is make sure that your grill is ready to take on the hamburger season in full! Depending on the grill type, you will have a few tasks ahead of you. For charcoal grills, you will want to snag a bucket of soapy water and thoroughly clean the grill with a sponge. A gas grill will require you to heat it up for around half an hour before scrubbing the grates with a grill brush. You will also want to check whether there are any cracks, blockages, or even holes in the grill’s hoses.
Lastly, make sure that the grill itself is more than ten feet away from anything that is flammable. To be extra careful, place your grill at least 10 feet away from any railings and structures, as well.
Inspecting the windows
Examine all of the windows on your summer home for potential seal and function issues first. To do so, turn on the air conditioning first and check whether any hot air is coming through the closed windows. Then open each window in turn, verifying that they function as they should. Most of the time, you will notice some issues. Write them down for now.
Before you start doing any repairs, you will want to thoroughly wash all the windows in your summer home. You will also want to include the window screens in the washing process. Washing the windows does not make much sense if you don’t wash the window screens as well, after all. Start by removing the screens and cleaning them by gently scrubbing them with soapy water. If you notice that the screens accumulated too much filth, it may be smarter to simply replace them.
As for the windows, a great tip is to use the vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt from the window tracks.
Cleaning the gutters and downspouts
Yes, you need to do this as well. While this is undoubtedly one of the most abhorrent tasks when it comes to summer home inspection and maintenance, it is also a very necessary one. Not only will your moss-filled, stained, dingy, gutters look bad but they will also contribute to numerous other problems within your summer home. Neglecting the gutters and downspouts can lead to expensive repair costs. Incidentally, gutters and downspouts are one of the reasons why you need a home warranty plan in the first place. There are two ways you can deal with them, pressure washing and soft washing. While pressure washing may be a more attractive option at a first glance, it can also damage your home. Soft washing, on the other hand, is much safer. Soft washing is also an eco-friendly and biodegradable option.
You can soft wash your gutters and downspouts using the same pressure washer, but with a slight modification. What you will need is a nozzle that will widen the spray of water, providing a lower pressure per square inch (PSI).
Summer home inspection and maintenance – Checking the roof
To check the roof of your summer home, you will want to do the following:
- Look for piles of leaves, moss, or algae
- See if there are any curled or buckled shingles
- Check whether the shingles are damaged or missing
- Visually inspect the roof up close
You can do all but the last part with a simple pair of binoculars. Walk around the home and see if there are any piled leaves or accumulated moss on the roof. The reason why these are so important to spot is that they can trap moisture, potentially causing significant damage to your roof. This moisture can then seep into the sheathing and compromise the structural integrity of the roof. If your summer home has asphalt shingles, they are susceptible to warping, buckling, or even curling. Shingles that are warped can also compromise the roof’s integrity and can provide for poor ventilation. Replace as necessary. Of course, if you notice that any shingles are missing or damaged, replace those as well.
Lastly, there’s the visual inspection of the roof. For this, you may want to consider contacting professionals if you are uncomfortable getting up the ladder. The visual inspection is quite important, as binoculars can only get you so far.
Bugproofing the yard
Warmer weather makes a perfect climate for bug breeding. If you want to ensure that your yard is not teeming with insects, you will want to apply some outdoor bug spray to it. You may also want to apply some caulk to your windows and doors, making it harder for insects to penetrate the barriers into your home. Almost no one likes a bug-ridden yard, and the presence of too many insects can easily turn great summer vacation into a horror story.
Scheduling HVAC service
One of the most important aspects of a great summer home is a well-functioning HVAC system. Therefore, you will want to ensure that it does not fail on you when you really need it. Inspecting and maintaining your HVAC system is not something you should do on your own, though. It is always best to schedule regular maintenance with your provider. That way, you will be able to ensure that your HVAC system is ready to go when the temperatures get sweltering.
Summer home inspection and maintenance – Checking for leaks
You should also check every one of your outside faucets and hoses for signs of leaks. If you spot a leak in a hose, you can repair it temporarily or you can replace the hose altogether. If you choose to repair it, simply wrap the black electrician’s tape around it and it will stop the leak for the time being. As for faucets, you may need to tighten or replace them, depending on the severity of the damage. You may even need to consult professionals in case of extensive repairs or difficult replacements.
Aside from checking for leaks, you will also want to see if all your faucets and shower heads are working properly. If they are not, you might need to take them apart and thoroughly clean them.
Cleaning the internal systems
Lastly, you will want to focus your efforts inside the summer home itself. To start with, make sure that the air vents are clean. All sorts of allergens can accumulate in the air vents, potentially irritating the sinuses of everyone inside the home. Next up, take a look at the chimney. The chimney is one of those internal systems that many people don’t even bother with, which can be a huge mistake. During the winter, the chimney can develop small holes, cracks, and even crevices that water can seep in. This can create mold and leaks. Therefore, make it your business to clean the chimney (or schedule a chimney-cleaning service) to ensure that you don’t have to deal with any of that.
After that, you may also want to take a look at some of the more important appliances within your summer home. Cleaning and maintaining kitchen appliances might be a tedious process but it is also a very important one. But every appliance requires at least some maintenance. For example, you will want to make sure that your washing machine is in peak condition, as well. If you find any stains or soil buildup, apply the cleaning mixture and leave it there for about five minutes. Wipe with a clean cloth afterward and let the air dry.
Reversing the ceiling fans
Your ceiling fans’ normal mode of operation is clockwise. What you may want to do is reverse the direction to be counter-clockwise, having the fans push the air straight down instead of up. This process is rather easy, all you need to do is shut the fan off, locate the direction switch and flip it. Most of the time, the switch is located above the blades but the location may vary according to the fan manufacturer. Incidentally, when you are flipping the switch, you will be in a great position to dust off the fan blades.
There are countless other summer home inspection and maintenance tasks that depend on the unique fixtures of your summer home. For example, if you have any specialized equipment, you will want to either perform the maintenance on your own or contact professionals. The important thing is that you allow yourself enough time for all these tasks and that you don’t rush. Take your time with inspection and maintenance, your wallet will be thanking you in the future!
For more tips on home maintenance and home warranty, browse and explore the Consumer Opinion Guide. We can also provide you with great recommendations on all the top home warranty companies and help you get the best deal!