“When it comes to home maintenance, the adage ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is particularly appropriate,” wrote John Campitell in an email. Campitell is production manager for InSite Builders & Remodeling in Bethesda, Md. “In the summertime, it is especially important for a home maintenance plan to emphasize exterior items. With friendlier weather and warmer temperatures, a lot can be seen, and a lot can be accomplished that will set up your home well for the rest of the year,” he said.
We asked Campitell and George Noble for summer maintenance tips. Noble works in business development for WilderWorks, a home renovation division of Anthony Wilder Architecture in Cabin John, Md. Both responded via email. The following was edited for length and clarity.
Summer maintenance checklist:
1. Clean or replace filters and grills. Replace furnace filters, clean return air grills, kitchen hood vents, etc. Items such as these should be done on a quarterly basis. Replacing and/or cleaning filters keeps equipment working at optimum efficiency and flow while preventing stress to the point of failure, Campitell wrote.
2. Have your roof inspected. If your roof is more than 10 years old, it’s time to have it checked for damage, Noble wrote.
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3. Adjust doors and tighten loose handles. Temperatures and humidity influence the functionality of doors and handles, Campitell wrote. In the summer, moisture and humidity can cause doors and handles to expand and stick, and, in the winter, drier and colder conditions cause doors and handles to shrink and loosen.
4. Check your windows, screens, storm windows and doors. Make sure they close and seal properly, Noble wrote.
5. Inspect showers and tubs, and replace caulking if required. Inspecting showers and tubs and replacing broken or missing caulk prevents water from seeping into walls where it remains hidden until water damage has taken hold. A $6.95 caulk replacement is preferable to a $695 repair for moisture damage behind walls, Campitell wrote.
6. Check your landscape. Make sure trees and shrubbery are not rubbing or touching the roof or sides of your house, because they could cause damage during a storm, Noble wrote.
7. Do an exterior visual inspection. Look for any issues needed to be corrected before fall season, Campitell wrote. “When weather conditions are favorable, it is easier to inspect for problems with decks, roofs, gutters, mortar or foundation cracks, and the warmer temperatures are also favorable for making the repairs,” he wrote. “In cold weather materials like roof shingles can become brittle.”
8. Inspect gutters and downspouts. Make sure they’re clear of debris and are secure and drain properly; add gutter guards or screens to help keep debris out, Noble wrote.
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9. Check the grade around your house. Make sure the ground is sloped away from your house and downspouts flow away from your foundation to prevent water from seeping into your home, Noble wrote.
10. Do a safety inspection. Clean out your dryer vent, check your washing machine hoses, check fire extinguishers and your toilet supply line, which are important checklist items from a safety point of view. “Washing machine hoses are under considerable pressure all the time,” Campitell wrote. “If they are old and need to be replaced, a simple inspection can prevent a major water/house flooding situation.”
11. Check out your attic. Inspect and add attic insulation, Noble wrote. “It should be R-38 or better in this area,” he wrote. “Make sure your attic is well ventilated; it will prolong the life of your shingles and reduce attic heat and moisture.”
12. Consider pressure washing. Pollen, dirt and environmental factors take a toll on the exterior of a home, Campitell wrote. Pressure washing siding, windows, masonry, walkways, brick and flagstone patios prevents environmental chemicals from breaking down mortar, paint, seals, joints, which protect a home from moisture leaks.