Easy Guide to Summer Home Maintenance
The term maintenance doesn’t light a fire in your belly—I know. Even though a to-do list around the house probably won’t stir up any passion, love for your property should. In order to keep up your home’s value and liveability, you need to maintain everything from the foundation to the roof. And I don’t know about you, but I'd rather put in a little money and elbow grease now to prevent major repairs rather than react to something that went terribly wrong later.
If you agree (and I hope you do), read on and let's get started with a few simple checklists for summer home maintenance to keep your property looking its best and make it the star of every family BBQ this summer!
Your Guide to Summer Home Maintenance
Here’s why the summer is actually the perfect time to take care of a little home maintenance.
You’ve got time. While the rest of the year is consumed with school activities, kids’ ball games and practices, and holidays, the summer is your down time to get stuff done around the house.
The weather is right. With the yucky winter weather gone and the spring showers over, summer is the perfect time to get busy cleaning your home’s exterior. Rid yourself of the dirt accumulated from the snowy winter and make your property the perfect oasis for summer.
Checklists for your summer home maintenance to-dos.
Depending on your relationship with the property, you’re going to see a different set of maintenance responsibilities. If you’re the homeowner and resident, your list will be fully comprehensive whereas, if you’re the tenant or the landlord, your responsibilities will be split.
Summer Home Maintenance for Homeowners
Your summer maintenance list knows no bounds. But that’s okay, because your level of care should be the highest.
If you plan to live there for years to come, then your maintenance of the home should keep it functioning for you and your family. If you intend to rent it out after you PCS, then the goal is to provide the perfect home for another family. And if you plan to sell soon, you’re ensuring that you have the best home on the market and can attract serious buyers.
- Clean windows and replace screens. The winter and spring seasons tend to do a number on the windows. From snow and ice to rain and wind, our windows usually enter the summer season looking a little worn. Get your windows screens washed up and let that light flow into your house! Be sure to replace any broken or torn screens as well.
- Touch up exterior paint. The sun is out and shining bright, so take a look at the exterior paint on your home. Is it fading? Are there cracks or chips in the paint? How do the railings and shutters look? With the unpredictable weather behind you, take the time to touch up the paint and get your home looking radiant.
- Reverse ceiling fans. Reverse the direction of ceiling fans if switched in the winter to circulate cool air efficiently. Making the fan spin counterclockwise will push the air straight downward and create a nice breeze.
- Replace air filters. Summer is a great time to clean and replace air filters. Before your A/C kicks into overdrive to compete with the summer heat, replace the filter.
- Clean pavement and decks. You may be surprised to find out how much dirt actually settles around the property. Don’t believe me? Use a pressure washer to spray down your pavement. Once done, your driveway and walkways will thank you. Spray down your deck and fence if you have them.
- Inspect the attic and basement. Best done before it gets really hot, head up to the attic to check for leaks and signs of pests. Animal droppings, even if they’re old, can create respiratory problems for residents. If there is an indication that an unwelcome guest shared your home with you during the winter, you’ll want to look for holes where they made their entrance. Seal it up and clean out any residue that remains. Then, head to the basement to look for signs of leaks, mold, and mildew.
- Baseboards and floors. Dirt and mud aren’t restricted to the great outdoors. In fact, the snow and rain have likely caused you to track in a lot more than you’d care to admit. Now that the weather is drying up, it’s time to get on the floor and scrub the baseboards and floors. Your carpet could probably use a professional cleaning, and your tile would probably look a lot better with the grout cleaned.
- Pest proof. Beyond inspecting your attic and basement for critters and creepy crawlies, hire a professional to come out and spray your house to prevent any future pests.
- Clean gutters. The fall leaves and the wet weather that followed pack debris into your gutters and downspouts. Take a day to clear out build-up and get your gutters functioning properly. If the gutters are spent and looking sad, then you may need to repair or replace them.
Summer Home Maintenance for Renters
The list of maintenance responsibilities looks a little different for renters than it does for homeowners. It’s the homeowner's job to make sure the property is habitable, but it’s your job is to handle the cleaning and inexpensive repairs.
- Clean windows and screens. If you can hardly see outside because there are dirt and rain spots on the windows, head outside and clean them yourself. No need to bother your landlord with a call. However, if there are broken or torn screens, you might want to check in with them and see how they’d like to handle replacing them.
- Reverse ceiling fans. Creating a nice breeze in the home is easy, just make the fan spin counter-clockwise and you’re set.
- Replace air filters. Air filters aren’t that expensive, and they improve your quality of air. Save a call to your landlord and replace them yourself. Just be sure to let them know that you did so they can add it to their records.
- Clean pavement. If there's a lot of dirt built up from the colder weather, borrow a pressure washer and give the pavement a good cleaning. Not only will it look better, but it will also keep you from tracking more dirt into the house.
- Clean baseboards and floors. It’s not your landlord’s responsibility to clean the interior of the home. Grab a magic eraser and get the mud splatters, pet hair, and dust.
- Clean gutters. You may want to let your landlord know you're planning to clean out gutters. Unless they are cracking or breaking, this is something that you can handle yourself.
Summer Home Maintenance for Landlords
While it’s your tenant's job to take care of the little things around the property, it’s yours to handle the big stuff. Check in with your tenants or ask your property manager to check in regarding any maintenance issues. They’ll know better than you whether or not the deck has seen better days after an icy winter and needs some extra love.
- Touch up exterior paint. Take a look at the exterior. If there are signs of wear, schedule a time when you or painters can come by and touch up.
- Inspect attic and basement. Schedule a time with your tenants to have the attic and basement inspected.
- Make exterior repairs. Be prepared to repair broken decks and railings and cracked pavement or tile. Although materials are designed to withstand the elements, the weather will slowly start to deteriorate them. Be sure to make necessary repairs before the breaks become hazardous for your tenants.
- Replace broken screens. Your tenant should take the initiative to clean the windows, but it’s not their responsibility to replace the screens. If they report that any of them are broken or torn, be sure to make the replacement.
- Pest proof. Work with the tenants to schedule a time for a professional to treat the property to prevent any pest problems. It’s far better to pay to prevent a potential problem than pay to treat a problem you already have.
- Be sure to ask tenants if they notice any signs of leaking that could be due to a broken hose. This could include refrigerator, ice-maker, air conditioning unit, dishwasher, washer and toilets.
Summer Home Maintenance if You're Selling Your Home
Getting your home ready to sell warrants a whole article of its own, so I’ll just cover a handful of extra tips and a few resources to get you going.
In addition to the homeowner checklist shared above, be sure to add these few things to your list as well:
Landscape. Even if you planted some flowers in the spring, look for more ways to make the property look loved and cared for. Perhaps just a pot of flowers by the front door is all you’ll need.
Paint. Take the idea of "touch up" to the next level. You should be aiming to make your property look brand new. That means it’s less about maintaining and more about improving. Look for ways to update by taking a look at the trim, front door, railing, mailbox, and shutters. If anything looks faded or a little neglected, give it a facelift. For patios and decks, consider a coat of stain to freshen up the tired pavement.
Drain the hot water heater. The HomeVestors experts share that “sediment can build up in the water heater, shortening the water heater’s life and raising energy bills. Shut down the power and water to the water heater. With a garden hose attached to the drain, run the water outside. Thoroughly examine the water heater for any leaks, and check that the gas water heaters and vent pipes are clear.”
There’s a whole lot more to get a house ready to sell than following a summer maintenance checklist. So, if you’re one of the many military families PCSing this summer, allow me to point you in the right direction. Here are a few resources to help you prepare your home for sale.
- Get Ready to Sell Your House!
- Home Selling 101
- 12 Repairs You Should Make Before Selling Your Home
- 4 Simple Steps to Selling Your Home
Let your love for your property fuel your motivation to complete these summer maintenance tasks. While they may seem tedious, especially on paper, they’re important to keep your home looking its best—regardless of whether your goal is to sell, rent, or enjoy the space yourself.
See something we missed? We’d love to hear from you. Share your helpful tip in the comment section below!