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5 must-do home maintenence jobs for summer

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 (iStock)

Summer is a time to kick back and relax. But before you can curl up in the hammock with a cold one, here a few important tasks to take care of around the home.

Care For Your Deck

Shuffling barefoot over a cracked and splintered deck is no way to spend the summer. Whip your deck or patio into shape this summer by applying a coat of sealant, ensuring that it will be preserved for years to come. Even with rot-resistant wood like cedar, or pressure-treated lumber, water and sunlight can still do damage to the deck, so for the best protection, you want to coat the deck in a sealant. Start by washing the deck with a pressure washer, and then sand out any rough patches once the deck has dried. If your deck has been stained or coated before, you’ll need to strip the original coating with a chemical stripping agent. Once you’re down to bare wood, you can re-stain and seal the deck with a simple deck sealant.

Ready Your Home for Vacation

A well-deserved vacation is one of the rites of summer, but before you take off for your fun in the sun, make sure your home is ready first. Burglars are always on the lookout for signs that homeowners are away, so you’ll want to take a few precautions to ensure you’re not signaling that your home is an easy target. An overflowing mailbox is a telltale sign that you’re out of town, so put a hold on any subscriptions and ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail. You might also want to install timers on your lights, or invest in a few smart bulbs, which can be programmed to come on in the evening to make the house look lived in. If your vacation lasts a few weeks, make sure an overgrown yard isn’t letting everyone know that you’re gone. Hire someone to mow the front yard and keep the place looking tidy while you’re away.

Give Your Home a Wash

Throughout the year, your home gets pretty grimy and the warm summer months are the perfect time to give the siding a wash. To clean vinyl siding, a basic pressure washer is all you need. While these tools can be pricey, you can also rent one at a local hardware such as Home Depot. To get the best results, do two passes over the home — the first pass mixing in a mild detergent or soap, and then a second pass to rinse it clean. Before you begin, make sure to cover any outlets, switches or light fixtures with plastic and tape. You’ll also want to be careful around windows and doors. If there are any leaks around these openings, you could end up creating an indoor flood. All that soap and water makes working on a ladder pretty dangerous, so rather than put yourself at risk get a pressure washer with an extender arm to access the upper reaches of the home.

Give your Air Conditioner a Checkup

To make sure you’re getting maximum power from your air conditioner, give it a check up this year. Window unit air conditioners can get pretty dirty, but they are also quite easy to clean. Unplug the unit, remove it from the window and unscrew the screws that hold the cover in place. If you see any leaves or other debris, scoop it out. Spray the front and rear coils with an all-purpose cleaner and then wash them with a garden hose. Give the air conditioner a few hours to dry out before reinstalling it in the window.

Replace Your Mower Blade

After endless miles thrashing through your overgrown lawn, your mower’s blades are probably in need of some sharpening. Razor sharp blades will not only cut faster, but they will also do less damage to the grass but cutting it more cleanly, leaving you with a better looking lawn. To remove the blade, first disconnect the spark plugs to ensure the mower doesn’t start up while you are working on it. The make sure the gas cap is tightly secured before turning the mower on its side. A simple socket wrench is all you need to remove the old blade and most hardware stores will carry a wide range of replacement blades.