Now that summer weather is here, it’s the perfect time for do-it-yourself maintenance projects around your home. Fortunately, summer gives you a chance to repair damage, protect your home and make it look even better.
One of the easy jobs is laying a one to three inch layer of mulch on garden beds. It will quickly spruce up the area around your home’s exterior. Mulch has other benefits. It spares you from having to do a lot of weeding and it holds moisture in the soil, saving water and giving plants a consistent source of moisture.
If your deck is looking a little tired, it might be time to seal, stain or paint it. Staining or painting your wood deck will make it look like a million bucks. The cheap way to seal a deck is do it yourself. Do it annually or every two to three years, depending on where you live.
Cleaning your windows is one of the cheapest ways to give your home a new sparkle. Here are cheap, no-streak approaches. Apply a vinegar-water solution to the glass, and wipe it off with crumpled newspaper, for a more lint-free result than paper towels. Use TSP, tri-sodium phosphate. It’s an inexpensive powder degreaser. Mix in water and squeegee it off for a streak free finish. Many people also swear by a few drops of dish soap in a bucket of warm water.
Caulking around windows helps cut heating and cooling bills by keeping indoor air in and drafts out. Leaky window frames rot and allow water to seep into walls, causing rot and mildew. A $5 tube of caulk goes a long way toward sealing edges and small gaps. Spray foam is better for larger openings.
You may be able to clean your gutters yourself at little or no cost. ent or borrow a solid ladder tall enough to do the job safely. Enlist someone to stand on the ground and steady it while you work. You should clean gutters once or twice a year, and while you’re cleaning check for leaks and breaks.
Warm weather gives you a chance to circle the outside of your home and remove anything that could shelter wood-boring insects, rats, mice or spiders. Remove yard waste and stacked lumber. Orkin recommends storing firewood at least five feet from your home’s foundation and on a rack off the ground. Also, trim bushes and relocate plants so that none touches the home’s siding or foundation.
Do this job for fire prevention: inspect and clean your dryer vent. Although you probably clean your dryer’s lint trap after each load, lint still builds up inside the machine. Remove the lint filter and use a long-handled vent brush to clean the cavity and carefully clean behind the machine. When finished, turn on the dryer and go outside to look at the vent. Is exhaust air coming out? If not, look for blockage in the vent or exhaust duct.