22 Simple To-dos For A Cool, Summer-Ready Home

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Summer brings plenty of positives, like gorgeous sunshine, trips to the beach, and lounging by the pool. But the trade-off is intense summer heat and blazing temperatures that take a major toll on your well-being if you’re not careful. The hot sun and rising temps of summer affect your home, too.

Just as you take precautions to protect yourself (drinking plenty of water, slathering on sunscreen, and cooling off in the shade), you need to prep your home for the sweltering summer weather.

1. Get Your A/C Serviced

service AC - summer to do
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Have a professional service your HVAC unit before summer gets into full swing to ensure it’s working optimally. The technician cleans the unit, checks the components, replaces the filter, assesses freon levels, and performs other routine maintenance. It’s a good rule of thumb to have your HVAC services twice a year (once before the summer and once before winter) to keep it in good working order and prolong its lifespan.

2. Check Seals Around Windows And Doors

sealing windows
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Over time, your house contracts and expands in response to temperature fluctuations leading to gaps and cracks, especially around joints. One of the most common areas to find gaps is around windows and doors, so it’s important to routinely check these areas and reseal them as necessary. Use a flexible sealant, like an acrylic latex caulk, so as your home expands and contracts the seal responds well to the changes. Other features to look for are waterproof, UV-resistant, and paintable.

3. Assess Your Insulation Situation

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Your home’s insulation plays a large role in its comfort level and also in your utility bills. Proper insulation helps control heat transfer between the inside and outside of your home, keeping cold air in and hot air out in the summer. According to the EPA, when paired with air sealing your house, insulation saves roughly 15% on your heating and cooling costs when you add it to basements, attics, and above crawl spaces.

4. Repair Broken Windows And Screens

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Take a stroll around the outside of your home and look closely at your windows. If you notice any cracks, breaks, or other damage, get quotes for repairing or replacing the glass. If the windows are in bad shape, it may be time to replace them. Replace broken or torn screens as well. A great way to reduce energy costs and improve airflow is to open windows during cooler parts of the day, but you don’t want sneaky critters getting in through holes in the screen.

5. Purchase Blackout Curtains Or Shades

window blinds to block summer heat
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Natural light is nature’s way to make your home look beautiful and inviting, but it also raises your home’s temperature when it’s blazing outside. Installing shades, blinds, or blackout curtains on windows that face the sun-heavy sides of your home is a must. These additions make it a breeze to block out unwanted light and heat when you don’t want it.

6. Test Your Thermostat

test thermostat
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Don’t wait until it’s sweltering outside to realize your thermostat isn’t working properly. A broken or failing thermostat becomes a huge energy waster in your home. A programmable thermostat that works well can save you 10% a year on average. Set your thermostat five degrees cooler than your home’s current temperature. You should hear and feel your AC unit kick on within a few seconds.

7. Set Your Ceiling Fans To Turn Counterclockwise

turn fans counterclockwise
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Ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to reverse the rotation of the blades. The fan should turn clockwise when you run your heater or furnace to push warmer air downward. Therefore, in the summer, flip the switch to make the fan spin counterclockwise to move cool air down. Basically, any time you run your AC, your fan should spin counterclockwise.

8. Clean Out Gutters

man clears rain gutter for spring maintenance
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Gutters collect a lot of gunk and debris, including leaves, twigs, dead bugs, and other things that hinder their performance. Summertime tends to bring a lot more rain in many places. If your gutters can’t do their job, rainwater ends up seeping under your roof, running down your exterior walls, etc. Before the weather gets too hot (you don’t want to sweat too much, right?) grab a ladder, a pair of gloves, and a large trash bag and clean out your gutters.

9. Aerate Your Lawn

aerate lawn
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When it’s hot, it becomes a challenge for your lawn to get the water it needs since things dry out so quickly. Aerating your yard (making small holes throughout your lawn) helps water penetrate more deeply, making it easier for your yard to stay green and healthy. If you have a small yard, a handled or push spike aerator may be all you need, but for larger lawns, consider renting a core aerator.

10. Deep Clean Your Grill

clean grill
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Summertime goes hand in hand with backyard barbecues, so as part of your summer prep deep clean your grill. Get rid of dust and cobwebs that could lead to dangerous flare-ups, and clean the grill exterior with soap and water. Check your grill’s manufacturer’s recommendations on how to clean the inside of the grill and the grates. Typically, a grill brush is a staple tool in many barbecue accessory kits, so put it to good use.

11. Adjust Your Home’s Humidity (If Necessary)

empty humidifier
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Excess moisture is a recipe for disaster, leading to an increased risk of mildew, mold, dust mites, and other nasties. Humidity tends to rise in the summertime, and if you live in a particularly humid area, it could lead to problems in your home. If your home’s humidity surpasses 60%, you open the door to issues, so if necessary, get a dehumidifier to keep the level between 40% and 50%.

12. Review Your Insurance Policies And Coverage

review property insurance
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Since summertime often means more rain, it also means an increased risk of flooding. In certain parts of the country, you could also face heightened weather alerts for hurricanes and damaging winds. Therefore, it’s a good time to review your insurance policies and coverage and organize your paperwork to make sure your house has the protection it needs should disaster strike.

13. Clean Your Vents And Filters

clean vents and filters
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The filters and air vents throughout your home fill up with dust, pollutants, and debris over time, restricting the airflow in your house and making your HVAC unit work harder. Cleaning and replacing filters should be a part of your regular home maintenance routine. Check vents, including your dryer vent, for blockages, clean grills and returns, and make sure everything is working properly.

14. Prep Outdoor Furniture

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Get outdoor furniture ready for summer picnics, parties, and more by protecting it from the impending rain, heat, and sunshine. Clean chairs, tables, outdoor rugs, cushions, and other items using soap and water or a pressure washer on a low setting. Use UV-resistant, waterproof paint or stain to give patio furniture a fresh look and protect it from the elements. A product like Scotchgard Water and Sun Shield adds a layer of protection to fabric cushions, pillows, sun shades, and umbrellas.

15. Switch To Cooler Sheets

switch to cooler sheets
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Do you cozy up with flannel sheets during the winter or typically use microfiber sheets because they’re easy on your allergies? When summer nears, you may consider switching to a cotton percale or linen bedsheet to stay cool at night. Microfiber sheets tend to trap heat, but linen and cotton are breathable, cooler fabrics that also hold up well against most allergens.

16. Take Care Of Your Garden And Yard

clear the yard
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In addition to aerating your lawn, it’s also important to prepare your yard and garden in other ways. Trim shrubs, replace mulch, sharpen gardening tools, get rid of clutter and debris, and bag up leaves and clippings. Ready your garden bed for new plants that are best started in the summertime. Prepare for increased rain by ensuring flowerpots and raised beds offer proper drainage.

17. Get Rid Of Potential Mold Magnets

get rid of mold
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Many of the items on this list will naturally help protect your home from mold, like cleaning out gutters and maintaining proper humidity levels. It’s also important to ensure proper airflow and that you eliminate excess moisture in other areas. Make sure exhaust fans in bathrooms are working well, dry the shower and tub after use, leave the lid of the washing machine open after use, and insulate properly to avoid condensation.

18. Remove Things That Block Air Flow

remove draft blocker
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If you used draft protectors under doorways during the winter, it’s time to remove them. Proper airflow is essential to help maintain a comfortable temperature and reduce moisture. The best way to improve airflow within your home is to leave interior doors open whenever possible so air can circulate freely.

19. Protect Against Pests

protect against insects
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Don’t end up with uninvited guests this summer — keep bugs at bay with a few simple preparations. Clean up all clutter and debris around your home since it provides the perfect nesting ground for critters. Avoid planting trees, shrubs, and other foliage against your house, and form a narrow border between wooden components of your home’s exterior and mulch using small stones or gravel. Eliminate standing water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and plant pest-repelling herbs like clove or basil.

20. Get The Pool Ready

clean the pool
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If you have a pool, then you have several extra items to add to your summer home prep. Clean the pool and check the levels to get it ready for the season. Address any damage or concerns so you’re not caught off-guard the day of your kid’s swim party. Make sure proper safety measures are in place (fencing, pool bell, etc.) to prevent unfortunate accidents, like children and pets accessing your pool when it’s unsupervised.

21. Have A Few Fans On Hand

get fans
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Even with the most well-thought-out summer prep, you can’t control everything, including power outages or a malfunctioning air conditioner. Have a few battery-operated or chargeable fans on hand so you’re not trapped in the summer heat without a way to get some relief. Don’t forget to stock up on the right batteries, too.

22. Test Your Home’s Safety Systems

home safety system
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Another big part of summertime is going on vacation. People with bad intentions (i.e. burglars) know this, and they scope out houses that appear vacated to unleash their nastiness. Check your home’s security system, video doorbell, and other safety devices to ensure they work. Test them as necessary with the appropriate monitoring company. Before summer is also a good time to test and replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors since you typically need to change these out every six months.