As the summer falls upon us, make sure you have your home prepared. Your home will perform differently depending on the season and as homeowners, we need to be aware of that. Taking the right steps will help keep your energy bills down, lower the maintenance and allow you to spend your time and money on your family and friends.
Some of the recommendations I will cover deal with energy efficiency and some will just be general maintenance to help make your life easier.
- If you did not clean your gutters and downspouts last fall after the leaves fell, you need to make sure those are clear. If they are clogged, water will pour down on your foundation when it rains and this well deteriorate your foundation and lead to water getting into your basement. The majority of wet basements are caused by water management issues. Even if you cleaned your gutters last fall, its a good idea to check them in the spring or after those maple trees drop all the helicopter seeds.
- Change the filter on your furnace. The filter should be checked monthly, but we all know that rarely happens. With the heavy use during the winter, its probably very dirty and you will want a nice clean filter prior to the AC running on a regular basis.
- Have the AC tuned up by a professional. If you are living in a two story house, without a zoned system, chances are the upstairs will stay warmer than the lower level. Make sure all supply and return air registers are open and not covered by furniture.
- On hot days, make sure you close blinds and drapes. This will help keep the heat gain down during the hot part of the afternoon.
- Open windows on cooler nights and turn off the AC. Not only does this keep the energy bills down, it will get fresh air into the home.
- Use your ceiling fans. Getting the indoor air circulating will make the home feel cooler and allow you to keep the temperature higher on the thermostat.
- Don’t completely turn off the AC when you go to work for the day. I recommend turning the temperature on the thermostat up, but if you turn the system off or the thermostat temp too high, the system will have to work so much harder to get the temperature back to a comfortable level. If you typically keep the thermostat at 72 degrees when you are home, turn it to 75-78 when you leave. Make sure you are utilizing the programmable feature on your thermostat.
- If you are going to water the lawn, make sure you DO NOT water it during the hot part of the afternoon. I see this all the time and its a complete waste of water. The water will evaporate before it even gets down into the soil and if the sun is too hot it can actually scorch the grass and burn it out even more. Water the lawn in the early morning or at night.
- Cut the lawn regularly and keep the garden beds weeded on a regular basis. This will help keep the bugs down and make it easier to maintain.
- Last but not least, spend time outdoors! Sun and fresh air is good for us, but make sure you wear sunscreen.
I realize these tips are mostly common sense, but its easy to put these off and before you know it the energy bills are high and the yard looks like it needs to be on HGTV yard crashers.