Summer Home Survival Guide
By: Danny Lipford
Summer is a great time for relaxing outdoors, but the heat and humidity can be hard on your house and yard. Here are some tips to help both homeowners and their houses keep cool and survive the long, hot summer months.
Severe Summer Weather
Summer has more than its share of weather. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Board up windows in advance of an approaching hurricane.
- Keep insurance policy information handy.
- Have a list of important contact phone numbers available.
- Keep at least one cell phone fully charged.
- Have a first aid kit on hand.
- Stock up on batteries, nonperishable food, and bottled water.
- If you have a portable generator to provide power after a storm, know the basics of portable generator safety.
Summer Heat and Humidity
Follow these tips to keep cool this summer and reduce your utility bills.
- Use paddle ceiling fans, set to rotate counterclockwise, for keeping cool.
- Add an attic exhaust fan near the peak of the roof to keep your house cooler and lower air conditioning bills.
- To reduce solar heat gain in your home, lower blinds and close curtains during the day, or apply window film to the inside of single pane windows and glass doors.
- When replacing the windows on your home, make sure they come with a low-E coating to reduce the heat and damaging sunlight from the sun.
- Have a HVAC pro service your air conditioner each year before hot weather arrives.
- Replace the air filter on your air conditioner regularly with a quality filter.
- Keep shrubs trimmed back away from your air conditioner unit.
- Check the chlorine levels in your pool often during the summer.
- Install retractable screens, like those from Phantom Screens, on doors and larger openings to keep insects and heat from the sun out, while allowing access to the outdoors.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat when working outside in your yard.
Summer Home Maintenance
Summer can be hard on your home, here are some home maintenance projects that can help:
- Fill any cracks and gaps on your house with quality, flexible caulk.
- Paint the outside of your house with high quality acrylic latex paint. If mold and mildew are a problem in your area, choose a paint that’s mildew resistant or mix a mildewcide additive into the paint.
- To remove mold and mildew from outdoor surfaces, scrub with a mixture of one part bleach to three parts water. Other options including cleaning with TSP (trisodium phosphate) or applying an antimicrobial solution made to kill mold spores.
- To prevent damage to outdoor concrete surfaces, seal cracks in concrete with concrete repair caulk and seal surfaces with concrete sealer.
- Clean and finish wood deck using a cleaner and stain made for decks, such as those from Flood, to protect it from sun and rain. Flood’s new OneCoat stain, available at The Home Depot, can be applied to a deck even when the wood is still damp.
Summer Insect Pests
To keep mosquitoes at bay naturally:
- Add 20 drops of essential oil—such as eucalyptus oil, cinnamon oil, or lemon oil—to two tablespoons olive oil, and rub it on bare skin.
- Position a fan so it blows on you to keep mosquitoes away.
- Grow fragrant plants in your yard that are natural mosquito repellents like marigolds, lavender, sage, rosemary, and lemon Thai grass.
- Soak a sprig of fresh rosemary in water for 5-10 minutes, then put it on a hot grill to create mosquito repellent smoke.
Summer Yard Care
Summer can take a toll on your yard. Here are some tips that can help:
- Make sure your yard drains properly to prevent erosion and standing water that can lead to disease and fungus.
- Plant drought tolerant plants that are native to your area.
- Avoid fertilizing during dry summer conditions, and set your lawn mower cutting height higher to reduce stress on your lawn.
- Apply a thick layer of mulch around trees, flowers, shrubs, and vegetables to help insulate the soil and hold in moisture.
- Water lawns in the morning when the temperatures are cooler and the evaporation rate is lower.
Check out our Summer Survival Guide for summer home and yard tips, projects, and severe weather info!
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Fixing Air Conditioner Fins
If the cooling fins on an air conditioner compressor have become bent, run a stiff, plastic, bristle brush back and forth to straighten them out for optimum cooling. Use a putty knife to straighten badly bent fins, being careful not to damage the fins. (Watch Video)
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Scotts Turf Builder
Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard not only fertilizes your yard without burning, it also kills insects and helps your lawn absorb water and nutrients. Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)
Ask Danny Lipford:
Condensation on Windows
Condensation on the inside of windows is the result of high humidity inside your home. To prevent condensation, run vent fans in bathrooms when showering or bathing and in the kitchen when cooking. Also, have you heating and cooling system inspected to make sure it’s running properly. In extreme situations you may need to install a dehumidifier in your home. (Watch Video)