Summer Maintenance Before It’s Too Late

Summer is the perfect time to take on a few home maintenance projects, so before the sunshine gives way to fall showers, here are some recommendations.

If you see peeling, cracked, or chipped paint, consider painting the exterior of your home to protect the siding underneath. Now’s also a great time to seal cracks in the driveway, patio, and any walkways and to waterproof any wooden decking. Before painting or sealing anything, some people rent a power washer to remove dirt and old paint flakes. Cleaning your deck, patio, or siding with a power washer can be a great option. However, if you’ve never used a power washer, a word to the wise: a strong power washer can blow holes in concrete. Read the instructions and start slowly.

Another great summer project is cleaning windows and screens. If you have a hole in a screen, it’s often easier to replace all the screening mesh rather than patching it. Be sure to align the little squares in the mesh with the screen’s frame edges. It’s amazing how noticeable it is when the mesh isn’t straight.

As you walk around the exterior of your home, look for vegetation blocking vents or surrounding any mechanical devices like heating and air conditioning units. If air flow is required for things to work properly, vegetation can shorten the life of your equipment and keep moisture from escaping as it should. Keep bushes trimmed and remove weeds. In fact, you may as well trim tree limbs up from the ground and away from your roof. Fire season is right around the corner and now is a great time to create a defensible space.

Moving to the interior, summer is a great time to have your carpets and upholstery cleaned. A hot summer day can dry carpets and couches in a matter of hours. You can also wash or air out area rugs.

If you haven’t changed the heating and air conditioning filter recently, put that on the list, along with inspecting your fireplace and chimney. If you see any cracks, schedule the repair now before the chilly nights of fall arrive and everyone starts requesting this type of maintenance. Ideally, you should have your chimney inspected annually.

When cooler weather does arrive, please remind your college student not to move their outdoor barbecue under an eave, or worse, into a garage to escape the rain. It’s amazing how many fires are started this way. Also, those barbecues in an enclosed space can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If they don’t know how to cook on a regular stove, buy them an indoor grill for winter.

Another indoor issue to remind millennials of is using bathroom fans when they shower. Too much moisture or humidity in a house can lead to all sorts of problems, including mold, mildew, and bugs. To manage moisture, you can also check under the house. If there’s moisture there in summer, it will only be worse in winter. To reduce humidity there, you can add vents and/or sub-area fans.

Finally, it’s always wise to check hoses (like those connected to washers and dryers) and to make sure gas-fired appliances are properly vented to the outdoors.

Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. The simple act of walking around your home looking for maintenance opportunities is sure to bring additional projects to light.

If you have questions about real estate investing, please contact me at or call (707) 462-4000. If you have an idea for a future column, share it with me and if I use it, I’ll send you a $25 gift certificate to Schat’s Bakery. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 40 years.

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