Five Things to Do Now to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat

Test for Ventilation Leaks

Your air conditioner is functioning efficiently—great! If you have leaks in your home, though, it doesn’t really matter, because that perfectly cooled air is slowly leaking out. You can call in a professional, but it’s simple enough to conduct your own home energy audit first.

First, look for actual leaks: drafts in your windows and doors. If you do find any leaks, you can seal them up with caulk and weather stripping. Speaking of windows, MyHomeIdeas suggests a few additions to keep them cool: reflective film, sunscreen-fabric curtains, roller shades.

If you’ve never checked the attic or basement insulation in your home, it may have compacted over the years, which means it’s not covering everything it should. Check your insulation for leaks and gaps. Former Lifehacker contributor Timothy Dahl suggests you look around pipes and ductwork, specifically, and fill those areas using expanding foam. You should also make sure the attic floor is insulated without blocking vents. When it comes to adding large amounts of your own insulation, keep in mind: it can be a pretty messy job.

Set Up a Barrier for Bugs

Summer weather seems to bring out the bugs, and San Joaquin Pest Control explains why:

For the most part, many bugs and insects go into some form of hibernation during the colder months. Other insects migrate someplace warm to wait out the colder months. Still others decide the best way to stay out of the cold is to camp out in your home. You may see more bugs in your house in the winter months, although many of them make their homes inside walls and attics where you are unlikely to encounter them…The minute it starts warming up, the bugs of summer will begin to flock to your area.

In my old apartment, we’d get an influx of ants every year. If you don’t have a landlord to take care of pest control, or you just want to do it yourself, there are a number of ways to keep bugs from coming in.

First, make sure everything is properly sealed. And if you checked for leaks, you’ve already done this. Check the caulking around your windows and doors, then fix any drafts or gaps with new weather stripping and caulking. Spray your outdoor perimeter with a pesticide, along with baseboards, sinks, windows, and doors. There are specific options for creating an insect barrier, too: Ortho Home Defense and Raid Bug Barrier, for example.

Read all the applicable warnings on the pesticide and make sure your pets don’t get into it. It’s easy enough to make your own DIY natural repellant, and Apartment Therapy offers a simple solution here.

Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction

Yes, your ceiling fan is designed to rotate differently depending on the season. In winter months, it should rotate clockwise to help distribute heat that’s risen. In the summer, though, you should run your fan counter-clockwise at higher speeds to get a breeze going.

Check to see which direction the fans in your home are moving, and, if necessary, hit the small black switch near the base to change directions.

Prevent Water Damage

Summer weather isn’t just hot and sticky. It can also be stormy and, sometimes, dangerous. For example, hurricane season hits in the summer months, and with it often comes flooding. Make sure your house is protected, and as Quick and Dirty Tips points out, this starts with your foundation:

check your basement for cracks and leaks. Build up dirt or place grates outside your house to direct water away from the foundation. If the dirt you currently have has settled around your house, water will start running toward your house. As a general rule, a grate of one-inch-per-foot will ensure proper water runoff.

Again, make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed and caulked, too. You should also test your gutters. Turn on your garden hose and place it inside the gutter so water begins to run. Then, walk around your home’s perimeter and check the gutter. Look for water coming out of any places it shouldn’t. You should also check your gutters for dips or sags where water might pool near your house.

Inspect your roof to ensure it’s in good working order (remove any debris and leaves while you’re up there). You can call a professional, but if you want to do it yourself, HouseLogic lists a few issues to look out for:

  • Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing.
  • Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering.
  • Missing or broken shingles.
  • Cracked and worn rubber boots around vent pipes.
  • Missing or damaged chimney cap…
  • Masses of moss and lichen, which could signal the roof is decaying underneath. Black algae stains are just cosmetic.

You can check your indoor ceiling for early signs of leaking, too. You might notice dark water stains or peeling paint. If you do find a leak, you want to call in a professional as soon as possible, especially if you live in an area that gets hit hard with summer rain.

Now is the time to make a few changes around your home to prepare for the extreme weather. With a few tweaks and inspections, it’s easy enough to make sure you’re in good shape by the time summer arrives.

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