With summer in full swing and the kids out of school, you may be looking forward to cookouts, children playing in the pool or yard, and gatherings of friends and family. Make sure you and your guests stay safe and happy this summer, by taking steps to keep your home cool and protected from costly damage. Here are a few tips to get you started:Inspect your porch or deck. The last thing you need is a painful splinter in your toe – or worse. Carefully inspect your porch or deck supports, floors, stairs, and railings for any damage or hazards that happened over the winter or spring and make repairs before you invite guests over.
Check for water leaks inside and out. You’ve probably already turned on the water to your outside faucets. Inspect the pipes and any appliances attached to them to see if there is any sign of leaks inside or outside your home. Pay attention to your water bills, as they can be a good indication of a leak somewhere that’s not obvious – like an underground sprinkler system.
Patch cracks and potholes in the driveway. Avoid damage to your vehicles by smoothing out your driveway. You can hire someone to resurface it or patch it yourself if the cracks and holes are small.
Clean your grill before lighting it up. Before you start barbecuing this summer, give your grill a thorough cleaning, inside and out. With the propane tank turned off, remove the briquettes and cooking grates, and carefully detach the gas tubes and burners. Wash the grill with warm, soapy water, then dry it with a towel, and reassemble. During the season, take time to burn off the grease on the grates – this can eliminate unwanted fires.
Cool your home efficiently. Instead of keeping your AC on full blast all summer, try lowering the blinds, investing in blackout curtains, closing off unused rooms, and placing a bowl of ice in front of a large fan (feels like a cool, sea breeze!) If temperatures are too hot upstairs, move to the basement floor and be sure to let the cool night air in by putting fans in the window after the sun goes down.
Keep your lawn in good shape. As a general rule, your lawn needs between one and one and a half inches of water per week, from rainfall or irrigation. During the hot summer months, water your lawn during the last couple hours before sunrise to keep the water from evaporating. Sharpen your mower blades to give your grass a clean cut (which will help it conserve moisture better).
Trim trees and bushes. If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, keep your trees and bushes trimmed around your house, and pick up any lawn or garden debris, as it can feed fires.
Inspect your pool. Before opening your pool to swimmers this summer, be sure to clean it and balance the chemicals properly. According to swimuniversity.com, thousands of pool owners end up in the emergency room each year due to poisoning from pool chemicals, so use safety goggles and extra care when handling your chemicals. Make sure any steps, ladders, railings, slides, and diving boards are in good condition and installed securely, your pump and filter are working well, and the pool is brushed and vacuumed often to head off algae problems. Be sure to shock the pool at the beginning of the season to kill all the bacteria and get your water sparkling clean. After dealing with chemicals in the pool, spray down the pool deck completely. Test all of your pool’s safeguards as well – gate locks, door alarms, storage for chemicals – and set out your rescue and first aid equipment and flotation devices.
Consider your liability. Summer is a time for outdoor fun. Unfortunately, it can also be a time for outdoor accidents. Review your liability insurance policy to make sure you are completely covered for any unfortunate accidents that may happen on your property. Consider additional liability insurance coverage if you own a pool. Your insurance agent or broker can help you decide how much you’ll need.
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