May Home Maintenance Tasks
May is here, this means summer is also now upon us Floridians. Now is the time to tackle a couple of home maintenance projects before summer is in full swing. Doing these things now can not only save you time and aggravation later but also prevent possible big repairs. This list will help get you started on this must-do spring project, so pick a Saturday, and let’s get it done!
AC Coolness Checkup
Now’s your last chance to double-check your air-conditioning unit and make sure it’s in good working order before the mercury starts to rise. The last thing you want is to find out you have an air conditioning problem 4th of July weekend, trust me, it happened to me.
What to Do: Hook up a garden hose and spray the outside of the condenser to remove any dust that’s settled on the unit and connections. (Yes, dust can affect your AC’s effectiveness.) Don’t use a brush, and be careful if pressure washing—you could damage or bend the fins. Make sure to change the filter, too. If it’s been a while since your AC unit was last serviced, it can’t hurt to have a professional come check it out.
Gear up Your Grill
When you think of an amazing rack of ribs fresh off the hot grill, you don’t want to see they’re also served with last year’s grill gunk on them. Whether you’ve been regularly using your grill or not, what better time to make it’s clean and summer-ready.
Shortcuts: No matter what kind of grill you have, invest in a grill brush or other coarse cleaning brush, remove the grates and metal plates beneath them, and soak them in hot soapy water for five to 10 minutes. Then scrub hard. To rinse, spray them with the hose.
What to Do: Cover the area where the grates usually go with foil and use a stiff grill brush to clean grime from the hood and inside walls. Use a cleaner specifically designed for your grill’s surface and reassemble all parts. If gas, make sure all gas hoses are secure and check how much propane you have left in your tank. If wood/charcoal, clean out all ash or leftover debris and check to make sure you have all necessary grilling supplies.
There’s a great deal that can happen to your home during winter and spring, some of which we’re completely unaware of because we’re huddled inside.
What to Do: Take a couple of laps around the perimeter of your yard and home. This is when you want to be checking for siding/stucco damage, missing or peeling paint, holes, cracks, damaged or clogged gutters and downspouts. After this, check your soffits, windows, screens, and any vents for damage. Next, bring it in closer: Examine soffits, doors, windows, screens, and vents, and make a note of any damage.
Got Wood Fencing or Decking?
The Florida damp humid air tends to be pretty tough on wood fencing and decking. Wood fencing, gates and decking should all be checking for signs of loose and/or sagging boards.
What to Do: A nail gun will help make quick work of refastening pickets and fence supports. A couple of things to remember, use only galvanized nails for outdoor work and use a power drill fitted with a screw tip or a hex driver to remove or tighten loose screws and bolts in gates.
Freshen up the Flowers
We’ve all heard the saying “April showers bring May flowers” but this is only true if you’ve done the proper prep work.
What to Do: Pull the weeds! I know it’s not our favorite task, but it is a required one. Remove any dead plants or flowers, trim back any plants or shrubs, trimming them now allows for new growth quicker. Lastly, be sure to prepare or add fresh soil before planting new flowers.
Re-Mulch Your Beds
Whether it’s flowers, vegetables, or just bushes and shrubs, fresh mulch will go a long way to help boost curb appeal. Did you know to you can help prevent evaporation and help keep weeds in check by insulating planting beds with 2 to 4 inches of mulch.
What to Do: Set aside a mulching day, and have a local landscaping service deliver bulk mulch and dump it where you can get to it easily (like your driveway). Plan on 1 cubic yard of mulch to cover 100 square feet, with mulch 3 inches deep.
This goes for all of your lawn equipment, mower, edger, leaf blower, chainsaw, whatever machinery you use, you need to tune it up; regardless of how often you use it. A quick tune-up is as simple as clean the exterior, change your oil and spark plugs, and fill the tank with fresh fuel.
What to Do: You should let it run for a bit before changing the oil and filter. Clean foam air filters with soap and water, and make sure your machine’s deck height is at the highest possible setting for your grass type. (Cutting too short can put stress on your lawn.) This is also a great time to check the sharpness of your blade. Having it sharpened or replaced if necessary.
Feed Your Lawn
Whether Mother Nature is working overtime or our sprinklers are, our lawns still need more than just water. Grass loves and needs nutrients just like most living things! So now’s the time to add high-nitrogen fertilizer, this will help suppress weeds and keep your lawn looking great all through summer.
What to Do: A simple push-powered spreader helps make quick work of fertilizing your lawn. Spreaders and fertilizer can be purchased at your local landscaping or home improvement store. Do you have a cooking compost pile? If so, you can substitute home-grown compost for commercial fertilizers.
Check Your Sprinklers
I can’t tell you how often I’m driving through a neighborhood and I see a house with a broken sprinkler head just spewing water everywhere. Don’t let this be you. Take the time to do this thoroughly, having a partner to help doesn’t hurt either. Kids will think it’s fun playing in the sprinklers.
What to Do: Turn on one sprinkler zone at a time, checking all of the sprinklers to make sure they are not only popping up they should, but not leaking and aimed in the correct place. Adjust accordingly as you go through the zones. Make note of the types of heads that are broken or not working, re-check after you’ve replaced them.
Inspect Brick and Stone Patios, Driveways and Walkways
Erosion and heavy use can wreak havoc on your hardscape surfaces. Ensure that all pavers, stones, etc haven’t shifted, risen or sunk into the ground. This unevenness is easily remedied with playground sand purchased from your local landscaping or home improvement store.
What to Do: Pry up the displaced stone, smooth and even out the bed with fresh sand, and replace the paver. Have missing or broken stones or pavers? Replace them sooner than later. Trying to match the color and material may be harder later.
Wash Your Windows
Now that your yard is taking shape and your gardens are coming into full bloom, you’ll want to enjoy the view. That, of course, means it’s time to wash away winter’s dirt and grime from your windows.
What to Do: Have a partner clean the outside while you do the inside of the same window. That way, you can identify which side of the glass contains lingering streaks and smudges, and get rid of them on the spot. Plus, who wants to clean alone? Take this time to also inspect the molding/calking to make sure they’re all sealed properly.
Clean Out Your Gutters
There is nothing worse than realizing your gutters are filled with last year’s leaves during the middle of a Florida rainstorm. Cleaning your gutters now will save you from that mid-storm stress. Also, backed-up gutters can cause damage in other areas as well.
What to Do: Either from a sturdy ladder, preferably with someone holding the bottom of the ladder or from the roof, travel around cleaning out anything lingering in your gutters. After all cleared, run water down your main gutter downspouts to make sure they flow freely. Tip: Installing gutter guards on areas with many trees may be something that your future self really thanks you for.
See, that wasn’t so bad now, was it? I had total faith in you the whole time. Great job, your future self and home thank you for this!
Need a great local service provider to lend a helping hand? Let me know!