If you live in Arizona, you know the summer heat can be relentless. Temperatures can reach well into the hundreds on a daily basis. For this reason, it is important to make sure your home and property are well-prepared to handle the elements, or you could face costly repairs and replacements. These summer property maintenance tips will help you get started.
1. Replace your air filters.
Your air conditioning unit will be the single most important part of your home this summer, so it’s important to start there. You want to ensure that everything is working properly before it gets too hot, and you are stuck without it for days before a professional can come fix it. Start by replacing your filters. Most experts suggest replacing them every one to three months, but because Arizona is dusty, you may want to do it as often as possible. Check them frequently to see how dirty they are, because the dirt and debris can prevent your system from cooling your home properly.
2. Clean the other parts of your HVAC if necessary.
Go ahead and give your system a test run, once you’ve changed the filters, to ensure it’s working. Clean any weeds, leaves, or other debris that have grown up around the outdoor part of the unit. Also, check the system’s coolant lines to ensure they are wrapped in foam. If not, replace the foam or wrap the lines in insulation tape.
3. Deal with any bug or rodent problems ASAP.
Arizona residents occasionally find themselves sharing their properties with bugs and rodents. Scorpions, termites, roaches, rats, ants, and fleas are all common throughout the state. If you notice even the slightest sign of one of these creatures invading your home, take the steps to eradicate them before it gets too warm, or those pests will spend the season inviting their friends inside, too. Just like you, they are looking for shelter from the heat.
4. Test your fans.
The more help you can provide your HVAC system the better, and one great way to do that is to add fans to your home. If you don’t already have ceiling fans, consider adding them. If you do have them, make sure they are clean and dust-free, and turn them so that they rotate counterclockwise. This pushes cool air down to lower levels. Floor fans can help keep your home cool, as well. Just make sure they are clean, as dust can cake up on them and prevent them from cooling properly.
5. Check your window caulking.
Another way to ensure your home is cool — and your energy bills are low — is to check for any air leakage around your windows. Over time, caulking wears out or peels, so a regular inspection and maintenance can help you make sure it does not become a problem. If it is a small leak, just re-caulk that small area. If all of the caulking looks to be in rough shape, remove what’s left, clean it, and replace it.
6. Add shades, blinds, or curtains to you windows.
Another thing you can do to keep your house cool is to add blinds, shades, or dark curtains or drapes to your windows, especially on the southern and western sides of your property. This can keep the glaring sunlight out, which means your home is cooler, your AC does not have to work as hard, and you save even more money on your energy bills. As an added bonus, covering your windows on particularly hot, sunny days can protect your furniture, upholstery, carpeting, paint, and wallpaper from fading.
7. Prepare your grill.
When the thermometer reads 110 degrees, you probably don’t want to stand inside slaving over a hot stove or heating your house with the oven. That’s why grill maintenance is important for Arizona property owners — that and no one can resist the taste of a delicious steak or burger. Take some time to clean it up, and remove any old food left from last year. Replace the propane if necessary.
8. Inspect your home’s exterior.
A quick walk around the outside of your home will show you if any maintenance is required for the exterior. Glance up at the roof and look for any obvious damage. If you have anything that could lead to a leak, you want to have it fixed before monsoon season in July. Speaking of monsoon season, you will want to make sure your gutters are clear and debris free. Use gloves, a scoop, and a water hose to remove sticks or leaves that have built up inside.
Finally, if you have a stucco home, look for any small cracks that may develop over time. A little caulk can help seal them off to ensure your home is cooler throughout the season.
9. Prepare for lawn care.
Warmer weather means it’s time to take care of the lawn. If you have a drip irrigation system, make sure there are no leaks and all the drippers are in place. Do you have Bermuda grass? If so, you need to aerate your lawn before June. Your lawnmower has probably been in storage for several months, so take it out and give it a test run to ensure it’s working properly. If the blade is dull or rusty, have it replaced before the busy lawn care season. If you hire someone to mow your lawn, make arrangements as soon as possible before they are too busy to squeeze you in.
10. Trim overgrown bushes and plant seeds for summer.
Finish your yard by trimming any overgrown or dead bushes, weeds, or tree limbs. Fertilize and mulch your perennials that are coming back to life, and make sure they get plenty of water as the temperature heats up. If you enjoy a yard full of flowers or like to grow your own vegetables, start prepping your summer garden. Make sure you get an early start on seeds that require a long growing season. Also, make sure you can accommodate your plants’ watering needs.