Summer is the time we’re most likely to be outside enjoying our yard and surrounding property. This isn’t the time for onerous household tasks, but it’s the perfect time to catch up on summer maintenance around the yard and the exterior of your timber frame home.
The great thing about a timber frame home is that there’s not a lot of maintenance. You do have some inspections and occasional reapplication of stain or protective coatings, but you may go several years between major maintenance projects. However, just like any house and grounds, there’s always a list of seasonal chores to keep a homeowner occupied. If you live where it gets unbearably hot during the summer, try to get these tasks done early or late in the season.
Get Out The Grill
Before you have your first cookout of the season, make sure to deep clean your grill.
If you have a gas grill, turn up the heat to the highest setting and let it cook for half an hour. Leave the hood down to maximize the temperature. Turn off the grill, let it cool and brush off the racks with a grill brush. Use a sponge and cleaner to remove any remaining gunk, and make sure to clean out the drip pan.
For a charcoal grill, empty out any ash and wipe out any residue. Follow that with an abrasive sponge and detergent. Rinse and let the grill dry completely.
Get Out The Hoses
Winter freezing and thawing can rupture hoses and sprinkling systems. Check to ensure you don’t have leaks in your hoses or damage to your sprinkler system. Make sure the pipes are intact and there is no leaking or puddling at the connections. Test sprinkler heads to ensure they are unclogged and undamaged.
You can have a healthy yard and garden without wasting water if you train your plantings to tolerate dry days. Plan a watering schedule to deeply water your lawn, shrubs and garden twice a week. It’s also a good idea to water early in the morning. You’ll have less evaporation due to the sun and high temperatures.
If you have a rain barrel, make sure it’s cleaned out, the hose attachment is free of debris and the downspout is clear.
Get Out The Shovel
Early summer is a good time to plant perennial plants, shrubs, ground cover and trees. Consult with your local extension agency or gardening center for the types of plants that are best suited for your temperature zone.
Get Out The Pest Control
Garden and lawn pests wage a never-ending battle with property owners. Whether you’re of the organic or chemical pest control school of thought, you can’t let down your guard.
If you weren’t able to get it done in the spring, make sure to use an insecticide on your home’s timbers to prevent damage from wood borer and termite infestation.
Get Out The Concrete
Examine your sidewalks and driveways for damage caused by winter thawing and freezing. Epoxy filler, liquid cement, concrete crack sealant and asphalt filler are all used to repair cracks and minor damage. Don’t forget to completely remove any weeds that have taken up residence in the cracks before repair.
Get Out The Ladder
If you have a satellite dish or antenna for your television, check the stability of the unit. Also look out for frayed wires or loose connections.
While you’re up on the roof, examine your chimney for damage or wear to bricks, stonework or grouting. Clean out the stack and make sure your fireplace is working properly.
Since you’ve got out the ladder, you might just go ahead and clear or repair your window screens. Remove the screens and dust or clean them with a dry paint brush or cleaning cloth. Check for tears and repair or replace damaged screens. Next, use a soft bristled brush and soapy water to thoroughly remove all traces of grime and bug droppings. Rinse with a hose, and you’re ready to reinstall the screens.
Get Out The Filter
Before you begin your summer season of air conditioning, change or clean the filter. Clean out the drip pan at the bottom of the unit, and replace it if necessary. Make sure to trim back all vegetation around the unit to ensure proper ventilation of air.
Get Out The Doormats
If you have two doormats, you’ll do a better job in preventing mud and sand from being tracked inside your home. Place a coarse mat outside the door and a more fine-grained mat inside the door. If your family is usually barefoot in the summer, place a tub of water near the entry for washing off dirt and grass from grubby toes.
Get Out The Step Stool
Your ceiling fans have a switch on them to reverse the rotation. In the summer, switch the setting so the blade’s leading edge is higher than the trailing edge. This pushes the air down and you feel the breeze created by the fan. By using your fan to move the air in the room, you should be able to adjust your thermostat to a higher temperature and you’ll use your air conditioner a bit less frequently.
Since many timber frame homes have high cathedral or vaulted ceilings, a step stool may not do the trick. If you’ve gotten out a ladder to reach your highest ceiling fans, you may as well take advantage of the situation. Get out a dust mop and wipe down the everything you can while you’re up there.
Wipe down the blades of the ceiling fan, dust the tops of exposed beams and brush away any cobwebs that may have taken up residence. It’s a hassle getting out that ladder and clambering up there, so make the most of it.
Get Out The Brush
We all clean out the lint trap on our clothes dryer, but do you clean out the hose that runs from the dryer to the outdoor vent? You can purchase an inexpensive dryer vent brush to easily clean out this hose. It makes your dryer work more efficiently and removes the risk of clogging and combustion.
Once you’ve tackled these simple summer maintenance projects, you’ll be ready to enjoy the season . So, sit back, turn on some music and invite a few friends over to relax and enjoy a summer evening on your timber frame home’s comfortable deck.