Get your home summer ready

Private Property South Africa
Taryn Isaac

With spring almost out the door, and summer just around the corner, it’s time to get your home ready for the warm months ahead. Check out these tips on how to best prepare for the new season.

The season known for family braais, trips to the beach and warm lazy Sundays is almost here.

But, before you throw on your flip flops and welcome in summer, here’s what you need to do to get your home ready for the season:

1. Inspect your air conditioning unit:

There is nothing worse than going to crank up the air conditioning unit on a hot day, only to find that it’s not performing at its best.

So, before the sweltering days of summer kick in, be sure to check that your air conditioning unit is in excellent condition to avoid being stuck in the stifling heat.

Consider replacing the filter in the unit. This will help to increase the efficiency of the air conditioner and it will also ensure a clean supply of air flow throughout the home.

Enlisting the help of a professional to service the air conditioning unit is also important. An expert will be able to easily spot any damage or leaks and will help to ensure that the unit is running at its best.

It may be useful to also check the sealing around your doors and windows to ensure you're not using more energy than necessary to cool your home.

2. Change the direction of your ceiling fans:

Be sure to check that your ceiling fan is spinning the correct way for optimum temperature control.

Most people leave their ceiling fans running the same direction all year-round. However, for effective usage, you should reverse the direction the blades turn on your ceiling fan twice a year - once during the winter season and once for when summer rolls around.

Most fans have a "clockwise" setting and a "counterclockwise" setting, each appropriate for a different season.

For winter, it is useful to set your ceiling fan to turn in a clockwise direction. The clockwise direction pulls the cold air up to the ceiling and forces the warm air that’s built up back down the walls and into the room, thus helping to distribute heat more effectively during the colder parts of the year.

For summer, it is beneficial to set your fan to rotate in a counter-clockwise direction. When your fan rotates in this direction it forces the air down into the room to create a windchill effect, which is what makes the room cooler.

3. Make room in the fridge:

Winter is the season of comfort food. During this time, many of us are guilty of stocking up on our favourite foods to help keep warm and fight off the bitter cold.

But now that winter has come and gone, it’s essential to give your kitchen cupboards and fridge a good clean out.

Summer is the perfect time to empty out your freezer and defrost it. Not only will this help to melt away the icy build up, but it gives you the opportunity to check the food contents of your fridge and to toss out any old food items that you no longer require or which have already expired.

The extra room in your fridge will give you the space you need to stock up on your favourite summer treats.

4. Swap out your winter sheets:

Ensuring your bedroom has light, cool bedding for the hot summer nights ahead is essential.

Swop out your winter comforter, flannel sheets, and woolly blankets and replace them with thinner, breathable material.

To ensure a comfortable sleep, look for fabrics that promise to keep you cool and dry all night.

Cotton sheets, which can be inexpensive, have natural fibres which help to provide good air circulation and won't trap in heat.

Silk and satin sheets, which come with a slightly heavier price tag, are also excellent choices as the fabrics are cool, lightweight and provide a luxurious touch. Silk sheets also offer maximum breathability and comfort.

5. Invite summer into your home:

Simple, small interior changes are key to making any home fit for the summer.

Flowers, for example; are an excellent way to dress up the inside of your home. Not only are summer flowers bright and colourful but some are also incredibly fragrant, and perfect for adding a fresh touch around the house.

Be sure to change up your home space by incorporating lighter and brighter accessories around the house and clear your home of any clutter.

Pack away the heavy rugs, heaters and thick blankets, to give your home a lighter feeling.

When seasons start to change, our wardrobe changes as well. Storing away your winter boots, furry coats and clothing accessories is essential in helping to create more space and shake off the winter blues around the house.

Make room in your closet for more lightweight, cooler summer clothing, by packing your sweaters, coats, gloves, hats, and thermals into plastic storage containers and store them away in a cool dry place as moisture will attract mildew and insects.

Avoid areas near heating sources as well. Rather opt for a dark place which will prevent fading and keep your clothing cool.

Inspect your storage containers to make sure that they are free from cracks, stains, or damage.

6. Let the breeze in and keep the bugs out:

View your home in a whole new light by prepping your home windows.

With winter out the door and summer creeping in, sun-kissed windows and sparkling clean glass are a must to reflect the bright and airy mood of the upcoming summer days.

Start by switching out your dark, thick, curtains for sheer, lighter fabrics to help brighten up your home space.

Winter is known for leaving layers of grit, grime and dirt, especially on windows around the house, which is why it is essential to give your windows a thorough wash, both inside and out.

Instead of using a regular cloth and glass cleaner, consider using a water-vinegar solution, along with a squeegee for a more effective clean - you'll be amazed at the difference it makes.

It is important to also tighten and grease the door hinges, windows and gates around the house. This is especially important for wooden doors which can become warped with changing temperatures, as well as humidity, and wet weather.

And while summer means more sunshine and warmer temperatures, it’s also the time for bug invasions.

Take the necessary precaution to ensure you keep the creepy crawlies at bay.

Conduct a DIY home inspection to check the condition of the windows and doors around your house.

If you have any cracks in the caulking, consider removing and re-sealing the cracked area to completely seal it shut and avoid bugs sneaking in.

Once complete, spray a pesticide around the perimeter of your home to prevent bugs from invading your home space.

7. Examine the outdoors:

It’s no doubt that summer is best spent outdoors, so take a moment to examine the outside structure of your home and its foundation.

If you happen to have any trees or shrubs lining the perimeter of your home, trim them down to ensure that they don’t rub against the sides of your home.

It is advisable to always keep a distance of at least two feet between your house and any tall growing plants or shrubs as these can damage the home’s foundation if planted too close.

Tidying up the flower beds is also a great way to prepare the outside of your home for that summery look and feel.

This can be done by clearing out any weeds and redefining your flower beds and hedges with a spade, before applying approximately 2 to 3 inches of mulch to lock in the moisture.

For those who fancy growing their own veggies, why not plant a few of your favourite summer vegetables in your back yard?

Tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, and lettuce are a few summer veggies which thrive in hot weather.

8. Inspect your roof:

Now that the temperatures are starting to heat up, summer is the ideal time to take a look at your gutters.

Consider having your roof inspected by a professional so that any issues can be taken care of to avoid your home suffering from any leaks and water damage.

Cleaning your gutters of any leaves and debris is also a must as a clogged gutter can often incur leaking, sagging and overflowing which can eventually cause water damage and in some cases, even mould growth.

9. Prepare your home’s patio:

Given the amount of time we spend outside during summertime, preparing your home patio is an important part of getting your house ready for the season.

Cleaning up your patio furniture and floors is a fairly easy task. Simply use your garden hose to rinse off your outdoor furniture, along with a soapy solution to get rid of any stubborn dirt.

If your patio or sundeck has flaking paint or any visible wood chips, this can be sanded down and resealed to keep the area from becoming mouldy.

Accentuate the space with flower pots, scented candles and throw cushions to turn your patio into the ideal summer spot for you and your family.

10. Scrub down your braai stand:

Before you fire up your grill to throw that much-anticipated braai and welcome in the summer season, be sure to remove any grease or residue left on the grill.

A quick and easy way to get your braai stand clean is to warm up the grill for a few minutes as this will help loosen off any stubborn, dry debris found on the stand.

Using soapy water and a scrub brush you will be able to easily remove the baked-on grease and restore your braai stand back to its shiny self before kicking off your first summer soiree for the holidays.

11. Put the sparkle back into your pool:

Getting your swimming pool ready for the season takes more than just filling it up and jumping in.

If you’re like most homeowners during winter, it’s likely that you didn’t make much use of your pool during the cold season.

And after a long winter of hibernation, it is likely that your pool is now a tub of greenish water with an abundance of leaves and branches floating about.

So, before you throw your first pool party for the summer, it is essential to restore the water to its proper chemical balance. Start off by giving your pool a thorough clean by assembling the filtration system, cleaning out the baskets and clearing away any winter debris.

To remove algae from the pool and restore its colour, consider using a pool maintenance kit which contains a shock kit, chemicals to stabilise your pH alkalinity and a chlorine stabiliser. These items can be purchased from any pool or home maintenance store and is useful in eradicating bacteria and other contaminants from the water.

Many pools also lose water over the winter period, so consider giving it a quick top-off to ensure it is at its optimal water level.

Finish off by getting your water professionally tested.

This can be done at any pool store by simply taking in a sample of your pool water to get tested by a pool expert. Doing so will give you proper clarity on whether your pool water is safe to swim in. Here, you will also be able to get advice on which chemicals need to be adjusted in your pool to ensure that the quality of your pool water is perfect.

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