Happily, with the exception of a few pockets around the country, winter is already a distant memory. It’s time to breathe a collective sigh of relief, pack away the down duvets, scarves and beanies, and summer-ready your home.
Lee Mhlongo, CEO of housing finance at FNB, says that there are a number of aspects to consider when preparing your home for the summer months. Insulation is one of them.
Insulation isn’t just for the winter months. Ensuring your home is correctly insulated will keep it cool in summer too. This is because insulation is a thermal barrier – it stops or slows down the movement of heat through convection (movement through air) and conduction (movement through contact).
During cold weather, insulation prevents the heat inside your home from escaping outside which makes it easier to heat the house. During summer, insulation in the walls and roof prevent heat from the outside entering your home. Importantly, insulation helps offset the expense of cooling and heating your home.
On the topic of heat, Mhlongo advises investing in heavy curtains or blinds for windows that are in direct sunlight and keeping them closed when the sun shines straight into a room. Blocking out the heat from earlier in the day can decrease your bedroom temperature and improve your sleeping experience. Closing your curtains can also deter insects such as mosquitoes.
Although welcome, rain can bring with it its own set of issues. Says Mhlongo: “As at the beginning of winter, it is advisable to clear out the gutters of any leaves or debris that may block them. A good way to test your gutters is to pour water into them to see if they flow correctly.”
It’s also a good idea to inspect the interior of your home for any potential leaks or water damage after the first rains. It’s quite possible that hail or excessive rain could damage the roof and allow water in. Roof mould, cracks or water rings are all indications that there is a leak that needs to be attended to as a matter of urgency.
Yay – a great excuse!
Braai often. Not that many South Africans will need much encouragement on this score but it can be quite cost effective to braai. Using your stove costs money and also heats up your kitchen, which, while great in winter, isn’t much fun in summer.
Another aspect to consider in summer is your garbage disposal habits. Rubbish left out in the heat soon emits terrible odours and can attract unwanted vermin and insects. Make sure you throw out your rubbish regularly and wash your bins out if anything leaks.
Make sure your sprinkler system is up to scratch and start fertilising to get the best out of your garden. Now is also the time to make sure your pool’s pH levels are correct. Failure to keep your pool in good condition can result in bacteria growth, irritated eyes and a generally unattractive pool.
Your appliances also need to be made summer ready. Change your air-conditioning filters to keep the dust out and keep the air conditioner operating optimally. Check that air can circulate behind your fridge which will prevent overheating. Defrosting your fridge is also a good idea as ice takes up unnecessary space which means less room for that all-important tray of sun downer ice cubes. Pay attention to your geyser. You don’t need to have piping hot showers in summer which means you can turn the temperature down and save electricity.
Lastly, get out there and make the most of your summer. It’s a time to make great memories and enjoy everything your home has to offer.