One of the surest guarantees of home ownership is the ongoing list of things that need to be cleaned, checked, repaired, or updated.
This is the perfect time to tackle these tasks and get your home in ship shape before buckling down for fall and this year’s holiday season. Handling these projects now will add value to your home and save you money in the long run.
If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of DIY work that awaits and have no idea where to start, never fear! We’ve created this handy list of the most important home projects to do before summer ends.
Since it involves most likely getting wet, summer is when you want to take care of any pressure washing that needs to be done. You might not realize it, but most surfaces around your house’s exterior could use a thorough power wash.
If you don’t own one of these amazingly useful tools, you can either rent one at your local hardware big box store or take the plunge and purchase one for yourself.
It’s typically best to rent one first so you can try out all the bells and whistles. And if you do end up buying one, be sure to label it with your name and address, as this is an item that is frequently borrowed.
You’ll be surprised how much better your driveway looks after being pressure washed. You can also use this to clean sidewalks, decks, garage floors, patios, and even the exterior of your house — just be careful not to break any windows.
Paint the Town
The late summer months are when you want to grab the brushes and get the painting done, both inside and out.
For exterior painting, the optimum time to take care of this is when it’s not forecast to rain and the temperature does not vary widely. This will help the paint dry at a consistent rate, resulting in a much better finish.
Brighten up your interior design with a fresh coat of paint or a DIY wall treatment. This is a superb way to revamp a room without spending a ton of money.
If your fireplace sees a lot of action over the winter months, it’s crucial that you get the chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year, and twice if you use it more frequently.
Having a warm fire to snuggle up next to when it’s cold outside is one of the joys of living in the Midwest, but tragedy can strike if you’re not careful. A greasy black substance called creosote builds up in your chimney which can lead to a house fire.
Keep your firebox clean at all times, always ensure that your damper is open before starting a fire, and invest in a chimney cap to keep out debris.
Similarly, when was the last time you cleaned your dryer vents?
In the Gutter
This is another critical task that often gets overlooked, and it’s a pretty thankless job. However, it’s important to clean out your gutters before the onset of winter snow. If they are clogged, this can result in damage to your roof and very costly repairs later down the road.
While you can hire a pro to come out and do this for you, it’s actually rather simple to do it yourself. You can use that pressure washer for this, but if you didn’t end up buying one, you can also utilize a leaf blower, garden hose, or a brush or scoop-like implement.
Since this project requires getting up on a ladder, you might want to consider working with a partner. Always put your ladder on even ground and use a stabilizer, if possible.
Another project to handle now is cleaning your ceiling fan blades, air vents, and heating ducts. Dust can build up in these areas and create unhealthy breathing conditions or a fire hazard.
Did you know that you can reverse a ceiling fan’s blades to help you keep your home warmer in the winter? You probably feel no desire to run a fan when it’s freezing outside, but it can actually save you money on heating costs by forcing warmer air down into the seating areas and lifting cold air up and away.
While you’re looking that way, go ahead and check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re working properly and the batteries have sufficient juice.
Flush Your Troubles Away
Water heaters really pull a lot of weight around the house, keeping you and your family provided with warm showers and clean dishes. But they can collect yucky gunk at the bottom and become less efficient, which raises energy costs.
The hassle of flushing them out will reward you with fresher, hotter water and extends the life of this appliance. Be sure you have a place for the old water to go or you could have a huge mess on your hands.
Now is a great opportunity to take a walk around your home and look carefully for leaks, cracks, or signs of damage.
Take a gander under each sink and feel around for any wetness. Check your foundation for anything obvious, and carefully examine your closets for mildew, mold, or pests. Throw out or recycle old papers, bags, and magazines.
Open all the windows, dust, and declutter. Then you can finally sit down, relax, and enjoy your cleaner and safer home.
The Chicago housing market is still going strong, so it’s a smart move to keep your house in the best possible condition. Performing these kinds of regular maintenance tasks is a vital part of being a responsible owner — and you’ll be so glad you did when it comes time to sell.
Baird & Warner is Chicagoland’s oldest and largest independent real estate company, and we’ve been helping people reach their homeownership goals since 1855.
Whether you’re buying your first home or you’re a seasoned rental property investor, we provide a comprehensive menu of services and personalized attention. Give us a call today to see how we can make your real estate dreams come true!