6 Home Improvement Projects to do Before the 4th of July

Summer is finally here, and that means your annual 4th of July gathering of family and friends is approaching fast. Now is the time to get your home and yard ready.

Below are six home improvement projects you’ve likely been putting off for months. Relax! These aren’t major project, they’re just basic maintenance projects. You can do most or all of them yourself in a single weekend.

1. Deck Cleaning

cleaning a deck jpgWooden decks take a beating all year long in some parts of the country, surviving long periods of rain, snow, ice and scorching summer heat.

Before the party starts this summer, give your deck a good cleaning and sealing.

  • Clear the deck of all furniture and other items
  • Sweep away all dirt, dust, leaves and debris
  • Remove splinters and repair any cracks and loose boards
  • Wash the deck thoroughly with a power washer
  • Reseal the deck if necessary

(Note: composite decks may require specialized cleaning solutions)

2. Lawn Care Tips

Mowing your lawn as short as possible is not really necessary to keep it healthy. In fact, allowing a little extra length on those blades of grass will allow them to absorb more sunlight for optimum health.

The added bulk will also provide the underlying soil with more shade, allowing moisture to remain a little longer before burning off in the heat.

Using a push mower and allowing the clippinmowing the lawngs to settle back into your lawn also helps the ground retain moisture.

Also, be sure to water your lawn at night or during the pre-dawn hours to minimize the amount of water that is lost to evaporation.

It’s amazing how many homeowners still water their lawn during daylight hours in the summertime. Don’t do that.

3. Outside Faucets

As summer approaches and temperatures increase, many communities take measures to reduce water usage. One easy way that you can conserve water (without even trying) is to check your faucets and pipes for leaks. Below are two simple steps to figuring out if you have a leak, and if so, to identify whether that leak is inside or outside of your home.

Check your water meter.

First, make sure all the faucets inside your home are turned off and that none of them are dripping. Next, walk around your property and make sure all of your outside faucets are off and that none of them are dripping either. Then locate the water meter for your home. It should have a dial (similar to the one on your electric meter) that spins when water is being used.

If you can see that the dial is turning, then you must have a leak somewhere. If it appears to have stopped, then take a reading and come back to check again in a few hours. If it hasn’t moved by the time you come back, then you’re all good.

However, if it has moved and nobody has used the water inside or outside of your home since you last checked the meter, then you have a leak somewhere.

If there’s a leak, you’ll need to figure out if the leak is inside or outside.

Locate your home’s main water shut-off vachekcing your outdoor faucetlve.

It may be located just outside your home in a vault in the ground, or it may be attached to your water heater.

Shut off the water and check the meter again. If the dial has now stopped, then the leak is inside of your home. If it is still spinning, then that means one of your pipes or faucets outside of the house is leaking.

4. Pool Cleaning & Maintenance

Everybody loves going for a summertime swim, and pool maintenance is pretty straightforward and is something you can do yourself without having to call in professional assistance. But before you let everyone jump in your pool, you’ll want to take some steps to get it ready.

  • Scrub the sides and tiles to prevent algae and dirt buildup
  • Keep pH balance between 7.2 and 7.8
  • Clean out your filter, skimmer and drain
  • Check for cracks around the perimeter of your pool
  • Check water clarity – it should be crystal-clear!

5. Pest Control for Your Yard

If “deferred maintenance” is your middle name and you haven’t done any pest control on your property in years, then you might just let the pros handle this one from start to finish. But if you’ve been keeping up with regular spraying and ground treatment, then you might just need a little touch up for the summer, and that’s something that you might be able to do yourself.

Spray around the perimeter of your home’s exterior walls, and reload any ant, roach and rodent bait stations you have set up. Also, scan the yard, garage, attic vents and roof overhangs for beehives and wasp nests.

Some wasps prefer nests in the ground, so watch carefully for wasps buzzing around your yard and fpay attention to see where they go. If you find anything out of the ordinary, then call around to get a professional pest control company to come out and do a free inspection of your property.

If you’re doing an outside barbecue, ground treatment may be in order. For that, you should probably consult a professional pest control company.

6. Air Conditioning & HVAC Maintenance

Your 4th of July bash is going to fizzle if your cooling system isn’t running at full strength. If you have wall units installed in several rooms, be sure to clean the filters by running them through warm water and letting them air dry thoroughly. Also, check the coils for debris buildup.

In some areas, birds and yellow jackets love to nest inside second-floor AC units, clogging up the fans and potentially causing the unit to stop working. You can simply unbolt these units from the wall and slide them out into the room for cleaning. It’s a messy job, though, so have some old towels or linens laid out on the floor beforehand.

If you have a central AC and ventilation system in your Shakopee, MN home and would like to have it checked out in the summer, contact Elander Mechanical, Inc. at (952) 445-4692.