Your summer maintenance checklist for the home

Grills and decks are only the beginning. We’ve got the details, inside and out.

Summer maintenance checklist: Key tips to remember

  • Start with an HVAC checkup, then get a power washer and use it
  • Make your way through our indoor summer maintenance checklist
  • Clean that grill and inspect that deck because both are summer essentials
  • Make your way through our outdoor summer maintenance checklist
  • Trim trees and shrubs, and seal off all access holes to dissuade uninvited guests

It’s summertime! Whether you plan on hosting parties or just want to take good care of your investment, keep your home going strong all summer long by reviewing our June or July home maintenance checklist first so you can get the jump on the upkeep and focus on the fun. It’s getting hot out there. Doesn’t your home deserve the very best of your tender, loving care? 

After a long, cold winter and a pollen-packed spring, your list of home-upkeep ideas might have slipped to the back burner. Now’s your chance to get ahead of it all with a bit of home maintenance that can make your home look great while saving you some cash with preventive care. Most things on this list you can easily tackle yourself. For others, you might want to call in a pro. Check out our summer home checklist below and get your plan together.

Get an HVAC checkup

When it comes to keeping summer heat at bay, your HVAC system is your first line of defense. Regular filter changes and seasonal maintenance are great ways to ensure that your system has the proper airflow and cools effectively when you need it most. At least one annual service visit from a professional is highly recommended and should help your system last longer while reducing the likelihood of expensive repairs. Twice per year (in spring and again in fall) is even better.

Indoor maintenance

Once you’re confident your HVAC system is in good shape for summer, consider these other indoor maintenance tasks:

  • Bathrooms: Clean your drains, showerheads, toilets, sinks, fans and lighting.
  • Laundry room: Clean lint and dust from all vents, exhaust ducts and dryer filters.
  • Attic and basement: Sweep and mop. Deal with moisture or mildew, insects or pests.
  • Ceiling fans: Dust blades, check balance and switch to a counterclockwise spin. Refresh your memory about seasonal ceiling fan direction recommendations.
  • Windows: Replace old windows, target leaks, caulk for efficiency, and keep out bugs.
  • Baseboards: Now’s the perfect time to finally clean these dirt magnets.
  • Smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors: Test each and replace all batteries.
  • Garbage disposal: You’ve been putting this off too, haven’t you? Break out the vinegar.
  • Chimney: No kidding, summer is the perfect time to clean chimneys and replace caps.

Refresh the grill

If you’re like us, the first thing you think about when the weather gets nice is grilling, which is why we’ve selected it as our undisputed first step on the outdoor section of our summer home maintenance checklist. It will certainly pay off later when you reward yourself for completing all this practical home maintenance with a home-cooked meal from the grill at the end of the day. You can already taste that cold one you’ll be sipping grill-side, can’t you? 

With a charcoal grill, you’ll want to empty the ashes and any other leftover remnants of past grilling adventures. Grab a sturdy pair of dishwashing gloves; you’ll be glad you did. Then fill a bucket with hot, soapy water and use a scouring pad to get at the grime. A food-safe degreaser like Simple Green is handy for more stubborn, sticky stuff. Let the grill dry before lubricating cooking surfaces with a light coating of vegetable oil. 

If your grill runs on gas, begin by heating on high with a closed lid, and then let it run for a half-hour or so to loosen all the leftover bits. After cooling, get hot water and soap into all surfaces with a solid scouring. You can even soak removable parts in buckets. Once it’s all clean and dry, as with its charcoal brother, don’t forget to lubricate all cooking surfaces on your gas grill with a light coating of vegetable oil.

Outdoor maintenance

Now that your grill (priority one) is taken care of, here’s the remainder of the outdoor items you’ll want to address on our summer home maintenance checklist:

  • Windows: Wonder why they still look dirty? It’s time to wash them on both sides.
  • Doors: Replace any old doors that are no longer functioning well (and windows, too).
  • Porch: Sweep and mop the whole thing, then target grime with a scouring pad.
  • Leaks: Check out your outdoor faucets and hoses to target leaks and save money.
  • House exterior and pathways: Clean paneling, vinyl siding or bricks with a power washer.
  • Siding: Replace broken, damaged, rotting or dirty siding sections with new ones.
  • New paint: After cleaning the outside of the house, touch up chipped or missing paint.
  • Gutters and downspouts: Cleaning the gutters isn’t fun, but it’s an essential task.
  • Cracks in the concrete: In foundations, sidewalks or driveways, it’s time to fix these.
  • Roof: If you haven’t thought about it in years, it’s time for a roof inspection.
  • Mulch: Surrounding your plants with mulch retains moisture and discourages weeds.
  • Fencing: Walk the perimeter of your property to see where fencing needs repair. 

Deck maintenance

Here’s another of many important summer maintenance tips that deserves a little more explanation. Your deck is an essential hangout spot, and once summer rolls around, you’ll be spending more time on it. You also want it to be clean, comfortable and inviting for your family and guests. First, check for loose or damaged decking pieces or fasteners, then replace and secure them. Scrub all surfaces thoroughly with hot, soapy water and let dry, or use a power washer. 

Next, try the old water test to see whether your deck needs a new seal. If you pour water onto your deck and it beads up, your seal still works. However, if the dribbles sink into the wood, it’s time to add a new coat or two of deck seal. Bubbles or cracks in old deck sealing are another telltale sign that you might need a new seal. Some seals come combined with stain, so you can add a little color while you’re at it. This (or a fresh coat of paint) is a great way to freshen up the look of your deck. If the whole thing is beyond repair, it might be time just to knock it down and build a new deck, or at least hire a professional to do so. Make sure you get at least three estimates.

Uninvited guests

One of the less appealing summer home tips involves deterring and dealing with uninvited guests from the animal, insect, reptile and avian kingdoms. Even tiny holes near HVAC units and small gaps between window or door frames can invite unwelcome visitors. After trying these summer HVAC checkup tips, you can do a few other things to prevent snakes, squirrels, mice, birds, lizards, ants, palmetto bugs and who knows what else from camping out at your place. 

First, eliminate all those holes and gaps with caulk or expanding foam, or even upgrade with improved metal or wood framing. Mow regularly, cut weeds with a weed eater, and eliminate piles of branches or yard debris that could provide a haven for creatures of the night. Trim back your trees to at least 8 feet from your house. Secure your garbage and recycling bins from nocturnal scavengers. Cut back the bushes and shrubs around your HVAC unit, and make sure there’s no room for anything other than air and electrical wiring to pass between the outside and inside.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

Related stories