Believe it or not, summer 2017 is winding down. Bellow are some important tasks to perform in August - while it's still pleasant to work outside - that will put you in great shape for next year! If you have a PATCO built home, please be sure to refer to your Homeowners Manual for information on maintainence and simple home repairs that will keep your house looking great for many years to come.
1. Check your washing machine connections
With the kids home from school and loads of sweaty garments to clean, your washing machine has likely taken a major beating this summer. With all that extra use, be sure to check that the water supply hoses which connect to your machine are in good condition.
DIY: If you have worn hoses, you can swap them out with replacements for as little as $25, but it'll take you some effort. After you've turned off the water supply to the hoses, use adjustable pliers to loosen one hose at a time from the water supply, and then from the washing machine. You'll also need to make sure your new hose has a rubber washer in each end. If your hoses are made of rubber, consider upgrading and replacing them with rupture-proof, braided stainless-steel hoses.
2. Prune dead wood from your lawn and garden
Now's the time to tidy up your perennials and clear those unsightly dead twigs and branches. Not only will you have a more attractive yard, but by cleaning them out this summer, you'll create a clean slate—and next summer you'll have a better grasp in understanding your plants' health.
DIY: You'll need pruners, a saw, and loppers (or a chain saw) to really attack this job.
3. Clear the gutters
Get the gunk out of your gutters this summer. Summer thunderstorms can clog your gutters and lead to costly water damage down the road. Properly functioning gutters direct water away from your home, but muck and debris can cause water to collect around your home's foundation and seep into your basement, if you have one. (Clogged gutters also make great homes for rodents and other vermin, just in case you needed another reason to tackle this task.)
DIY: Grab a ladder and shimmy up to the roof to inspect your gutters and drains, taking care to wear proper hand and eye protection. A simple garden trowel is effective for clearing most debris.
4. Deal with wasps, mosquitoes, and other insects
Wasp activity peaks in late summer; these insects become more aggressive and likely to sting in, you guessed it, August. So you'll want to spray for wasps and eliminate them, pronto.
DIY: The first step to eliminating a wasp nest is to identify where the colony lives. Scan your lawn, looking for activity close to the ground. Once you find where the wasps are coming and going, apply wasp treatment to the entrance. Repeat this step every few days until you no longer see any activity.
Also, patrol your property for stagnant water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. First, drain any areas that are holding water -t his step alone should significantly cut down on mosquito activity. This means birdbaths, planters, or any other places where rainfall might have accumulated. For further prevention, invest in forms of mosquito repellant like citronella candles, mosquito traps, and bug zappers.
Finally, check the seals around your home, including doors, windows, and dryer vents. Caulk or expanding sealants should be more than enough to seal most openings.
5. Clean your natural stone
Clean natural stone around your home to prevent food, dirt, and oil stains from setting in. After a summer filled with nonstop grilling fests, family gatherings, and just general outdoor fun and wear and tear, it’s important to properly clean natural stone around your home - whether it's outdoor granite countertops, stone walkways, or patios—to prevent food, dirt, and oil stains from setting in and leaving permanent marks.
DIY: Start by dusting off stone surfaces, because abrasive materials such as dirt or sand (carried home from weekend getaways) can cause damage. Avoid using harsh cleaning products on natural stone; instead, choose a gentle cleanser with a neutral pH (preferably without soap, which causes streaks and film) and a soft cloth. For a longer-lasting finish and better protection against stains and grime, consider applying a water-based penetrating sealer.
6. Get your furnace prepped for winter
When residential furnaces fail, they typically do so during the coldest days of the year, which is why it’s important to have these systems inspected in August, before temperatures drop. An annual tuneup and inspection can help homeowners save money, maintain comfort, and ensure safety when units are turned on for the first time in several months.
Call in the pros: There's no shortcut for this one; maintaining your furnace is something you'll want to defer to a pro. Typically, HVAC companies run prewinter specials for this kind of work, so keep your eyes peeled for deals.