YOU Magazine - June 2008 - “Summerize” Your Home Spring Projects in Preparation for Summer
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Kathleen Petty     Kathleen Petty
AVP/Sr Mortgage Originator
Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
Phone: (907)261-3458 Cell: 223-4440
Fax: (907)929-6699
License: NMLS Unique Identifier #203077
Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
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“Summerize” Your Home
Spring Projects in Preparation for Summer

“Summerize” Your Home - Spring Projects in Preparation for Summer

Can you believe we are just weeks away from summer? If you haven't gotten all of your spring cleaning done just yet, or you have other projects you've been meaning to do around the house, now is the perfect time to get going on them, before the hottest days of summer descend upon us.

The following tips and suggestions are for projects concerning the exterior of your home.

Shade trees and landscaping
Planting shade trees in your yard is a great way to cut down on the heat inside your home. The climate where you live, as well as your home's layout, will determine the type of trees you'll want to plant, as well as where to plant them. Check with a local nursery for suggestions on both. In addition, it's also a good idea to include planting a shade tree next to your air conditioner's outside unit. Believe it or not, the extra shade will help it run more efficiently.

It's no secret that landscaping increases the value and curb appeal of your home. But there something else it provides. Vegetation that surrounds any paved areas (driveways, walkways, sidewalks, etc.) reduces the reflected heat and sunlight.

Gardening equipment
Get your lawn mower tuned up by a lawn mower mechanic. You should be able to find several of them in your local yellow pages. Also, take inventory of all lawn and gardening equipment, including hoses and sprinklers. If anything needs to be replaced, now's the time to do it.

Check the roof and clean gutters
Please use caution whenever you climb atop your roof. But if you are inclined to do so, late spring is the perfect time of year for a quick survey. Check for loose shingles and overly-weathered spots. While you're up there, you may also want to examine the exterior of your chimney for any cracks. Take a look at the condition of the chimney cap as well. The good news here is that most repairs can be done any time before fall, and whenever your budget allows.

Another rooftop project for late spring is the cleaning of rain gutters. Taking it on during late spring beats doing it later in the year when there's more rain. It also cuts down on dry debris that can be a fire hazard during the summer.

Wash your windows and window screens
If you haven't made this project part of your spring cleaning, it's not too late. Sparkling-clean windows will only enhance your view of the outdoors. Speaking of screens, this is also the perfect opportunity to replace any worn-out screen doors.

Paint your home's exterior
The heat of summer poses many difficulties for painting your house. Late spring, on the other hand, holds the perfect conditions.

Get your pool and patio ready
If you own a pool, you probably already know what to do in order to get it in shape for summer. To keep your energy costs down, remember to reduce the heater temperature and keep the pool covered whenever it's not in use. Doing so will help the water to maintain its warmth. It's also a good idea to do any electronic filtering during off-peak hours.

One thing you probably haven't thought about is purchasing equipment for outdoor activities. From Super Soakers and floats to volleyball and badminton nets, they may actually be much harder to find come summertime when the demand is higher. Stores like Target, K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Costco are great places to start your search.

While you're at it, take a good look at your patio furniture and barbecue. Can they be cleaned, or do they need to be replaced? Once again, options on these products can become minimal, and even more expensive, once the weather gets hot.

Clean out your garage
If you didn't take advantage of this project during your spring cleaning, do not put it off any longer. Otherwise, there's a good chance you won't get to it until the fall. Take it from us, organizing a garage can be an excruciating experience during the hot summer months.

Create a clothesline
If you have two trees in your yard that are in relatively close proximity to each other, there's a good chance you can create a clothesline. Line-drying provides a natural, fresh scent to your clothes, cuts down on your energy bill, and allows your house to stay much cooler.

Now that we've addressed the outside of the house, let's explore some of the projects inside the home.

We cannot stress how important it is to have your air conditioner in perfect working order before summer. Taking care of any issues during the summer can potentially result in an increase in price, as well as an increase in the time it takes for a technician to visit your home. It is not unheard of for a customer to wait two or three weeks for a repair to be done.

In addition to making sure your air conditioner is in perfect working order, it is now a good time to replace any filters. Simply remove the old one and take it to your local home improvement center. Sales representatives should have no problem finding its replacement.

Decorate for the season
You can start by removing items like heavy throw blankets, drapes and area rugs, as well as any darker-colored decorations. Replace them with furnishings that are both lighter in color and in weight. Doing so will open up and lighten any room.

Since your fireplace will not play host to very many fires during the summer months, it doesn't mean that it can't be of use. Simply remove the grate from inside the fireplace and replace it with either a fireplace candelabrum, or several individual candles. The incandescence provided by the candles brings a wonderful ambience without turning up the heat.

Donate or have a garage sale
Now that you've cleared out your winter décor (and hopefully cleaned out your garage), here's your chance to either donate any unwanted items, or sell them. You can always put the extra cash towards taking a vacation.

Just like the outside of your home, late spring is also the perfect time to paint the interior. It's at this point of the year when the weather best lends itself to keeping your windows open. This practice will cut down on some of those overpowering smells that are a result of fresh paint.

If you decide to paint the inside of your home, think about lightening the existing color as opposed to darkening it. Lighter colors are not only inviting, they create the illusion of a bigger, more open space.

Buy fans
Installing ceiling fans and using portable fans are great methods for cutting the heat inside your home. They are also far less expensive to use than an air conditioner. Using fans of any kind also enables you to keep windows open at night, allowing fresh air to circulate throughout the house.

Install dimmer switches
Dimmer switches not only add ambience, they also cut down on energy and unwanted heat. Another tip is to use low-wattage light bulbs whenever possible.

Good luck and happy "summerizing!"

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