It’s here. There is no escaping it.
Summer time wreaks havoc on everything in the Phoenix area. Once it gets so hot here, we all lose the desire to do any sort of house maintenance, inside or out! However, maintenance is imperative because the Monsoon can arrive, seemingly without warning. It is the season of high winds, lots of dust, and torrential downpours. These storms and the even more sporadic micro-bursts can cause damage in any neighborhood and to any home. To help avoid any issues with downed power lines, flooded yards, and destroyed vegetation, here are some basic preventive actions to perform at the beginning of summer and occasionally during the summer months.
Summertime Home Maintenance Tips
- Landscaping – Trim trees near any structure. If trees are young, secure them with some form of support. As a rule, trim any vegetation away from the roof, so limbs do not fall and cause roof damage. Additionally, you do not want debris to settle on the roof, or it may prevent proper drainage.
- Roof – Inspect your roof for any cracks or broken tiles. Also, check the condition of foam roof coating. Often during home inspections, I see neglected roof maintenance. Not performing simple upkeep can cause leaks during the severe rains and winds we often experience during the Monsoon.
- AC System – Have a local HVAC service company inspect your system to check the compressor refrigerant, coils, and the necessary components. In addition, changing the AC filters regularly will help keep the temperatures down. If your central air conditioner is more than 10 years old, your unit may not be functioning as efficiently as possible. Newer air conditioning units use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as units made in the mid-1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.
- Pool – Make sure to keep your pool chemicals balanced. After a severe rain or wind, it is recommended to clean baskets and filters, backwash, and shock the pool if necessary. Make sure to sweep or clean the pool walls to prevent algae from growing. In addition, keep large vegetation away so that debris does not drop into the pool. Make sure to test the chemicals every few days for Chlorine, PH, and Alkalinity levels. Many pool maintenance experts recommend draining your swimming pool every 3-5 years because of TDS (total dissolved solids) that build up in the pool. This makes it difficult to hold the proper chemical balance and the pool water may appear cloudy. It is not recommended to drain the pool until the cooler part of the year, because a plaster pool can crack above 80 degrees.
- Other considerations – Useful steps to help keep cool during the triple digit temperatures.
a. Use ceiling fans to keep the temperature cooler. Using ceiling fans will help with overall energy costs.
b. Solar Panels can last up to 30 years and may even protect your roof during severe weather. Lighting is most dangerous to the inverter, but this can be protected by a lighting arrester. Lightning arrestors and surge protectors are specifically designed to protect electronics. Solar panels are typically covered by homeowner’s insurance as part of the dwelling. For instance, if a roof is damaged by a storm, your insurance provider may calculate the cost to repair the roof and the reconstruction of the existing panels.
c. Plant trees on a south facing portion of your home to provide shade cover. Both APS and SRP offers their customers FREE shade trees.
d. Purchase awnings or energy efficient solar window screens for both south and west facing windows.
e. Install a programmable or a “smart” thermostat. These are great energy saving products that learn your behavior and can adjust temperatures throughout the day. In addition, while away on vacation it is easy to program from a remote location via a phone app or web browser.
Did you know?
According to Energy Star, the average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills. Nearly half of that goes to heating and cooling. Homeowners can save approximately $180 per year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings.
‘Safety Nick’, as he is affectionately known, is the owner and operator of Home Hazard Prevention, LLC (HHP). As a professional firefighter in the Valley since 2005 with an extensive background in responding to and preventing emergencies, Nick felt that it was time to help the citizens of Maricopa and Pinal Counties learn how to be safe and protect their loved ones in a proactive manner. In 2012, HHP was launched. With the support of his wonderful (and understanding!) wife and two beautiful children, Nick works tireless hours, not only to help save your family’s lives, as a firefighter and a community safety expert, but also to be able to spend quality time with his family. Nick moved to Arizona over 20 years ago and enjoys exploring our great state with his family.
Be sure to contact Home Hazard Prevention for any of your personal or family safety needs. From mobile CPR training to car seat education to infant safety (and much more!) HHP is here to help! Remember, a complete safety program does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. As a group of professional firefighters, there is no one more qualified than us to help keep your family safe! (480) 448-0266 or Nick@HomeHazardPrevention.com