Summer is great. Most of us get to step away from work for a while and relax with family and friends at home or on holiday somewhere special. Either way, it’s nice to have your house and garden looking glam over the holiday season.
If people pop over for a barbeque or New Year’s Eve drinks, you really want your house to sparkle! And if you plan to head off to the beach for a few weeks, you want your house to be safe and secure while you’re away, right? (Particularly if you’ve recently engaged a builder to create your dream custom home…)
So what do you need to do this summer to make sure your custom home is safe and looking its best? We take you through a simple checklist that will prepare your home for the Australian summer heat as well as the festivities.
Prepare with pest control
The heat of summer brings the dreaded buzz of mosquitoes and flies all Australians know so well. The humidity and long sunny days also create the perfect environment for other insects, such as termites, to flourish.
Termites nest in the summertime, so it’s worthwhile checking that the termite warranty on your custom home is up to date. If you’ve been in your new home for some time and the warranty is no longer valid, consider the value of a good insurance plan that covers you for a termite infestation. They can be a very expensive house guest!
Spiders of all kinds make frequent appearances in summer too, so it’s worthwhile spraying around doorways and windowsills to keep them from entering the house when the doors and windows are spread wide on hot summer nights.
It’s also important to check your fly-screens are free of holes or tears – keep those pesky critters out!
Clean air conditioning units and fans
Even with great passive design – which you should expect from a quality custom home – there are times over summer when you may need to crank the air conditioning. To get the most out of your cooling units, get them serviced before the demands of summer kick in. At the very least you’ll need to check and clean the filter pads to ensure good air quality and efficient use of your air conditioner.
If you’re using fans, it’s the perfect time to wipe away the dust of winter with a damp rag. If you have high ceilings, there are ceiling-fan dusters available to help de-grime hard-to-reach blades.
And remember to take advantage of thermal efficiency by using blinds and curtains to cover windows, capturing the cool air inside and keeping the hot air out.
Scrub your barbeque
Summer barbeques are the best kind of barbeques and many Australians find the trust barbie gets a lot of use over summer. So, just before the summer holidays is a good time to give your barbeque a thorough spruce up.
Simply turn the gas heat up to high and let the grill heat up with the lid closed for about 30 minutes. Then allow it to cool and brush it with a grill brush before wiping down with a sponge and mild detergent.
Oh, and don’t forget to replace the drip pans – ew!
Makeover your deck
‘G&T’ on the deck? Yes please! But is your deck ready for summer shenanigans or is it looking a little sad?
Decks need to be re-stained periodically to look their best and stand the test of time, but regularly sealing them with a UV-rated weatherproofing water seal can prolong the time between required coats of stain. We recommend sealing your deck at the start of every summer.
To check if your deck needs sealing, sprinkle some water on a deck board and see if it beads up. If it doesn’t, but instead soaks in, it’s time to get a new coat of water sealant on. You’ll need to thoroughly wash and dry the deck boards before applying the sealant and check the weather beforehand so you can guarantee a few clear days for drying afterwards.
The process is pretty much the same if you need to re-stain.
Wash your windows
Did you miss the big ‘spring clean’ this year? Is that even a thing for you? Fear not because summer is a great time to wash your windows – they dry super fast and the sun really makes them sparkle. Grab a bucket and fill it with equal parts water and vinegar – then away you go with some newspaper and a dry cotton cloth!
And while you’re at it, wipe over outdoor furniture with a damp cloth and wash cushion covers so they can dry in the sun.
Make your garden gorgeous
You don’t want your garden to wither away while you’re away. Gardens are a special part of your home and help make the outdoors enjoyable. So, make sure to have a good irrigation system in place and use the timer to drip feed water every day for at least 10 minutes during the peak of summer. Established lawns will also need a good soaking once or twice a week.
Neighbours can be very helpful if you don’t have an automated watering system but it is certainly worth investing in one if you can spare the money and time to set it up. It will last for years.
Adding a layer of mulch helps keep fast-growing weeds down over summer and allows the soil to retain moisture after watering or rain. And summer is a good time for a healthy dose of fertiliser both for lawns and garden beds. Then sit back and watch them grow!
Clean out gutters
Remove leaves and silt to prepare for big summer rains and, while you’re up on the ladder, check your outdoor light fittings are clean and working well – replace any bulbs that have burnt out. It might even be a good time to get some outdoor mood lighting happening with a coloured globe!
Revisit your fire action plan
Summer in New South Wales and Victoria, as well as other parts of Australia, means storm and bushfire season. If you’re in a rural or regional area, this carries a lot of weight. So, you’re more than likely educated with fire prevention strategies and a well-thought-out action plan in case of emergency.
For those who need a little reminder, you should consider the following:
- Check smoke alarms are working.
- Clear dead vegetation and grass around your home to create a fuel-free zone.
- Empty gutters of leaf debris.
- Trim trees close to the house or power lines (but don’t do this yourself – engage a specialist).
- Discuss and document a fire action plan with your family and neighbours. The Country Fire Authority has a great Bushfire Plan template you can use to prepare for a safe summer.
Try not to feel exhausted by this checklist. If you think you can’t get through it all during the silly season, just prioritise what’s important and start ticking off your list. Then enjoy your beautiful custom home over summer, knowing it looks great and will stay safe as the temperatures rise. Time to hit the pool!
Feel free to give the Lekeal team a call if you’d like to discuss more ways to make your custom home look and feel its best. Or if you’re looking for a quality custom home builder around the areas of Yarrawonga, Wangaratta or Albury we’d love to hear from you!