Don’t sweat it! Your simple guide to summer’s 8 most important home maintenance tasks
Before you go into full-on summer mode, bear with us: There are a few home maintenance tasks you should tackle to keep your home in tiptop shape all season long.
Buzzkill, we know. But the good news is we’ve done the heavy lifting for you, identifying the top items to address—and what professional help will cost if you want to throw in the (pool) towel. Check these eight projects off your to-do list before firing up the grill.
1. Maintain your refrigerator
To keep your refrigerator running efficiently in these hot months, you’ll want to vacuum and clean the condenser coils, defrost the freezer, and clean the seals around the door. Then, scrub your fridge inside and out—a task that’s “often overlooked, but it’s a great way to ensure the cool air in the fridge is remaining where it belongs: inside,” says Ron Shimek, the president of Mr. Appliance.
DIY: This is an easy afternoon activity—although it might get a bit nasty if dirt has accumulated on the coils.
Call in the pros: Fridge making funny sounds? A pro can figure out why. It might just be replacement time, though. Wirecutter’s top pick is $1,620, and its favorite budget model will run you a cool $600.
2. Keep expanding wood from causing cracks
Hot weather makes wood—and many other construction materials—expand. And over time, this expansion and contraction cycle can cause damage to your house.
“The effect can vary depending on the humidity and climate, but after a while, you may have breaches in the seals around your home,” says Craig Ricks Jr., the president of Acadian Windows and Siding.
Inspect the seals around your windows, roof, door frames, vents, ducts, and outdoor faucets, and take note of any cracking.
Not only are you ensuring your hard-working AC keeps its efforts inside the house, but you also “prevent unwanted bugs and critters from entering,” Ricks says.
DIY: Small cracks can be easily filled with spray foam or wood filler.
Call in the pros: If the trim around your doors or windows looks screwy, an expert can fix the problem. Expect to pay about $160 to fix an exterior door, depending on the severity of the damage.
3. Bust out the power or pressure washer
Months of harsh weather have probably left your siding and hardscaping looking a little dingy.
“This gets overlooked, but it’s a huge part of keeping up the curb appeal of your home,” says mortgage broker Jennifer Harder.
Plus, a good pressure washing cleans out the dirt, preventing rot or other unwanted intrusions.
DIY: Have some fun! Renting a power or pressure washer costs between $50 and $200. (You’ll want a power washer, which uses hot water, for serious stains, and a pressure washer, which uses—you guessed it—pressure for dust and dirt.)
Take some basic precautions before starting: Harder recommends covering any plants, electrical outlets, and windows to avoid any mishaps.
Call in the pros: Pressure or power washing can be a big project. If you’re not up to the task, a pro will charge between $60 and $100 per hour.
4. Give your washing machine a break
Just like your fridge, your washing machine deserves some TLC during summer—especially if you have kids. All of those dirty sports jerseys and mud-soaked pants give the machine a serious workout. Check your hoses for leaks, and clean your lint filter, too.
And when you do the laundry, wash full loads and use cold water whenever possible, Shimek suggests.
DIY: A basic washing machine inspection is simple, and swapping new hoses for cracked, old versions is an easy DIY.
Call in the pros: If something’s majorly wrong, you might need to call for a repair, which will cost between $120 and $500, depending on the severity of the problem.