Ahhhh, Louisiana Summer. You got to love the triple digit heat that hits you like a brick wall the second you step outside.
I vaguely remember praying for sun, and lots of it, when we had our little snow season some years ago. Although this Florida girl is used to perpetual heat, I do not recall being able to BBQ food without the use of coals or gas in the southern region of the peninsula.
It gets HOT here. The kind of hot that puts a permanent look of pain on your face when you are walking outside the Boardwalk and realized you parked way past Margaritaville. My Fitbit gets happy, I almost melt.
But let’s hit on the greater things about summer like the kids being out of school-okay, maybe this isn’t a great thing for some parents trying to juggle work and being a camp counselor for their children-but for most, summer means a little relaxation. Summer means we do not have the mental torture of figuring out our six graders homework and we can finally get a little R & R in Destin, Disney, or Magic Springs.
Not to pop your inner tube, but there are a few things summer could do to the interior and the exterior of our homes if we are not careful. However, being proactive will allow us to take advantage of our down days and not use our vacation time for house repairs that could have been prevented.
The first thing to remember is your home’s foundation.
As we unfortunately know, water can be our home’s arch enemy. The lack of it during a drought or extreme heat can cause soil to shrink and if there is too much water, like we experienced during the recent flooding, can cause the soil to swell. When the soil beneath a foundation heaves or settles, this movement can cause cracks and damage to your home.
Signs of a foundation problem can be very subtle like doors or windows that are difficult to open and shut. More obvious signs are unleveled floors, cracks in the wall at the corners of doors and windows, cracks around a fireplace, and gaps at the corner fascia trim just to name a few.
Luckily, there are simple steps you can do to prevent foundation damage:
- To prepare for the dry periods of the year, professionals recommend a good ol soaker hose ran the perimeter of the home 24” to 36” away from the outer walls.
- Tree roots growing under a shallow foundation can do a number on your home. The Department of Housing and Urban Development suggests trees be planted no closer to a home than their potential height.
- Surface water should drain away from your home during April’s showers and never collect around your home’s foundation. Cleaning out your gutters regularly and making sure the downspouts are directed at least 3’-4’ away from the house helps nip that problem in the bud.
If you see any of the above mentioned signs or suspect a problem, I would highly suggest calling your local foundation company so they can properly assess your home.
When the mercury rises so does our electric bills. But again, proper home maintenance can help decrease the inflation and keep the inside of your home cool and collected.
A few things to remember inside your home:
- Replace your air filter. If your air conditioner filter is dirty, your system may have to work harder to keep you and your family cool on those scorching days and waste energy.
- Tune ups are not limited to cars. Annual A/C tune ups by an HVAC professional is a good idea and highly recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Leaks, cracks or gaps around windows and doors can let the hot air in and the cold air out making it even harder for your air conditioner to cool you down. Replacing damaged weather stripping and caulking cracks or holes can help keep the air difference where it belongs.
- Proper insulation is a main ingredient to reducing leaks. A professional energy auditor who is not in business to sell you a product but give you an honest evaluation can help you determine whether you are on point or need a little extra in certain spots of your home.
And when the kids are getting to the “I’m bored, there is nothing to do” stage of the Summer and since there are a handful of items I recommended you to do, why not make it a fun “family do” project by getting the little rascals involved? Teaching them about home maintenance other than how to use the remote or snappy chatting is a great way to plant the seed for their future selves and the importance of taking care of big purchases.
Summer home maintenance may take a little bit of your family’s time, energy and get you a few eye rolls from the teens, but it will help you relax and save money in the long run. And let’s be honest here, would you be able to look little Suzy in the eyes and tell her she won’t be meeting Elsa because you had to dip into your family’s vacation money to fix a preventable home issue? I don’t know about you, but walking across that hot parking lot barefooted seems a lot easier than that conversation would be.