Wednesday, June 14, 2017

5 Things to Prepare your Lexington Home for Summer

1. Give Your Air Conditioner a Checkup
Now’s the time to make sure your air conditioning is in perfect working order. If you test your HVAC system today and find out it’s not functioning properly, you need time to come up with a solution before the weather gets unbearable.

First, replace your air filter to make sure the whole system runs smoothly. Clear any debris on or around your vents or exhausts, and clean off any dirt from the main unit outside. From there, test the unit itself to make sure it’s doing its job. 

If your unit isn’t working properly or efficiently, it might be time to call in a professional. They’ll test the unit itself and test your air ducts for any potential leaks.

If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, now might be a good time to bite the bullet and invest in one. You may also consider a smart thermostat, that does the thinking (and programming) for you to save energy and keep you comfortable. Depending on how often you use your air conditioning in summer, you can cut your electric bill quite a bit. If your AC unit is more than 15-20 years old, you might consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient unit.

If you’re installing a window AC for the first time, it’s probably easiest and safest to call in a professional. If you want to DIY, the instructions will vary depending on the unit and what kind of window you’re working with. Generally, though, you’ll have to install extensions around the unit, fasten it down with brackets and with the upper window pane, then fasten the extensions and seal the unit.

2. Test for Ventilation Leaks
Your air conditioner is functioning efficiently—great! If you have leaks in your Lexington home, though, it doesn’t really matter, because that perfectly cooled air is slowly leaking out. You can call in a professional, but it’s simple enough to conduct your own home energy audit first.
First, look for actual leaks: drafts in your windows and doors. If you do find any leaks, you can seal them up with caulk and weather stripping.

If you’ve never checked the attic or basement insulation in your Lexington home, it may have compacted over the years, which means it’s not covering everything it should. Check your insulation for leaks and gaps. Former Look around pipes and ductwork, specifically, and fill those areas using expanding foam. You should also make sure the attic floor is insulated without blocking vents.

3. Set Up a Barrier for Bugs
Summer weather seems to bring out the bugs!
First, make sure everything is properly sealed. And if you checked for leaks, you’ve already done this. Check the caulking around your windows and doors, then fix any drafts or gaps with new weather stripping and caulking. Spray your outdoor perimeter with a pesticide, along with baseboards, sinks, windows, and doors.

Read all the applicable warnings on the pesticide and make sure your pets don’t get into it. There are also many DIY bug repellents out there.

4. Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction
Yes, your ceiling fan is designed to rotate differently depending on the season. In winter months, it should rotate clockwise to help distribute heat that’s risen. In the summer, though, you should run your fan counter-clockwise at higher speeds to get a breeze going.

Check to see which direction the fans in your home are moving, and, if necessary, hit the small black switch near the base to change directions.

5. Prevent Water Damage
Summer weather isn’t just hot and sticky. It can also be stormy and, sometimes, dangerous. Check your basement for cracks and leaks. Build up dirt or place grates outside your house to direct water away from the foundation. If the dirt you currently have has settled around your house, water will start running toward your house. As a general rule, a grate of one-inch-per-foot will ensure proper water runoff.

Again, make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed and caulked, too. You should also test your gutters. Turn on your garden hose and place it inside the gutter so water begins to run. Then, walk around your home’s perimeter and check the gutter. Look for water coming out of any places it shouldn’t. You should also check your gutters for dips or sags where water might pool near your house.

Inspect your roof to ensure it’s in good working order (remove any debris and leaves while you’re up there).
  • Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing.
  • Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering.
  • Missing or broken shingles.
  • Cracked and worn rubber boots around vent pipes.
  • Missing or damaged chimney cap...
  • Masses of moss and lichen, which could signal the roof is decaying underneath. Black algae stains are just cosmetic.

You can check your indoor ceiling for early signs of leaking, too. You might notice dark water stains or peeling paint. If you do find a leak, you want to call in a professional as soon as possible, especially if you live in an area that gets hit hard with summer rain.

Now is the time to make a few changes around your Lexington home to prepare for the extreme weather. With a few tweaks and inspections, it’s easy enough to make sure you’re in good shape by the time summer arrives.

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