With the calendar flipping over into June, we are getting into the full swing of summer. As everyone knows, when you talk about summer in Phoenix, you are talking about extreme heat. In this blog, we will go over some basic home maintenance tips to help you get your home prepared for the summer heat.
Phoenix Home Maintenance Tips for Summer
Most people would agree that the single most important system to needs to function properly during the summer is the air conditioning. A failure of your air conditioning system not only results in having to deal with uncomfortably warm temperatures in your house but also can lead to costly “emergency” repairs.
You should have your air conditioning inspected and serviced by a licensed local HVAC company. Many companies in the Phoenix metropolitan area offer maintenance agreements that include a yearly service or twice-yearly service in spring and fall. Utilizing one of these maintenance agreements is a great way to ensure your HVAC system is ready for the hot summer months.
A good maintenance practice that you can perform yourself, is cleaning your air conditioner’s coils. In time, your unit’s coils will build up with dirt and debris, which reduces airflow and requires your unit to work harder and increase costs to cool your home. If the coils become too blocked, it can cause damage to your system. By cleaning the coil, you can help ensure your system continues to run efficiently.
Another simple maintenance item you can perform yourself is replacing your air filters on a regular basis. As with the coils, the summer monsoons season and the dust storms it brings can cause your air filters to become dirty quickly. It is recommended to change your filters at least every three months and you may want to consider replacing once a month during the summer.
Not only do the summer months bring extreme heat, they also bring the monsoon season that can produce powerful thunderstorms with heavy winds, rain, and dust. These storms can cause a great deal of damage to your home and landscape. To help reduce damage due to high winds, you should make sure to trim trees, especially those branches that are close to your house or hanging over your roof.
You should adjust your watering schedule to account for the increase in temperatures. This generally means increasing the amount of water your landscaping receives, but be careful not to overwater and consider skipping a scheduled watering if a summer thunderstorm brings large amounts of rain. For many desert plants, too much water can be as harmful as not enough water.
Another consideration is to move plants that are susceptible to the heat and too much sun into shaded areas or install shade cloth over the plants to protect them.
There are many things you can and should do to help prepare your house for the summer. As previously mentioned, the summer monsoon season can produce powerful thunderstorms with heavy rainfalls. To prevent leaks, you should inspect your roof for cracks and broken roof tiles along with inspecting window and door seals. Replace weatherstripping that has worn or cracked and re-caulk any areas that have cracked or began to fail.
With your air conditioner essentially running non-stop during the summer months, your home energy usage and costs will increase. There are many things you can do in and around your home to help lower your energy usage and costs.
Installing a programmable thermostat allows you to set schedules to automatically increase the temperature when you are away from home. For example, you can schedule the thermostat to 75 degrees when you are home at night, then have it set to 80 degrees when you are away during the day while you are at work. Your air conditioner will run less when you are gone saving you money on energy costs. The next generation of programmable thermostats is WiFi thermostats that allow you to control your thermostat wherever you have an Internet connection. These thermostats provide even greater control and can result in even more savings.
If you do not already have them in your house, another consideration to help reduce cooling costs is to install ceiling fans in the rooms you use most often. Ceiling fans can circulate the air in the room and help the room feel cooler. Now instead of having that thermostat set to 75 degrees, you may be able to set it at 78 degrees, which will save you money.
It is a good idea to check your appliances as well to make sure they are running efficiently. For example, check the coil on your refrigerator for dust build up. Just like your air conditioning unit for your home, if your refrigerator coils become too dirty your refrigerator will not operate as efficiently and increase your energy costs. Cleaning your refrigerator coils will help your refrigerator run efficiently.
Another consideration is installing shade screens on your windows, especially those windows that are on the east or west side of your house. Shade screens help reduce the amount of heat entering your home. The less heat that enters your home, the cooler it stays, and the less your air conditioning needs to run, which reduces your energy costs. Many electric companies offer rebates for installing shade screens so make sure to check and see what may be available to help reduce the cost of installing shade screens.
Lastly, it is good practice to drain and flush out your water heater at least once per year. We have very hard water here in The Valley, which causes a lot of calcium and sediment to build up on your water heater tank. By draining and flushing out your water heater, the unit will run better. While this is not necessarily a summer maintenance item, completing this maintenance in the summer can be more energy efficient due to the fact that your water heater generally does not have to work as hard to heat water with the hot summer days.
For those homeowners who have them, one of the best ways to beat the summer heat is relaxing in the pool. However, as with the items discussed above, the summer heat and monsoon season bring heightened maintenance requirements.
Due to the hot temperatures, it is important to keep a close eye on water levels, which should be checked at least once per week. Water will evaporate at a much quicker pace in the summer, especially if there are long stretches without rain. Allowing water levels to get too low can cause damage to your pool and your pool’s equipment. In addition to paying attention to water levels, make sure you frequently check the pH level of the water.
Dust storms and thunderstorms can cause dirt and debris to accumulate in your pool. While regular cleaning is always recommended, it is important to check your pool after a storm. Clean out any debris in the water, empty skimmer baskets, vacuum dirt and debris that has settled on the bottom, and scrub the tile at the top of the pool.
Performing these basic maintenance functions will help your pool run more efficiently all summer long.