The worst of wet and cold winter is behind us, and sunshine is just around the corner. And while summer may still be months away, there’s no better time to start preparing your house for the warmer weather.
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Summer is a time when air-conditioning units, ceiling fans and other appliances designed to keep you cool are in high demand, and those living in bushfire prone areas have a range of additional concerns to consider.
These handy ideas will help prepare your house, both inside and out, so you are ready for the heat.
The hotter weather brings with it a number of potential issues around the home. Having a qualified technician inspect your air-conditioning unit to clean the filter (recommended at least once a year) will ensure it is functioning at its best when summer arrives.
Aaron Flavell, general manager home services at RACV, has some helpful information to prevent some of these issues.
“When the drains attached to a ducted system become blocked, it can in some cases cause water to flow to your gutters and eventually damage your walls, ceilings and windows inside,” he says.
“Coming into summer when the system will be in constant use, it is important that the drains are cleared and cleaned to prevent this from occurring.”
Aaron also says severe summer thunderstorms can quickly cause build-ups of leaves and debris in gutters, which can in turn lead to significant damage if unattended.
If you are lucky enough have a pool at home, chances are it has been rarely used since last summer. As we are approaching the warmer weather, this is the perfect time to ensure your pool is safe and clean for a dip.
“Pools are rarely maintained during winter which means by the time they are ready to be used again, they can be filled with leaves and the water can be dirty which is a telltale sign that urgent work is needed,” adds Aaron from RACV.
Regularly cleaning the pool using a scoop and a vacuum, balancing chemicals (which may include algaecide), using the pool pump, emptying the skimmer box and testing salt levels are all crucial parts of on-going winter/spring maintenance in preparing a pool for regular use. Many pool equipment retailers will test your water for free and provide a computer generated report outlining what needs to be done and the relevant safety precautions when adding different chemicals.
Bodies including the Victorian Building Commission also recommend that all pool and spa safety barriers are inspected by a registered building surveyor or building inspector at least every three years.
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Fanning the heat
Ceiling fans may be an effective and cost-efficient way to keep cool during the warmer months, but it’s importance to ensure the fan is kept clean to avoid potential maintenance issues.
“Excess dust in a ceiling fan can cause the blades to become wobbly and can contribute allergies or sinus problems,” adds Aaron.
Many people recommend attaching a brush to the head of your vacuum cleaner to clean the fan, but even regular cleaning with a feather duster will help prevent future problems.
Dusty fans can cause mechanical and health issues
Aaron says ceiling fans should be turned off when leaving a room. “Ceiling fans don’t change the temperature in a room, instead they cool your skin and allow you to feel more comfortable, so leaving a fan on when nobody is in the room or at home will only add costs to your electricity bill.”
The great outdoors
Outdoor pavings can store and retain heat, which is not only uncomfortable to walk on barefoot but can also make it more difficult for the house to cool down each evening.
If this is the case at your house, perhaps consider shading the paving or alternatively replacing it with a drought-tolerant garden.
Block the sun
There are many things homeowners can do to help control the temperature in their house, but one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways is to install block-out curtains in your lounge room or bedroom.
As the name suggests, block-out curtains are made from tightly woven and heavy fabric meaning, when fully drawn, they can completely eliminate sunlight from entering the room.
“Block-out curtains are handy in all extreme weather conditions,” says Aaron.
“In winter, they stop heat escaping from the windows which ultimately reduces your heating bills. In the warmer months, block-out curtains will stop heat from entering which reduces your reliance on air-conditioning.”
Window tinting is another way to control the amount of heat that enters a room, which has the additional benefit of extefanninding the life of furniture and carpets.
Be bushfire ready
If you live close to bush, forest or coastal scrub, you should plan ahead for the fire season in case a natural disaster strikes.
Each county or rural fire authority has information on its website to help residents prepare in the event of an emergency. However, all recommend developing a plan outlining where you would go to in the event of an emergency, what you would take with you and what would happen to pets or livestock.
What are your best tips to get your home ready for summer? Let us know below.