Summer has arrived, and with it comes the heat. Tackling a few basic home safety tasks will ensure that even when temperatures climb, you stay cool and efficient.
Finding it difficult to get ahead? We hear you. Focus on the items with the five-owl rating to make the most of the time you do have, and then save the rest for when you can get to it. Kicking back and enjoying your summer will be sweeter when you feel secure in your clean, safe home.
Change Refrigerator Water Filter and Clean Ice Maker
If you have a water dispenser in your fridge, you should change the filter at least every six months. And don’t neglect that ice maker. The frosty crust that develops over time will prevent it from working efficiently, so defrost and clean it every time you replace the fridge filter.
Before you give that fan a whirl, clean off the blades, or you’ll shower the room in dust. Also, look for dead lightbulbs and replace them. You’re already up there, so you might as well.
Check and Repair Ripped Window Screens
Not only is it summer, but it’s also insect season. If every winged, crawling thing seems to find its way into your home, check your window screens. Even a small hole or rip could be the culprit.
Repaint Bedroom or Living Areas as Needed
If you plan on repainting the interior of your home, now is a good time to do it. The weather is warm enough to keep the windows open for proper ventilation, but not so warm that you’ll suffocate in the heat.
Change Furnace Filters
Even when you’re not currently using your furnace, you should check the filter and replace it every few months. Look at the filter just to be on the safe side, especially if you’ve had a chilly spring.
Insulate Water Pipes
Both hot and cold water pipes run more efficiently when they are insulated, so roll up your sleeves and do the work. Your wallet will thank you.
Update First Aid Kit
Hiking, biking, and swimming—during the summer, you’ll be busy doing it all. So don’t forget to stock up on basic first-aid supplies like bandages, disinfectant, and more.
Safely Dispose of Expired Medicine and Sunscreen
Delve into your medicine cabinet and get rid of anything past its expiration date, including sunscreen. But don’t just toss it into the trash. Read up on the FDA’s guidelines for safely disposing of medicines and other personal care products.
Test and Change Detector Batteries
Your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors don’t do much if they aren’t charged and connected, so test these important safety devices regularly. Earplugs required. Stock up on those AAs and get it done.
Inspect and Repair Outdoor Play Equipment
Got kids? Then you probably have some flavor of backyard play equipment. Inspect it seasonally for loose screws, splinters, and other safety hazards.
Secure Paint and Other Flammable Materials
Most flammable liquids, including some paints, don’t hold up well under heat. Make sure you store them in the optimal temperatures indicated on the product label.
Wash Outside Windows
You’ve cleaned the inside and the screens, but now it’s time to do the real dirty work and wash the outside of your windows. Get out the ladder and keep going until you can see clearly.
Check and Repair Sprinklers
If you see yellow or brown spots on your lawn, it’s evidence you’ve got sprinkler issues. Check and repair leaks and broken heads to get your green grass back on track.
Open the shed door, and half of your garden supplies fall out, right? Time to clean and organize so you can find those hedge clippers. They’ve got to be in there somewhere.
Repair and Paint Fences
Mend fences and keep things pretty with your neighbors, or you might find yourself (and your dog) on the wrong side of their good graces. Look for holes, gaps, and other areas where the fence could be breached easily, especially by small animals.
Seal Wooden Deck
Harsh weather can take a toll on the exterior of your home, and your deck is no exception. Sand, stain, and seal to get more life out of that exposed wood.
Clean Out Garage
Now that the weather’s improved, clear out the garage and give it a good sweep. You’ll be startled to find all sorts of things collecting under your car. Hopefully you find lost mittens, not radiator fluid.
Head into your summer vacation worry free by scheduling one important safety task from this list each day on your calendar. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll go from overwhelmed to done.
Written by Kaz Weida
Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family. Learn more