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July homeowner to-do checklist

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Maintain the deck

By now, the rain from spring and early summer will have taken a toll on a wood deck. Give it a wash with warm water and mild soap. July’s warm weather and clear skies are the perfect conditions for sealing or staining your deck. Don’t forget to use a wood brightener prior to staining in order for new stain to penetrate properly.

Trim trees

Trees and shrubs go through quite a growth spurt in the spring and giving them a trim not only makes them look tidy, it also encourages fuller growth. Remove dead and weak branches. Trim any long tree branches that come in contact with your house. They can cause damage to your house and allow access to critters.

Water the lawn

The heat of July can dry out a lawn fairly quickly. The best time to water is before 10:00am. The second best time is 4:00-6:00pm. Watering in early afternoon will cause a good percentage of the water to evaporate. Watering in the late evening will not allow grass to properly dry and leaves grass vulnerable to fungal disease.

Plant fall veggies

Depending on your location, July can be a great time to plant vegetables for a fall harvest. Vegetables planted now should be hardy for the end of the summer and early fall weather and need to be harvested before the first frost. Cool-season crops include peas, leafy greens and root vegetables.

Inspect house

Walk around the exterior of your house and do a visual inspection looking for damage or possible future issues. Check siding, brick, downspouts, shingles, foundation, sidewalk, driveway, porch, doors, windows, deck, patio and shed. Also look for water pooling next to your foundation. Take care of any damage or problems you find.

Check window & door screens

Stop mosquitoes from getting into the house through holes and tears in window and door screens. Use a screen patching kit to repair small damaged areas. For screens with large damage, replace the entire screen either with a replacement screen kit or with new screening and spline sold separately.

Fire pit safety

Great summer memories and traditions are made around the backyard fire pit. Keep the area safe by making sure there are no overhanging trees and the sitting area is well back from the flame. Keep firewood neatly stacked to prevent a tripping hazard. Check your area for seasonal fire restrictions and always keep a hose or fire extinguisher close by.

Prepare for summer guests

Hosting out-of-town friends and family is common in the summer months. Prepare for them by decluttering the bedroom they will be staying in, make the bed with fresh sheets, put an extra blanket in the room, set out fresh towels and clear out a space in the closet. Also make your wifi password available to them.

Check pool safety

It’s essential to keep your pool safe for everyone. Make sure the surrounding fence is secure and sturdy and you have a self-closing, self-latching gate. Use your pool cover whenever possible and never allow anyone to swim alone. It is also recommended to use a pool alarm that can be armed when the pool is not in use.

Add shade

Outdoor spaces can be impossible to tolerate in full summer sun. The easiest and most affordable solutions include patio umbrellas, shade sails and pop-up canopies. Permanent shade solutions are convenient and come with a higher price tag. These include a retractable awning, pergola or a shade structure.

Air out basement

On dry sunny July days, open up windows and air out the basement. Poor ventilation causes basements to smell stuffy and musty. Setting up a fan near a window will get air moving and will help draw out moisture. An electric dehumidifier will automatically remove moisture and improve air quality.

Test carbon monoxide and smoke detector batteries

Continue to test all your battery powered and hard wired detectors. Most detectors have a test button and will sound a short alarm that indicates the unit is working. Replace any  non-functioning or outdated detectors.

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