Maybe You Can’t Beat the Heat, but Your Home Doesn’t Have to Take a Beating Either

Just as most of the country was getting spoiled with cooler temps summer woke up and decided to make up for lost time. When temps soar into the 90’s and never drop much below 75 it doesn’t matter how heat resistant you are, your home is going to face some challenges inside and out.

Protecting Your Home Investment Inside

Shield Your Windows

Not only can the blazing sun drive temps inside the house up and put unnecessary wear on your A/C unit and your budget, but it can also cause damage and fading to everything it touches this time of year. You can close your blinds and drapes during the day when it’s this hot, and if you don’t have blinds or shades it’s worth installing them since they can reduce solar heat gain by over 40 %. You can also add outdoor solutions like covered arbors or awnings, especially on the east and west sides of the house. It’s too hot to plant most things successfully this time of year, but consider putting in shade trees or decorative vines that will offer some protection for next summer.

Move the Air

Trapped hot air not only makes you miserable, it’s not good for the interior of your home either. Exhaust fans like the ones in your kitchen and bathrooms are designed to pull hot air up up and away. Be sure to use them when you cook or shower, you might even consider letting one or two run during the hottest time of the day if you have rooms that tend to build up heat. Also make sure your ceiling fans are set to rotate counter-clockwise in summer. And if you have rooms without ceiling fans this is the time to install them.

Check the Equipment

If you haven’t had your outdoor compressor updated, it’s worth the investment to get a high-efficiency unit. Just be sure it’s properly paired with the indoor unit. In humid climates (yes, St. Louis folks it’s a lot more humid here than Denver for example) make sure that your air conditioner is capable of getting rid of excess humidity. Look for a model with a multi-speed blower. And don’t use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is running — that just makes your air conditioner work harder. Change out your filter monthly as even a moderate amount of dust build-up can reduce air flow dramatically. Of course having all your cooling equipment and ductwork properly serviced and maintained is a must.

Protecting Your Home Investment Outside

Keep it Green

Lawns, trees, gardens, and other landscaping installations need extra care when temps peak and rainfall drops. Properly mulching your plantings can help hold moisture in, but you’ll most likely need to water the plantings you value most. The key to effective watering is to get the water where it needs to go (which is on the soil not on the leaves or evaporated into the air) and to let it get to the roots without running off to where it does you no good. Of course drip irrigation systems with timers make everything easier, but whether it’s automatic or manual when and how you water makes a difference. Try watering twice in shorter intervals rather than leaving the water on for a long period of time — you’ll reduce water run off. And never water during the heat of the day when you’ll lose much of the moisture to evaporation.

Keep it As Good As New

Outdoor furniture can deteriorate in the heat too. Wicker might have a tendency to dry out and split, so pick a day with some breeze, give your pieces a mist with the garden hose in the morning, and leave in the shade to dry during the day. Fabrics crack in the heat too and can benefit from the same treatment. Teak and other woods can be prone to cracking, but make sure you check with the manufacturer before applying oil or any other treatment as that can cause it to mildew more easily. Take a good look at your metal furniture too — if the varnish is bubbling or rusting you’ll want to put it on your to-do list to sand off the damaged area and apply new paint or varnish (but wait until it cools off to actually do it.)

Keep it Safe

Taking the kitchen outside when it’s hot is a great idea — who wants to add any heat inside the house? But it’s important to use caution, especially when it’s hot and dry outside. Make sure you’re using the grill in a well-ventilated area that isn’t dangerously close to flammable materials. A leafy vine might not catch fire from a random spark under normal circumstances, but when it’s dry from a few long hot summer days it might be a match in disguise. Be sure the grill is on a stable surface and that you have an extinguisher and baking soda both in reach. To protect your patio or deck consider putting a heat resistant pad under your grill. and never move the grill while it’s hot or leave it unattended.

There you have it. According to the forecast the temps aren’t going anywhere, but your home can take the heat without you losing your cool.


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