Is your home ready for summer?

Lifestyle | August 2020

Spring, so aptly named, is the time of year we shake off the bleak winter months and spring into action. As the weather warms up, we get productive around the house in anticipation of New Zealand’s favourite time of year.

We reckon you should take advantage of this burst of motivation to get your home summer-ready, so when the best weather arrives, you'll be able to make the most of it. Here’s a list of tasks that will protect your property value and keep your place looking great:

Wash the deck and patio

Over the wild and woolly months, it doesn’t take long for dirt, moss and creepy crawlies to take over. Now’s the time to come clean and get outdoor areas ready for summer barbecues. There are many outdoor cleaning products suitable for patios or decks, and some simply attach to your garden hose. Avoid using a water blaster on a wooden deck, as it could damage the wood and shorten its life.

Give your outdoor living areas a service

Once you’ve cleaned up your outdoor living areas, you can have a closer look at any maintenance that needs to be done.

  • If you have a wooden deck, check for rotten boards - these are relatively easy to replace.
  • Rot is often caused by pot plants sitting directly on the wood, which can be avoided by propping pots up on blocks.
  • Keep an eye out for protruding nails that have worked their way up - hit them carefully with a hammer to make them flush with the surface.

Remember that just after cleaning is a good time to re-stain or paint your wooden deck.

Add some shade

While you’re out on your patio or deck, consider installing a shade option to protect your family and guests from unpredictable weather or the glaring sun. There are many choices available, from shade sails to pergolas. For any permanent structure, check with the Building Act Schedule 1 Guidance to see whether you need to get a permit or not.

Don't forget to check with your insurance provider as well, some major renos will require extra insurance, such as Contract Works cover, while the work is underway.

Check the roof

A sunny weekend is a good opportunity to inspect your property’s roof. Check for cracked tiles or loose nails; the sooner you spot these problems the better, because they can cost you a lot of money down the track. You may have to climb into your attic/roof cavity to look for evidence of leaks or other water damage. While you’re up there, check for any rat or mice nests and set traps if needed. It’s best to wear long-sleeved clothing and a dust mask to protect yourself from the insulation while you’re rustling around in the ceiling space. Remember to keep safe when climbing up ladders or on the roof, and if you're worried or concerned, call in the professionals.

Clean the gutters

Clean your home’s gutters and downpipes. Not just because it looks better, but because it helps to prevent water damage and leaks. When guttering blocks up, water can be pushed up into your roof cavity. Always keep your safety in mind when working up a ladder. If you’re worried about an accident, call a professional.

Give your heat pump a clean and service

Your heat pump (aka air conditioner) can be a life-saver on those sweltering summer days, so get it serviced professionally and give the filters a spring clean to ensure optimum performance. Ideally, you should be cleaning the filters at the start of every season. Clogged air filters make your heat pump work too hard, which will likely mean a bigger electricity bill.

Check fences and gates

Being exposed to the elements over time takes its toll on fences and gates, but problems can usually be fixed easily; it’s not hard to replace a post or paling if it’s sagging or showing signs of rot. At the base of a fence, overgrown vegetation or soil against the wood can encourage growth of moss, mould or algae. Clear the overgrowth away and give the fence a low-pressure wash with an appropriate outdoor cleaner. This also is a good time for re-staining or re-painting if you feel your fence needs it - save yourself time by using a spray gun.

For your gates, have a look at the hinges, handles, bolts and screws and tighten any that have worked loose. Over time gates can drop and drag along the ground; this could be solved by adjusting the hinges. If it’s a big, heavy gate, installing a wheel on the underside of the gate supports the weight and makes the gate easier to use.

Zhoosh up your outdoor Furniture and BBQ

Wooden outdoor furniture can get weathered and dirty, so spruce it up with a good scrub followed by a nice wood stain or coat of paint. While you’re there, tighten any screws or bolts that have loosened.

The BBQ gets a lot of use over summer, so be prepared by giving it a good clean to remove grease build-up. Also check the burners, hoses and gas bottle. There’s nothing worse than a grease fire or the gas running out halfway through your first BBQ of summer!

Check your garden and lawn tools

With summer comes more time in the garden, including plenty of lawn mowing. Mower blades get dull over time, so get them sharpened. Pre-summer is also a good time to replace the oil, spark plugs and filters on your mower. Give your garden tools a good clean too - shears and pruners will benefit from a squirt of lubricant and a blade sharpen.

Garden and irrigation

Nature never stops, so you’ll probably have a bunch of shrubs and trees that need a good prune. Apart from keeping your home smart, pruning trees and bushes can be a safety initiative – overgrowth can creep close to powerlines and provide an under-cover screen for burglars.

Check the garden irrigation system is working correctly. If you don’t have a system, consider installing one – it simplifies the task of keeping your garden alive during the hottest, driest months. Get one with a timer, so that your garden will automatically water itself at the best times of day (early in the morning or at night).

Outdoor lights are a fantastic way to create a lovely ambience while you make the most of the balmy summer nights. If you already have a lighting system, check that it’s working properly and give all the fittings a clean. If you don’t have any outdoor lighting, head for the hardware store to pick up some low-voltage or solar-powered lights so that you can make the most of those hot summer nights.

House Insurance

Take the time to check your house insurance policy is up to date. State offers these house insurance policies:

  • Home Comprehensive - Full cover for your home up to the amount you choose to insure it for. Cover for all sorts of unwanted surprises such as broken locks and windows. You’re also covered for temporary accommodation up to $20,000 if damage makes your home unliveable, and hidden gradual damage up to $2,500 a year.
  • Home Essentials - Just want cover for the essentials? Look no further. If your home is damaged by certain events, you’ll be covered up to present value or the amount you insured your home for (whichever is less).

Our phone lines are much busier than usual, so there may be a long wait.

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