It’s almost summer on the Outer Banks. Tourist have begun arriving and bike week just finished. It seems like spring was just skipped over. While it has been unseasonable chilly; time is running out to get all the maintenance tasks complete to be able to enjoy the Outer Banks this summer.
Clean Gutters & Down Spouts
This can be a messy task but the power washer can make it easier. Your gutters and down spouts should be cleaned out at least twice a year to make sure there is no water back up that can lead to leaks and water infiltration into the house. Now, is a good time to make sure you have no debris clogging up the gutters and down spouts before summer thunderstorms and hurricane season begins. Use the pressure of the power washer to remove the debris in the gutter and clear any clogs in the down spouts.
Power Washing House & Decks
While you have the power washer out, no reason to stop at the gutters. A fresh power wash to the house will do wonders for curb appeal and make you smile every time you return home. No matter where your house is located on the Outer Banks, it seems there is either salt from the ocean or tree pollen and spider webs from the sound side maritime forest to make this an essential task for every homeowner. A power wash to the decks and railings will remove discoloration and stains. For best results, work from the bottom up. For more information on how to Power wash, check out the Xpert Home Service blog post here.
Prune winter flowering trees like, camellias in late spring. Some early spring flowering trees like lilac, forsythia, dogwood, and rhododendron can also be pruned in late spring after they finish blooming. These trees bear flowers on the previous years wood growth. Selectively prune fruit trees like apple, cherry, peach, and plum to maintain shape and to maximize fruit production. Dead or diseased wood can be pruned at any time. Wipe the blade of your cutters with alcohol after use to clean and prevent spreading of any disease.
Weed Mulch Beds
Begin cleaning up the flower beds by raking to remove the leaves and debris. Remove all weeds hiding as they will emerge in your fresh mulch. To discourage weeds, install landscaping fabric over the bed before adding mulch. Leave a wide diameter around trees and shrubs without the landscaping fabric to allow the plant to breath. Cut an edge into the area around the flower bed for a tidy appearance.
Over Seed Lawn & Remove Thatch Build Up
While grass lawns are not as common in the Outer Banks as other locations, it is necessary to provide the proper care in spring. Remove the thatch build up with a thatch rake. Rake any bare areas to over seed. Plant seed to the depth recommended by type of seed. A spreader can be used to re-seed large areas that need to be replanted. Be sure to water several times a week to ensure germination. Fertilize and feed established portions of the lawn.
Plant Annuals in Pots or Beds
There is nothing better than driving up to your Outer Banks home and seeing a profusion of colorful blooms spilling out of hanging baskets and attractive border beds.
A little planning now can make this vision a reality in July. First, take stock of what planters and beds you would like to freshen up with foliage or flowers. Record pot and planter sizes. Clean old pots with a mixture of bleach and water to disinfect and prevent transmission of any plant diseases. Take notes about the conditions that each pot and every planter bed will experience. Is the location full sun, partial sun or shade? Is it primarily wet or dry conditions? Will they have to endure windy conditions?
Now, when you go to the big box store you can avoid the impulse to buy all the pretty flowers only to get them home and find you don’t have the right conditions or that you bought too much. Take your notes with you when you go to the “big box” store and purchase plants that match the conditions on your list. For pots and baskets, try to get “thriller, spiller and filler” plants to create a handsome container popping with color and interest. The thriller plants have unique form or color to create the wow. The spiller plants drape over the edges and soften the container. The filler plant completes the planter and complements the other two. Consider adding a water retainer pellets to pots and planters located in sun to reduce the water demand required to keep the plants thriving.
Personally, I purchase annuals in the spring and plant perennials and major landscaping plants in the fall. The mild fall temperatures in the Outer Banks allows the plants to establish healthy root systems before the high humidity and sometimes draught and heated conditions of summer.
Outside Shower & Water Supply
Now that you have flowers and plants growing, you need to make sure you are able to give them a drink while getting established should drought conditions arrive. Check hose fittings and hoses to make sure there are no leaks and make sure you have a sprinkler head for watering the delicate plants so they are not crushed from water pressure. Many people choose to water outdoor vegetation using well water instead of city water. Depending on your location in the Outer Banks, you may not have a choice. Keep in mind, should you use well water in the same location frequently, stains can occur from the naturally occurring deposits. Adjust the water heads to not fall onto the house or foundation to cause any staining to your home.
One of the best things about returning from the beach on a summer day is an outside shower. If you are lucky enough to have one, inspect the pipes for any leaks that may have sprung over the winter and make needed repairs. Here is another place for the power washer to wash early in the season and save some elbow grease. You can also soak the shower head in vinegar to remove any deposits should it not have the flow it did in the past. I like to create a spa like retreat in my outside shower with a supply fluffy towels, special gels, soaps and shampoos. Nothing like some aloe lotion to take the heat out of your skin after a day in the sun and salt.
Window / Screen Cleaning
Cleaning the windows and screens of your house makes it more attractive from the outside and allows you to appreciate the view from inside. The windows that fold down and open to the inside allow you to clean the exterior window surface, screen, windowsill, and interior glass. Check out our blog for more Outer Banks window tips. These windows will make the chore easy to complete in a few hours rather than spending an entire weekend. To minimize streaks and be mindful of the environment, a simple solution of vinegar and water, and wiping with newspaper is all you need for clear streak free windows.
Grill Clean Propane Check
Nothing says summertime more than a family BBQ feast. A little attention and maintenance on the grill will ensure you can spend the summer enjoying the meal and time with family and friends. Check all hose and connections on your grill. Wire brush any heavy debris or rust. If you have some rust but want to extend the life of the grill, get some high temperature spray paint and refinish and protect it for another season. Exchange any empty propane bottles (and pick up an extra) to make sure you don’t run out while cooking. Apply a coat of vegetable or olive oil to the racks to keep items from sticking.
Clean Outdoor Furniture Outdoor Spaces
While you have the power washer out, spray down outside tables and chairs. Any mold or mildew on hard surfaces, deck or patio can be cleaned with a bleach solution. Protect any fabric or cushions from bleach by changing out your solution. Spot treat any stained cushions with hydrogen peroxide (check for color fastness in an inconspicuous place). Rinse with clean water and be ready to enjoy your outdoor space.
Clean Cooler, Beach Chairs & Umbrella
There is nothing like an impromptu day at the beach with family and friends. Perhaps you will attend an outdoor concert, picnic or firework show? Make sure you are ready to go by preparing in advance. Make sure the cooler is clean and fresh. Disinfect with a bleach solution; rinse and dry in a sunny location. Check the functionality of beach chairs and umbrellas to make sure they are in good repair so you do not have any un-happy surprises before your event. If you have children’s beach toys, check to make sure they are in good repair and throw out any questionable toys. Clean any toys with a bleach solution to disinfect. Gather all the toys in a mesh bag so the children can easily carry the supply to the beach. Happy treasure hunting!
HVAC check & Filter Change
Before the heat hits the Outer Banks, have your HVAC system checked for proper functioning, ensure it has adequate Freon so it won’t let you down when the heat index reaches 100. HVAC filters work overtime in the spring with the dust and pollen that seems to get everywhere. Make sure you change them monthly to let your HVAC system work efficiently and cost effectively.
Dryer Vent Cleaning Hose Check
Did you know, one major cause of household fires is from clogged dryer vents? Check your dryer hose and vent to make sure it is properly connected, does not have any kinks or blockages to allow your dryer to work more efficiently and reduce the likelihood of fire.
Smoke Detector Batteries
Speaking of fires, replace your smoke detector batteries. It is recommended to replace the batteries twice a year. It is a small task and low cost for something that can save you or your loved ones life.
Caulk Windows Doors
Check the caulk and seals for all your windows and doors. Replace worn seals and apply a bead of caulk where needed. This will reduce your cooling expenses and keep you comfortable in the hottest temperatures.
Sliding Door Lubrication
Is your door taking more than a tug to get it to slide open or closed? A lot of debris can get caught and compressed into the track, wheels and in the crevices. A little maintenance will have the door as good as new. Use a soft wire bush or tooth brush to clean the door track. Use a vacuum to remove the loosened dirt and a wet rag to further clean the track. Remove the door from the track and clear any debris from the wheels and the underside of the door. Apply a little non-stick silicone lubrication for the wheels on your sliding doors. Next, apply a thin film of lubricant to the track. Avoid using an oil based lubricant as they will increase the dirt build up.
Don’t have time to complete your checklist? Let Xpert Home Services complete all or any of the items on your home maintenance “honey do” list and start enjoying the nice weather!