Summer checklist: What's on your list this summer?

By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Jun. 13, 2013
- Contributed Photo

Summer is finally here, and the rain will be replaced by sunshine. If you are like me, there is plenty to do around your home, but remember that this is prime recreation season. Get your priorities in order, and schedule the things that must be done.

Let's talk about vacation first, speaking about priorities. Don't let yourself get so bogged down that one day you just jump on a plane or in the car or camper and get out of town. Get your home ready to be alone for a while when you are gone. Security should be a concern. Even if you don't think you have valuables, there are bad folks who will break in just to steal the copper pipes! Give the appearance that there is some coming and going during the week. Stop the mail or have a neighbor pick it up. Ask them if they will move the cars once in a while or at least open the garage door now and again. Turn on lights and TV with a timer, or get one of those phone apps that lets you do it remotely. Have the neighbor put out the trashcan, even if it's empty. So what if your trash collector thinks you are nuts?

Inside the house, turn off the washer hoses, and power down the energy-eaters that are not being used for security deterrence. Get a pet-sitter, turn off the water heater at the circuit breaker, if electric, or by turning off the gas. Set thermostats to consume minimal energy use. Empty the fridge and freezer at least down to a minimum, in case the power goes out. Give a friend or neighbor your contact info.

Before and/or after that nice vacation, you might need to paint some or all of your house this summer. Preparation is everything, remember. Repair and prepare what you can. Replace whatever siding or trim will not hold the paint job. Make sure the surface is dry and free of loose, chipped or peeling paint. Caulk and seal around windows and doors. Don't forget the trim, too. Leaving open joints there will just invite water from driving rain in the summer and freezing precipitation in the winter. Scrape and sand wood surfaces, and wash aluminum and vinyl siding well, removing any mildew or mold. Remember to caulk the joints between lengths of siding as well as the joints with trim boards.

Prime and paint or use the combination paint and primer. You don’t have to do it all in one season. Do one side this summer, another in the fall and a third in the spring.

Clean out the basement and/or the garage. Make plans to get rid of the excess material. Turn some of that trash into treasure. Store tag sale items somewhere other than the basement or garage. Clean those two areas on a rainy weekend, and sell stuff on a sunny one. Take the unsold treasures to a collection or donation station.

Rejuvenate the deck early in the summer, so you can enjoy it while the sun shines and the weather is warm. Get all your supplies in advance. You will need oxygen bleach, at least one stiff bristle brush, deck sealer, and perhaps some replacement wood and hardware. Pick a warm, sunny day for the clean-up. Work on small areas. Let the oxygen bleach do the real work. Scrub the area with a brush, and let it dry. Repeat cleaning if it needs it. If you can, clean the underside as well.

Test the deck's superstructure for strength and steadiness. Replace any wood that shows sign of rot of infestation. Repair cracked or weak boards. You can flip some boards over if they are sturdy. Once the deck has been cleaned and repaired, you can apply a coat of deck sealer.

There are many, many other things you might have on your list. Just remember to prioritize them and prepare well for each project. Whatever you do, enjoy your vacation.

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