How To Get Ready For The Summer Heat
Just as fall is a time to get ready for winter so spring is a time to get ready for summer. Summer’s heat can be welcome but it can also bring challenges. Here are some tips on how to prepare for them.
Check your air conditioning
If there are any issues with your air conditioning, you need them to be identified and fixed before peak summer. Getting the ball rolling now should mean that you have plenty of time.
Check your fans
Air conditioning is expensive to run. You, therefore, want to keep it for when it’s absolutely needed. You also want to keep it for when you need to cool the whole home. If you only need to cool a part of it, for example, your home office, then fans are often just as good and a lot more economical.
You can buy fans that also filter air. These can be particularly beneficial in urban environments as they tend to have the highest pollution levels. With that said, they can still be useful in more suburban and even rural areas. They will filter out everyday household chemicals such as the residue from cleaning products.
Have a backup water supply
Getting your water cut off in winter is an inconvenience. Getting it cut off in summer can, literally, be deadly. The safest way to protect against this threat is to keep a stock of bottled water. This doesn’t have to mean buying use-once bottles of water. You can buy reusable bottles and fill them with the tap.
If you don’t have space for this then at least buy some folding water containers you can use if necessary. If a water company has to do planned maintenance in the summer, they will give customers as much notice as they can. If they have to do unplanned repair work, they will still let customers know as quickly as they can.
Make sure that you know how your water company sends notifications and make sure you can receive them. You should always make sure that your water company has your correct contact details (street address, phone/cell, and email).
Likewise, make sure you safelist your water company’s domain in your email. You may also find it useful to follow them on social media, particularly Twitter. Even if you don’t use it regularly, it’s increasingly common for companies to post key service updates here.
Have a water butt for your garden
If you have a garden then a water butt can be a great investment. This doesn’t just have to be used to catch rain (although that’s often its main purpose). It can also be used for gray water, for example, if you wash dishes by hand, the water can be reused for your garden. If you cook food in plain water (without oil or salt) that can go in too.
Touch up your insulation
In winter, insulation is what keeps your house warm. In summer, insulation is what keeps your house cool. You probably last checked your insulation in fall as part of your preparations for winter. Now that spring is here, give it a double-check to make sure that it’s still in good condition. Again, give yourself plenty of time to touch it up if necessary.
Switch out your window treatments
In winter, generally, the main purpose of window treatments is to prevent heat from the house from escaping through the glass in the window. In summer, generally, the main purpose of window treatments is to control (i.e. block) light. This can also help to reduce the level of heat.
With that said, even in summer, there may be times when you want to keep warmth inside the house. This will typically be in the evenings, particularly in early and late summer. The sun goes down later in summer but when it does finally set, temperatures can drop significantly.
This means that, in summer, you may need two sets of window treatments. These would typically be sheers and curtains/drapes or blinds/shutters and curtains/drapes. Sheers can be more attractive than blinds/shutters but blinds with slats and shutters both offer much more control over how much light you let in.
Protect your doors
Where sheers can be very useful is at entrances. They let through the light while keeping out bugs. If you want something a bit more robust, then bamboo curtains may be a good alternative.
Bamboo curtains are made of individual bamboo canes strung together to form a curtain. This means that humans and larger pets can push right through them while bugs are kept out. As a bonus, bamboo curtains also offer some insulation.
Remember that the more determined a bug is to get into your home, the more likely it is that they’ll find some way to do so. This means that you need to be really scrupulous about keeping foodstuffs covered. This doesn’t just go for sweet food, pet food can attract bugs too.
You may be able to increase your bug protection by using menthol and/or citrus scents. Bugs tend to dislike these. Growing fresh herbs can bring in the scents you need and give your cooking a boost. If you’re not up to this then you can try candles and/or essential oil diffusers. Just check to make sure that the oils you use are safe for pets, especially cats.
Clear out your bathroom
This may seem like an odd tip but it’s actually a very important one. Go through your bathroom and check if there are any seasonal products from last year. If you keep stores in other places as well, go through them too. If you find anything, assume that it needs to be disposed of unless it’s both clearly in date and clearly unused.
Very few personal-care products last from one year to the next (and neither does makeup). At best, old sunscreen and old bug-repellant will give a minimal level of protection. It’s far more likely that they’ll give no protection at all. Just get rid of them and stock up on fresh and effective products.