Show Notes: Summertime Safety and more
It’s officially summer, so let’s talk summer everything today. Be sure to check the smart safety list to get your home ready for the July 4th holiday.
Annoying Things About Summer and What to Do About Them
Doors That Stick
Wooden doors can swell, outgrowing their jambs (what holds doors steady as you open and close them) on humid days, causing an annoyingly sticky situation.
What to do:
Tighten the hinge screws. There’s a chance your door’s just slipped out of alignment.
Scale back the weather stripping. If you installed it in the winter to keep out drafts, it could be too thick come summer.
Shave down the door. As a last resort, use a planer or sander to trim down the door ever so slightly, concentrating on the area with a visibly worn finish. Seal the newly exposed edge with paint or wood sealant to block out future humidity.
Carpenter Ants and Carpenter Bees
Although named for a helpful trade, both carpenter ants and carpenter bees often make their nests by burrowing into your home’s wood, which can cause some really pricey damage on top of their annoying presence.
What to do:
Keep all exposed wood sealed or painted. Don’t forget the bottoms of window sills!
Direct water away from wood. Gutters and flashing will help keep wood dry.
Evict existing colonies. Look for sawdust trails to find the entrance, then use a rinsed squeezable ketchup bottle to blow an insecticide dust or boric acid powder into the hole.
Slamming Screen Doors
Slam. Slam. Slam. Annoying, right? Beyond rattling your bliss, this sound of summer can damage the hinges of your screen door.
What to do:
Adjust your door closer. If your door has a closer, find the perfect bang-free tension by simply turning the screw on pneumatic models or rotating the body on hydraulic styles.
Add a closer. It costs just $10 to $20 to retrofit an older screen door.
Apply felt pads to the door frame. How’s that for a low-cost option?
Holiday Or Any Day Backyard Safety Checklist
The backyard is a popular spot in the summer, particularly if you enjoy entertaining or have children. Here are a few tips to make your yard safer for the 4th of July holiday or any day.
1. Check Your Patio for Structural Weaknesses
Wooden patio and decks are very susceptible to water damage, which typically manifests as rotted and warped boards. Rot spreads quickly, and failing wood can splinter underfoot. Brick and stone patios also require upkeep, as missing grout or broken tiles can be tripping hazards.
Loose or missing railing slats can also prove dangerous for small children, especially if the patio area is raised.
2. Practice Proper Safety around Grills and Fire Pits
Grilling produces divine scents and meals. It also yields a large number of home fires — an average of 8,900 annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Safety issues can arise for a few different reasons.
- Irregular cleaning and maintenance
- Proximity to a flammable structure, such as a patio railing or tree
- Gas or propane leaks
- Lack of attention
- Use of improper cooking utensils
Fire pits — even those not used for cooking — are also hazardous, especially those models that don’t have any real barrier around the open flame.
To address these safety concerns, invest in a few grill and fire pit safety items. A flame-resistant grill mat can help reduce outdoor cooking fires, while a fire pit cover or spark screen provide good defenses for fire rings.
It’s also a good idea to purchase a portable fire extinguisher. If you’re not sure which class or type of extinguisher you need.
3. Implement Specific Rules and Safety Measures for Pool Use
Pools can be a lot of fun, but they also require a little more effort to keep them safe. Without a gated fence around the pool, for instance, a cool summer soak can quickly become dangerous.
Another hazard with backyard pools is the lack of supervision and rules found at most community pools. If kids are diving in shallow areas, and if there’s no one supervising them as they play, the risk of injury or drowning goes up substantially.
4. Make Sure Play Sets and the Surrounding Areas Are Sturdy and Secure
Scraped knees are normal, but you should take steps to avoid serious playground-related injuries in the backyard. Metal playground equipment, specifically slides and swings, can become extremely hot during the summer months. If your yard doesn’t cast natural shade over your play set, it may get hot enough to cause burns.
Play sets can also harbor other hazards, too — bees or wasps might nest in the structure, loose bolts or railings can cause a fall, and the surrounding substrate may be spread too thin to provide much protection.
5. Verify that Garden Plants and Supplies Are Out of Reach for Kids and Pets
A yard can harbor any number of poisonous plants. While most cause only a rash or an upset stomach, some can be deadly to animals and young kids. Oleanders, for instance, are very pretty but can be lethal.
Keep in mind that many lawn and garden products, like weed killers or pesticides, are also toxic. Toddlers, preschoolers, and even puppies get into things they shouldn’t, and that can include poisonous chemicals if they’re not stored properly.
6. Use and Store Lawn Mowers and Other Power Tools Safely
Roughly 35,000 people are injured by power lawn mowers every year. Some of those instances are the result of improper handling — someone wears flip-flops or removes the safety guards to mow the lawn faster. Other accidents happen due to yard debris or rocks getting spun through the mower.
If the shed where you store your mower and other power tools isn’t secure, there’s also an increased risk that a child could get inside and hurt themselves on one of the gadgets.
7. Bring Home Security System Elements into the Yard
Home security systems often emphasize the inside of the home, featuring intruder alerts and interior video surveillance. However, the outside plays a pivotal role in ensuring end-to-end security as well.
The backyard is your first line of defense, as well as a potential target. Poorly lit areas can provide good cover for intruders, and an unmonitored yard provides easy access to would-be burglars.
Other ordinary backyard fixtures, like pools and sheds, can also become accident sites if they aren’t properly secured.
8. Take Care of Any Weak Tree Branches
In the winter, ice, wind, and snowstorms can wreak havoc on tree limbs and roofs. When summer comes, those dead and weak limbs are especially susceptible to temperature changes, meaning they could drop without much warning. Those falling branches could endanger kids playing on a swing or in a tree house.
A backyard has many moving parts when it comes to safety, but you can keep track of them all with this checklist. Use the above solutions to address any security concerns, and you’ll soon have the best — and safest — backyard on the block.
Summer HVAC Maintenance
Buy a better filter if you haven’t already. The new high-efficiency pleated filters have an electrostatic charge that works like a magnet to grab the tiniest particles — even those that carry bacteria.
Replace the filter every 30 days during the summer. If it looks dark and clogged, change it. If you have pets, you’ll probably need to change every month.
Make sure there’s at least two feet of clearance around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps.
Remove debris, such as leaves, pollen, and twigs weekly during spring, summer, and fall from top and sides of outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps. Don’t allow the lawn mower to discharge grass clippings onto the unit.
Summer Hardwood Floor Care
Shade over Sunlight
When we forget to apply ample sunscreen during the summer months, we feel the burn. Those same UV rays are no friend to our pristine hardwood floors. Discoloration is the last thing we want for our Brazilian cherry or mahogany planks, but that’s exactly what can happen from direct sunlight. Wood floors will also age faster from overexposure. Hardwood floors love the shade just like we do, so make sure to use curtains and blinds in these rooms.
The Right Way to Clean
It’s not summer without backyard cookouts, BBQs, and block parties. Hosting means cleaning, and some people have the misconception that the right way to clean hardwood floors includes polish and wax. In reality, vacuuming with a floor attachment is the best way to care for your hardwood. You actually want to avoid using wax, oil-based cleaners, and acidic floor cleaners. For an extra clean finish and removing food stains, use an all-natural, organic, hardwood-specific cleaner.
Keep Humidity at Bay
Here’s a summer tip for hardwood floors that you may have never considered: use a dehumidifier. Nobody enjoys the high humidity levels during the summer, and that includes our hardwood surfaces. A dehumidifier will vastly decrease the possibility of your planks warping or cracking. The benefits far outweigh the cost, and you can continue using the humidifier function during the cold winter months.
Use these summer tips to enjoy a worry-free summer while maintaining the beauty of your home’s hardwood flooring. Remember to give your hardwood flooring the care it deserves. If you do, your wood floors will serve your home dutifully and beautifully for years to come.
2017’s Best Hardscaping Ideas
A yard wouldn’t be very functional without some hardscape features, so here is the ultimate 2017 list of the best hardscape ideas for your yard.
- Split-Level Patios. This is the ultimate landscape design for homeowners whose property is on a slope. All homeowners want to be able to utilize their backyard space, but many whose houses are built on a slope aren’t sure what to do with the awkward space. The solution is to build a tiered, or split-level patio system. One level can feature an outdoor kitchen and seating area, another a build-in fire pit, and another a beautiful garden full of local area flowers.
- Permeable Paver Driveways & Walkways. Want something that’s going to last longer than a traditional asphalt driveway or a gravel walkway? Permeable Pavers are the best solution for homeowners who love the look of more natural stone but don’t want to skimp on functionality. These pavers, which work to funnel rainwater away from your property, are an environmentally friendly solution to traditional asphalt driveways. These pavers are also a better option for longer-lasting patios and walkways; the stones rarely need to be replaced!
- Outdoor Kitchens. A repeat from last year’s list, outdoor kitchens continue to be a high-demand hardscape feature for homeowners. The thought of an outdoor kitchen may seem daunting to some homeowners, but keep in mind that your outdoor kitchen doesn’t always need to include all the bells and whistles. Depending on what your needs are and how much space your yard allots, Premier Landscape can work with you to determine what kitchen features you want most.
Water Features. We just can’t get enough of the soothing sound of water! Water features are a great focal point of any yard and allow homeowners to escape from their busy lives and relax. Fountains, ponds, man-made streams and waterfalls — all of which are easily incorporated with the surrounding landscape and hardscape features.