Use this checklist to get your home ready for summer

Summer is just around the corner. Put these home projects on your must-do list for June, and get the house ready for the dog days of summer. Clint Briscoe, www.Kudzu.com

Schedule a checkup for the air conditioner

Do not wait until the air conditioner dies to have it serviced. Cooling systems require regular maintenance and should be serviced to ensure that they are ready for the hottest months of the year. A properly maintained heating and cooling system runs more efficiently and has a longer life expectancy. During a typical tune-up, a heating and cooling professional should check the system's refrigerant levels, clean the condenser coil, replace dirty filters and calibrate the thermostat, among other things. The goal is to ensure that the air-conditioning system is operating properly and is ready once the mercury rises.

Upgrade to a programmable thermostat

Traditional thermostats can cause homeowners to waste money and energy. An easy way to stay cool and hold on to some cold, hard cash is to install a programmable thermostat. These devices allow owners to set varying temperature settings throughout the day, which can keep the air conditioner from needlessly running when no one is at home. Programmable thermostats are relatively inexpensive, and they will quickly pay for themselves with the energy they save.

Flip the switch on ceiling fans

Fans are more than a decorative element for the ceiling. When used properly, ceiling fans can greatly improve comfort levels in the rooms where they are located. Most ceiling fans run in two directions: clockwise and counterclockwise. During the warmer months, fans should be set to run in a counterclockwise direction so that they create a downdraft.

Contrary to popular belief, ceiling fans do not actually reduce indoor temperatures. Instead, they make people feel cooler by circulating air across the skin and creating a wind chill effect. It's been shown that homeowners who use ceiling fans can turn up their thermostats by several degrees without experiencing decreased comfort levels.

Repair window and door screens

Window and door screens should let fresh air in and keep everything else out. If damaged, screens can allow insects, leaves and other debris to get into the home. To keep these unwanted visitors off the guest list, inspect all window and door screens for rips or punctures. If any screens are damaged, immediately repair or replace them.

Install a soil moisture sensor

Water is a precious commodity, so don't waste it, especially on the lawn. Most yards do not require the frequent soakings they receive. To prevent overwatering, install a soil moisture sensor in the yard. These devices are effective water conservation tools that monitor the soil's moisture content and allow sprinklers to operate only when water is needed. When installed by a professional and properly maintained, a soil moisture sensor can save a homeowner more than 11,000 gallons of water each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Use this checklist to get your home ready for summer 06/03/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 5:02pm]

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