I love summertime for a few reasons. One, as a contractor, it tends to be my busy season, and I love working at the job site. It stays light longer, so that means more time spent on my new deck after work every day. And though I barbecue even in the dead of winter, nothing’s better than throwing a burger or steak on the grill during the summer.
Of course, the summer season brings summertime chores — and as much as we all want to kick back and enjoy the warm weather, we still have a few jobs to take care of around the house.
In particular, summer is the best time to pay attention to the health of your driveway.
Inspect your driveway
Your driveway has an important job at home that go beyond giving you a place to park your car. When properly graded, they help with water management. If the driveway is flat, or slants toward your home, you will see water gathering near your home, increasing your chances of a leak. When slated away from your home, it keeps water moving away.
As long as your driveway isn’t taking a beating from really heavy trucks, it won’t require much maintenance. Depending on use and your climate, typically, it should only need resealing every three years or so (yearly for concrete). Most homeowners will have asphalt driveways (though stamped concrete and interlocking stone are other potential materials), so you’ll want to use a latex sealant for maximum effectiveness.
Summertime is the best time of year to reseal your driveway. Why? For one thing, the heat will make the sealant dry quicker. Heat also makes material expand, and when the driveway is at full expansion, the sealant can reach all the pores in the driveway more easily — making it a more effective process.
If your driveway has a few small cracks, you should fill them quickly on your own. You should be able to get an asphalt crack repair kit at your local hardware store. Your goal here is to prevent water from sneaking into those cracks. If you don’t, when that water begins to freeze and thaw, it will start to heave the asphalt out of place, damaging the integrity of your driveway. When it gets to that point, you’ll be looking at a full replacement — so address cracks quickly while they’re small.
What causes cracks? Well, oil for one, so if your car is leaking fluids, get it fixed quickly. Tree roots are powerful, and can grow underneath the driveway, eventually pushing upwards through it. Don’t have any major trees or shrubs close to the driveway if you can help it. Finally, heavy automobiles can cause a lot of wear and tear over time. Your car, truck, or van are probably OK, but if you’ve got lots of big trucks using your driveway daily, you might want to consider using a material stronger than asphalt.
Keep cool indoors
When it gets really unbearable outside, most of us flee indoors with the air conditioning. Turning up the air conditioner keeps us cool, sure, but too much, and you start to see your energy bills getting out of control. So the name of the game is finding ways to keep us cool, without breaking the bank.
First, make sure your HVAC is running efficiently. During the summer months, especially, you’ll want to be checking your filter at least every month, and changing it as necessary. This keeps your system for going into overdrive just to keep you at a relatively cool temperature.
Make good use of your ceiling fans. Fans don’t actually cool the air, but the air movement helps keep our personal temperatures in check. Each summer, make sure you’ve switched the fan orientation to run counterclockwise. This pushes the air down toward you, helping cool your down. Remember, a ceiling fan is useless if you’re not in the room to feel the effects. So to save energy, when you leave the room, switch it off.