Here are eight tips to help keep your home safe and comfortable and control your budget over the summer months: 

1. Give your AC a checkup
On the inside, wash or vacuum cleanable filters and replace disposable ones. Check exposed duct work for wear and check the drain line, which should be cleaned by a professional once a year. Check air vents around the home to be sure nothing is blocking the airflow. On the outside, clear leaves and other debris away from the condensing unit and hose off any accumulated dirt. Visually check the refrigerant lines and electrical wiring to be sure there is no damage or wear. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider the energy and money you could save by installing one. 

2. Switch ceiling fans to counterclockwise rotation Running a ceiling fan counterclockwise will push air down and create a wind-chill effect from the movement. 

3. Check for leaks Most people think of caulking and sealing in the winter, but it is just as important to keep the hot air out in the summer months. Check the windows and door thresholds and fix drafts or gaps with new weather stripping and caulking.   

4. Check the attic and basement insulation for leaks and gaps You can add more insulation on top of existing insulation in your attic. 

5.Prepare for the bugs Inspect the entire exterior of the home for cracks, crevices, and gaps where bugs can enter and seal the opening. Trim back any tree branches or shrubbery that touch your home to eliminate pest “bridges” to the house. Replace standard mercury vapor lights with high-pressure sodium vapor or halogen lights, which are less attractive to flying insects. Keep the exterior of your home free from litter, weeds, and standing water and be sure that all recycling and trash containers are rodent proof and cleaned frequently. 

6. Avoid water damage Severe storms can occur in the summer months. Check the basement for cracks and leaks, build up dirt or place grates to direct water away from the house. Test your gutters and inspect your roof. Check ceilings for signs of water damage. 

7. Maintain your porch and deck Wobbly railings, loose stairs, missing boards, and rotted wood are some of the signs that your deck is unsafe. This could result in serious injury to a guest or family member and be a red flag to your insurance carrier that the incident occurred because of poor maintenance and may not be covered.

 8. Enjoy a summer of outdoor cooking with proper grill care Malfunctioning gas grills can cause fires, but they are generally safe if properly maintained and checked for leaks. Here’s a good article on doing grill checkups that also includes some helpful cooking tips!