July Maintenance Must-Do's for Your Kansas City Home

The summer solstice has passed, and Kansas City temperatures have risen to make the outside feel like the surface of the sun, which can only mean one thing: it's July. Manual labor around the house is not often a high summer priority, especially when competing with an air-conditioned, popsicle–fueled binge on the couch.

We understand home maintenance can be one of the least appealing parts of adulting, and the Just Say Home KC real estate team is here to help with a trusted list of quick, relatively painless tasks to help save major home repair costs in the future.

Seal Up Your Home
"Using caulk to seal cracks and openings in your home is one of the most inexpensive ways you can save money on your utilities," says Dave Quandt,  vice president of field operations for American Home Shield. "It can also help improve your home's air quality, prevent moisture problems,  and prolong the life of your HVAC system."

Shortcut: Inspect the areas around doors, windows, attic access panels, recessed ceiling lights, electrical outlets, and switch plates for leaks.

Call in the pros: Quandt says sealing and insulating air ducts can significantly lower your electricity bills.

"Air loss through ducts can lead to high electricity costs, accounting for nearly 30% of a cooling system's energy consumption," he says. The Just Say Home KC team recommends calling in a KC professional to do this job. While this can cost upwards of $400 to $1,000, you can easily earn back this expense with a hefty return on energy savings.

Scrub Your Decks

  • Get your backyard ready for barbecue blowouts by decluttering and deep cleaning. Remove debris from all patio surfaces using a broom, leaf blower, or wet-dry vacuum.
  • Tackle any patio furniture by gently wiping down the cushions with warm water and dish detergent, then leave them out in the sun to dry.
  • Make sure to open your patio umbrella to get rid of dust and debris, use a vacuum or broom to clear any cobwebs, and then wash with soapy water. Leave the umbrella open to dry.
  • Lastly, clean the patio furniture frames with soapy water and rinse everything off with a hose.

Shortcut: Consider renting an electric pressure washer to make your deck gleam. These can be found at home improvement stores throughout Kansas City, typically costing about $40 per day.

Call in the pros: A professional Kansas City power washer can be hired for $250 to $400.

Freshen Up Your Pool
A pool full of algae is a summer party killer. Follow these easy steps to keep your water clear:

  • Chemical level guidelines can vary depending on the season and weather conditions, but the pH level should typically remain between 7.2 and 7.8 for clean and safe water.
  • You'll want to shock your pool water to destroy any contaminants, and this is best done at night to prevent the sun from burning off the chemical cocktail. Never add the shock directly to your skimmer or the water, as this can bleach and weaken your liner. Instead, the shock must be dissolved in a bucket of water before adding it to your pool.

Shortcut: Your pool's pH level should be tested weekly with a pool water test kit to ensure that chemicals are balanced and safe.

Call in the pros: If chemistry isn't your thing, hiring a Kansas City pool company for routine maintenance costs an average of $109 to $347 a month.

Inspect Windows
Windows that are poorly insulated or installed can drain energy from your home and give summer's delightful brood of insects an easy entrance.

Shortcut: Examine your windows for gaps between the glass and their casings, and check your screens for holes. New screens cost between $5 and $15 per screen, but this expense can vary depending on factors such as the size of your window.

Call in the pros:
You can hire a KC pro to complete this task for you—for a premium on those hourly rates. A professional window screen replacement service will cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the number of windows.

A Just Say Home agent tip: Ask about a discount for servicing multiple windows simultaneously.

Service Your Washer and Dryer
Is the Kansas City heat causing you to sweat through a few more outfits than usual? (No? Just us?) It's important to take care of your washer and dryer now so these appliances can handle the summer load, and you won't have to run to a laundromat later.

Shortcut: follow these simple directions to maintain your washer and dryer yourself:

  • Chris Granger, vice president and general manager of Sears Home Services, recommends using a bit of diluted bleach or white vinegar in the washer drum to prevent mold from growing.
  • Do you have a front-loading washer? The gasket—that circular piece of rubber that seals the door—needs to be cleaned. Using a diluted vinegar or bleach solution, wipe away any detergent buildup or debris from behind the gasket. Leave the door open to allow the gasket time to dry.
  • Take it easy on detergent. "Using too much detergent can damage your washer," Granger says. "Detergent residue can build up in the washer—and on clothes—resulting in unpleasant odors in the machine, clothes that are not completely rinsed, and, over time, machine components that can fail."
  • To maintain your dryer, remove and wash the lint screen. This is especially important if you use dryer sheets. Are you noticing that the automatic cycle is leaving your clothes slightly damp? Examine the dryer vent tube for excess lint.
  • Extra credit: Residue on moisture sensors—the thin strips typically located near the dryer vent—can trick the dryer into thinking your clothes are prematurely dry. Clean these sensors with soap and water to prevent this frustrating mistake.

Call in the pros: A professional Kansas City cleaning company to ensure your dryer vents are clear. While this service does come with a cost of $100 to $200, it's money well-spent to mitigate a potential fire hazard.

Drain Your Water Heater
Similar to changing your car's oil, you can improve your water heater's efficiency and life span by flushing it. This will also keep your showers as scalding hot as you like them. Your water heater should be drained at least once a year to remove built-up sediment and minerals that could affect its performance.

Shortcut: Turn off the electricity or gas to your water heater, close the cold water supply valve, affix a hose to the drain valve, and snake the hose outside. Open the drain valve first, then release the pressure relief valve, allowing water to drain from the tank. Once you have ensured the tank is empty, open the cold water valve again until water runs clear from the hose. To get your clean water heater ready to turn back on, close the drain and pressure relief valves, allow the tank to refill, and detach the hose.

Call in the pros: 
A professional KC plumber will charge between $75 and $150 to flush your water heater for you.

Plant a Fall Vegetable Garden
Midsummer is a great time to start planting certain fall-harvest fruits and vegetables—think basil, broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens such as chard, spinach, and collard greens.

Shortcut:  Check out this handy guide for a region-by-region list of what to plant (hint: the Midwest in zones 6 and 7).

Call in the pros: Prices will vary when hiring a professional KC gardener, but a skilled gardener could cost $20 to $50 an hour.

Post a Comment