Summer’s on its way and besides just dusting off the braai, adding some other home maintenance tasks to the seasonal to-do list could save you some time and money.
Financial services provider, DirectAxis, spoke to some experts and came up with a summer prep list that includes some common-sense tips and others you may never have thought of.
The braai is an obvious place to start. Whether you’re a traditionalist or use a gas braai, give the grid a good clean. Even if you cleaned it well after last summer, there’s a chance of bacteria build up after it hasn’t been used for a while. A good scrub with some soapy water and a wire brush will also remove any rust and dust.
Dino Giardino, owner of The Pools and Fire Space says if your braai has a chimney, make sure there’s no soot build-up. Some chimneys you may be able to clean yourself, but others may need a professional clean. If you need to call a chimney sweep, you may as well get him to take a look at all your chimneys, including indoor fireplaces, where soot may have accumulated during winter.
Gas braais also need maintenance. Check the hoses and washers on the connectors as these can wear or become brittle over time. Before connecting the hose, make sure the valve on the gas bottle is clean and clear of dust or dirt, especially if you didn’t replace the cap or cover it after last summer.
Next, if you have one, move to the swimming pool. Remove the cover and clean out any leaves or other debris. Clean the leaf traps. Check the PH and chlorine. On salt water pools check the indicator to see if you need to add any salt. Make sure the plates in the chlorine generator are clean. If not, clean them gently using an old toothbrush and a hose. Increase the chlorine output to the summer setting.
Now, take a walk around the outside of the house. Look for chipped or peeling paintwork. Not only is it unsightly, but paint provides a protective coating that prevents wood from rotting, metal from rusting and keeps out damp. Where paint is peeling, strip it off and repaint.
Remove sticks, piles of leaves or other debris that have accumulated during winter. Piles of garden refuse look untidy and can also become homes to rodents or worse, snakes.
Trim any trees of bushes that have grown too close to the house. Branches waving in strong winds can break windows, damage tiles and gutters. If a big tree or large branch is causing a problem, it’s probably best to call a professional.
In summer rainfall regions, make sure your gutters are clean. Blocked gutters that fill with water can break. Accumulated water can also blow under the eaves and damage ceilings or leak into the house.
Moving inside, clean the vents, grates and coils of appliances. This includes removing lint from the tumble dryer, which has probably been working overtime during winter. Remember to clean the food traps in your dishwasher.
Something not many people think to do is clean the coils on the back of the fridge, using either a soft brush or duster. According to Stephanie Forbes, national co-ordinator for the Kitchen Specialists’ Association, this will help to reduce energy consumption.
Another energy saving tip is to turn down the water temperature on the geyser. For more information about saving on electricity costs click here.
“Thinking ahead and doing some preventative maintenance is always better and usually more affordable than having to deal with things that go wrong,” says Marlies Kappers, chief marketing officer at DirectAxis. “Spending a little time preparing could make summer that much more enjoyable.”