May is quite an interesting month. It seems to be a month of firsts and lasts; the last full month of spring, the last day of school, the first of many holidays, the first start to summer vacations, the first gripes on it being too hot, and the list goes on.
For most of us, we managed to survive the dreaded interior “Spring Cleaning,” the kids are now whining about having to mow the grass almost every weekend, the gardens have been planted, and the pollen is finally starting to slack off, and it’s time to fire up the BBQ. Hmmm, maybe that is why it is National Barbeque Month and National Hamburger Month. (Funny 2008 editorial on May being National “Everything” Month)
On the Homeowner’s front, we cannot but help stress the following three: National Electrical Safety Month, National Building Safety Month (used to be National Building Safety Week), and of course one of our major areas of concern down here, National Deck Safety Month. If you have been following along with our Monthly Maintenance checklist, most of these items that they bring up have already been covered, but we would still recommend that you do a quick walk through based on their suggestions. Now onto the May’s Homeowner Maintenance Checklist and the Exterior Spring Cleaning…
- Change out your HVAC filter.
- Test your Smoke Detector
- Your Decks, Porches & Docks – if you haven’t been following our regular maintenance program, be sure to check out our article on National Deck Safety Month
- Outdoor play equipment, pools, furniture, and grills – make sure they are clean, bolts tight, etc… before they are used for the first time
- Laundry Vents – time to open them up and clean the lint out.
- Gutters & Roofing (I know we did it back in March– but with the Severe Weather we had last week…)
- Clean your gutters and make sure your downspouts are clear & water flows freely
- Clean any debris off your roof, especially in the valleys, around your ridge vents and any other vents. While you are up there check your roof for any missing or damaged shingles, cracked or missing chunks of tar, rubber or silicone and make any small roof repairs required now.
- Exterior Painting – this is one of the best months to get this done in as the nights do not get to cool and the sun isn’t scorching in most parts of the country
- If you have not removed your Storm Windows yet, you should take them down, get them cleaned, and store them away safely.
- Your regular windows need to be cleaned, and you should verify that they operate and seal correctly.
- Your screens should be cleaned and checked for holes that should be fixed as required. You might consider replacing the screens on your windows with Solar Screens, unless your windows are appropriately shaded or have a Low-E coating on them.
- For those of you with fireplaces, make sure you get them checked out by a Certified Chimney Sweep. It is also time to start stocking up on wood so that is dried out and seasoned for wintertime.
- Make sure you pull out any debris under your deck, porches, and around your AC compressor.
- It is time to get your house inspected and treated for pests, while termites and most other pests are active all year round; they are particularly active during this time of year. Some of their favorite access, feeding, and hiding area’s:
- Plumbing and Shower pan leaks
- Cracks in the foundation
- Soil that is graded above the foundation (should be a minimum of 4″ but 8” below the siding is preferred)
- Firewood stacked next to the house
- Wooden fences attached to the house
- Mulch, and leaves piled close to the house
- Overgrown shrubbery
Gardening & Grounds Checklist
- If you are utilizing a sprinkler or drip irrigation system, it is time to start it up and test it. Make sure you do not have any leaks and that the water is going where it should.
- Let the never-ending battle of weeding, trying to control the insects, and watering begin…
- Watering, make sure you watch any newly transplanted trees, shrubs and indoor plants or herbs brought outside.
- Check your interior or other potted plants – if needed move them to a larger container.
- Time to start planting your corn, tomatoes and other spring and summer vegetables
- Running out of room to plant, consider going up – you can plant and grow squash, melons, peas & cucumbers to grow up instead of spreading out. As for the squash plants and melons, gravity will always win unless you add a ledge for support. One popular method is to use old nylons tied to the trellis for support instead of a ledge.
- Bulbs, tulips & other spring flowering plants –
- Mark the bare area’s so that you can plant some later in the year for next year’s performance
- Time to prune them
- After the flower dies or is cut for decoration – cut the stem off at the base
- Leave the leaves alone for the mean time and let them start to fade away
- Once the leaves have all turned brown, cut the leaves off at the ground
- Summer Annuals & Fall Perennials – you may plant when ready, try not to overwater as you can rot out your Spring Perennial Bulbs
- Looking for an easier way to grow and maintain a garden? You might want to research vertical gardening, containerized gardening, and square foot gardening.
- Having issues keeping your garden watered? You can always call us or look into a reservoir style containerized garden (we use EarthBox® for planters we build for decks), or maybe consider having a drip irrigation system installed (This is generally easiest to do in a new raised garden, but they can also be installed almost anywhere).
Other items to consider
- Garage Sale: Now is the perfect time of year to hold a garage sale for all those items that you know you will never use, or haven’t used in over a year. May we suggest though, that when you are done – you donate everything that is left to a charity? This will not only help on your taxes, but it will cut down on the clutter in your house and the places the mice and spiders like to play.
- Summer Emergency Car Care Kit: Time to replace the Winter Emergency Car Care Kit with one ready for the summer. As a reminder, the more weight you carry the lower your gas mileage will be – but not having the items might not be a pleasant though when you are in the middle of nowhere.
- The snow chains can go, unless you plan on driving in sandy & muddy areas – if you get stuck you can occasionally use them to help improve your traction to get out of that area, or you can always try utilizing the floor mats
- Water: if you normally are the only one in your car and frequently travel, a gallon of water would be a good idea. If you are going on a family trip, you should carry at least ½ a gallon per individual.
- Double check your flashlight, jumper cables, and flares to make sure they are all in good condition / work properly.
- A solar blanket, umbrella, or even a regular blanket would also be a good item to have stashed away for shade & / or warmth.
- Mother’s Day is this month, if you are running out of ideas for that special lady; you can always try a @Home Spa Day that we discussed back in December. (Sorry, but you probably can’t lose the kids this time)
As always, please stay safe; if you feel uncomfortable, do not understand how to complete a task, etc… please call in a professional.