Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer here in Georgia. How will you kick off the season?
If you’re like 60 percent of Americans, you plan to barbecue. Memorial Day weekend ranks second only to July 4 as the top grilling period of the year.
Along with the opportunity to get your grill on, the long holiday weekend is also a great time to knock out a few easy home improvement projects to ready your place for the summer ahead.
Here are six DIY projects you can finish before it’s time to break out the burgers and hot dogs.
1. Inspect your air conditioner(s). Clean out or change all of the filters in your AC units. Then clean the vents both on the unit itself and in your home. Inspect the central air conditioner’s condenser unit, typically located outdoors. If leaves and other debris have collected inside, you should consult your owner’s manual for cleaning instructions or call a professional for assistance. Cut and remove any weeds or vines that may obstruct airflow through the condenser unit.
2. Clean refrigerators and freezers. Wipe down interior surfaces of all refrigerators and freezers (especially that outdoor kitchen fridge you ignored over the winter). Remember to pull the refrigerator from the wall and vacuum the condenser coils on the back or the bottom to clear out the dust and gunk. Those coils are critical to pushing heat out, so removing the dust and dirt will make it more efficient at keeping the inside of the refrigerator cold.
3. Clean dryer vent. The vent on a clothes dryer can become clogged with lint over time, causing the dryer to dry less efficiently and resulting in dangerous house fires. To clean your dryer vent, remove the outside cover on the vent, and use a special lint brush with an extendable handle to thoroughly clean the inside of the pipe.
4. Check smoke detector and carbon monoxide batteries. Check and replace batteries as needed. Then, mark your calendar to check all devices again on Labor Day weekend to keep you and your family safe.
5. Test doors and windows. Wipe (or hose) off exterior doors and check for leaks through which cool air may escape — and then caulk or weatherstrip the gaps. Do the same for windows before cleaning the glass both inside and out.
6. Install a programmable thermostat. There’s nothing like stepping into a cool house when the muggy Georgia heat is pressing in all around you. With a programmable thermostat you can do just that — without breaking the bank. In fact, experts say a programmable thermostat can save as much as 10 percent on cooling and heating bills. A smart programmable thermostat will even learn your habits, such as the hours when you are away at work, and program itself to the most energy efficient setting for that period. With units running from $30 to $300, there’s a model to fit every budget. An experienced DIY-er can install most programmable thermostats and some smart thermostats, though you may wish to watch an online tutorial before attempting the project. Learn more about programmable thermostats at Energystar.gov.
Before attempting any maintenance involving an electric appliance, be certain the power is disconnected. Unplug appliances from wall outlets before moving or cleaning them. Turn off breakers for HVAC equipment when performing maintenance or installing a new thermostat.
With a little effort, you can complete all six of these pre-summer chores over the Memorial Day weekend. And you’ll still have ample time left to kick back and relax before firing up the grill.