An outdoor tidy-up
A well-maintained home is less likely to leak energy, will have fewer fire risks and won't require expensive repairs as often. To make your home safe, comfortable and ready for the summer months, take a walk around the outside to assess what chores need doing.
- Check the exterior, including: roof, gutters, flyscreens, windows and doors for any damage, gaps and potential risks. Touch up exterior paint to protect surfaces, mow long grass, prune and remove branches, and identify and remove any other fire and storm hazards. If you're in a climatic zone prone to flooding or cyclones, you might want to think about installing shutters or screens to protect glass areas.
- Be water wise. If you have a rainwater tank, clean out the inlet screens and gutters and downpipes to ensure water is effectively making its way into your tank. Check your sprinkler system (if your water restrictions allow you to use one) and adjust where necessary so that only your lawn and garden is watered and not your paving, house or footpath.
- Think about shading. Take a walk around the house and note which windows will soon attract the blazing summer sun. Now may be the time to install blinds or awnings before it gets too hot. Plant fast-growing deciduous trees that will keep out the summer heat but allow the winter sun in. They can also provide a shady spot in your garden for you, your pets, and local wildlife.
- A swimming pool check-up should include cleaning the pool filter, skimmer and pool pump baskets and checking the chemicals to ensure the correct balance for good pool hygiene. If you haven't been running the pool filter pump during the cooler months, read the manufacturer's instructions to ensure correct pump operation and water filtration. Set the correct daily run time, taking into account the season and pool use and use a timer to save energy. Running your pump at the lowest recommended speed that still maintains correct pool hygiene will also use much less energy and save you money.
- Spring is an ideal time to use your bicycle more often to get outside, get fit and save on petrol and greenhouse gas emissions. Bikes need to be serviced regularly, so take yours to your local bike shop or learn how to maintain it yourself. Ensure your tyres are inflated to the recommended pressure (stamped on your tyres). Check brakes are working correctly including the cables and brake pads. You also need to lubricate the chain to ensure efficient operation and reduce wear and tear. Finally, check and tighten any loose screws, nuts and bolts. It's also a good idea to check your helmet to ensure straps are in good condition and adjusted properly for the correct fit. Replace helmets that are showing signs of wear.