The summer heat can put strain on your air conditioning unit, causing spikes in electricity bills, or worse, costly repairs. But if you give your HVAC system a little TLC, it will reward you with years of continued service. Change out the disposable air filter on your air conditioner and give the condenser fan a good cleaning to keep it in peak condition.
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- Bob Vila's 10 "Must Do" August Projects
Bob Vila's 10 "Must Do" August Projects
Clean the Air Conditioner
Kick seasonal clutter to the curb—or at least find a way to store it neatly. When shelves and drawers are in disorder, it usually means you have too much on hand. Take some time to go through your stuff, saving what you need and donating what you don't. For additional help, consider some budget-friendly garage organizers like these.
Check the Deck
From summer barbecues to seasonal storms, your deck weathers it all. If yours is looking a little worse for wear, give it a boost with some light maintenance. First, sweep and rinse away dirt, debris, and mildew. Then, check for loose boards or nail pops. Finally, replace boards as needed and give the surface a coat of stain and sealer. Now it's ready for more memorable summer fun.
Your bathroom exhaust fan works hard, pumping humid air out of your home and preventing mold and mildew. Give it a quick tune-up to extend its life. Turn off power to the fan and vacuum away the dust. Then, remove the vent cover and wash it with mild soap and water. Check all the parts to make sure they're running, and replace any damaged ones as needed.
Backyard gardeners, take note: This year's harvest could feed your household all through next summer. Save your seeds now, and you'll have everything you need for next spring's veggie garden. If you're new to saving seeds, check out this quick tutorial.
Clean the Fridge
It takes a lot of electricity to cool a full-size refrigerator, so the last thing you want is a leaky door seal. Clean the gaskets with mild soap and water, then check for cracks and tears. If you find any, or if the seal on the doors is weak, it's probably time to replace the gaskets.
Related: How To—Clean Any Appliance
Do Something Small
With fall on the horizon, it's a good idea to wrap up any lingering summer projects. If you've committed to finally fixing that squeaky door hinge or repainting the banister, finish the job now and cross it off your to-do list. You'll feel refreshed knowing that you're starting off the new season in an organized and proactive way.
Build a Birdbath
Invite birds to your backyard by making them a welcoming birdbath. They're simple to build, and the design options are as limitless as your imagination. Plus, there's something in it for you: Birds serve as a natural pest control, feasting on all sorts of insects that might otherwise overrun your yard.
Thatch is a layer of plant material that builds up between the soil and grass. In small amounts it can be beneficial to your lawn, but too much can damage the turf. By late August, cool-season grass can benefit from dethatching. Using a thatch rake or a power rake, comb away thatch from the lawn. Afterwards, apply a thin layer of fertilizer according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Related: 7 Remedies to Rescue a Dying Lawn
Learn a New Skill
Mastering the art of home improvement can save lots of money that you might otherwise spend on hiring a contractor. This month, invest in yourself by picking up a new skill. Many hardware stores offer free summer classes that cover the basics of plumbing, tiling, or even fence building. For more specialized projects, try an online video course.