Don’t Sweat It! Your Simple Guide to Summer’s 8 Most Important Home Maintenance Tasks

Elco van Berkel/iStock

The official start of summer might be mere hours away, but most of us are already well into celebrating the season, with backyard barbecues, pool parties, and even a few vacations in the rear-view mirror.

But before you go into full-on summer mode, bear with us: There are a few home maintenance tasks you should tackle to keep your home in tiptop shape all season long.

Buzzkill, we know. But the good news is we’ve done the heavy lifting for you, identifying the top items to address—and what professional help will cost if you want to throw in the (pool) towel. Check these eight projects off your to-do list before firing up the grill.

1. Maintain your refrigerator

Be chill and clean your fridge.AndreyPopov/iStock

To keep your refrigerator running efficiently in these hot months, you’ll want to vacuum and clean the condenser coils, defrost the freezer, and clean the seals around the door. Then, scrub your fridge inside and out—a task that’s “often overlooked, but it’s a great way to ensure the cool air in the fridge is remaining where it belongs: inside,” says Ron Shimek, the president of Mr. Appliance.

DIY: This is an easy afternoon activity—although it might get a bit nasty if dirt has accumulated on the coils.

Call in the pros: Fridge making funny sounds? A pro can figure out why. It might just be replacement time, though. Wirecutter’s top pickis $1,620, and its favorite budget model will run you a cool $600.

2. Keep expanding wood from causing cracks

Hot weather makes wood—and many other construction materials—expand. And over time, this expansion and contraction cycle can cause damage to your house.

“The effect can vary depending on the humidity and climate, but after a while, you may have breaches in the seals around your home,” says Craig Ricks Jr., the president of Acadian Windows and Siding.

Inspect the seals around your windows, roof, door frames, vents, ducts, and outdoor faucets, and take note of any cracking.

Not only are you ensuring your hard-working AC keeps its efforts inside the house, but you also “prevent unwanted bugs and critters from entering,” Ricks says.

DIY: Small cracks can be easily filled with spray foam or wood filler.

Call in the pros: If the rim around your doors or windows looks screwy, an expert can fix the problem. Expect to pay about $160 to fix an exterior door, depending on the severity of the damage.

3. Bust out the power or pressure washer

No pressure, but you should rent one of these this summer.BanksPhotos/iStock

Months of harsh weather have probably left your siding and hardscaping looking a little dingy.

“This gets overlooked, but it’s a huge part of keeping up the curb appeal of your home,” says mortgage broker Jennifer Harder.

Plus, a good pressure washing cleans out the dirt, preventing rot or other unwanted intrusions.

DIY: Have some fun! Renting a power or pressure washer costs between $50 and $200. (You’ll want a power washer, which uses hot water, for serious stains, and a pressure washer, which uses—you guessed it—pressure for dust and dirt.)

Take some basic precautions before starting: Harder recommends covering any plants, electrical outlets, and windows to avoid any mishaps.

Call in the pros: Pressure or power washing can be a big project. If you’re not up to the task, a pro will charge between $60 and $100 per hour.

4. Give your washing machine a break

Just like your fridge, your washing machine deserves some TLC during summer—especially if you have kids. All of those dirty sports jerseys and mud-soaked pants give the machine a serious workout. Check your hoses for leaks, and clean your lint filter, too.

And when you do the laundry, wash full loads and use cold water whenever possible, Shimek suggests.

DIY: A basic washing machine inspection is simple, and swapping new hoses for cracked, old versions is an easy DIY.

Call in the pros: If something’s majorly wrong, you might need to call for a repair, which will cost between $120 and $500, depending on the severity of the problem.

5. Declutter your lawn

Declutter your lawn.onepony/iStock

Scan your yard: Do you have any tall piles of wood, or uncleared corners of brush?

“Bugs and other pests make a resurgence as the weather gets warmer,” Ricks says. These areas “provide pests cool, dark places to escape the heat.” Clear them immediately!

“Depending on the region, black widows, brown recluses, rattlesnakes, or other poisonous critters can be found in clutter such as this,” he adds.

DIY: Before you haul debris away, make sure you have plenty of protective clothing on to prevent bites and stings. Renting a dumpster will likely cost between $385 and $500, although some companies won’t take yard debris.

Call in the pros: A local yard service company might be willing to deal with the mess if you aren’t. Regular maintenance will cost between $100 and $200 per month.

6. Wash your window screens

Finally, you can throw open your windows and breathe in fresh air 24/7! But wait—ugh, what is all that dust on your screens?

“Exterior windows take a beating during the winter months, and now that better weather has arrived, it’s time to give them a little refresh,” says Richard Reina, the product training director at

For best results, take out all of your window screens, prop them up against an exterior wall, and use that pressure or power washer you oh-so-conveniently rented.

Don’t feel like renting a power tool? Reina recommends using a bristle brush and soapy water to get rid of dirt and debris.

DIY: All you need is soap and some elbow grease to get your screens squeaky-clean.

Call in the pros: If you’re dealing with second-story windows or simply don’t have the time, a professional cleaner can handle the mess. You’ll likely spend $2 to $7 per pane.

7. Reseal your deck…

Ready to host summer barbecues? Make sure your deck is ready, too.

“If you pour some water on your deck and the water beads up, you’re all good,” Harder says. “However, if the water soaks in, it’s time to reseal.”

Unsealed, moisture-soaked decks can cause major problems, like rotting or cracked wood. (And nothing makes a grill party less fun than suddenly plummeting through the floor.)

DIY: It’s totally possible to reseal a deck yourself, although it helps if you’re handy. Here’s the how-to.

Call in the pros: Just want this project done? The average cost to hire a deck professional for resealing is $844.

8. … and don’t forget your driveway

“Winter weather can be harsh on driveways, especially if you were snowblowing or plowing frequently,” Reina says. Resealing “is especially important if you have kids who like to ride a bike or scooter up and down the driveway in the summer months.”

To start, give your driveway a good power wash. (Wow, you’re making good use of that rental!) Once it’s dry, fill in any cracks or holes with asphalt filler. Then give the whole driveway a fresh coat of sealant.

DIY: Sealant will cost between $20 and $30, and concrete compound will run around $8—although those costs might be multiplied depending on the size of your driveway.

Article by Jamie Wiebe