We’re weeks away from summer and early predictions are that LA will have a hotter than average season.  Before summer hits at full force, make sure you and your home are prepared.

The House

  • Service the air conditioning. Avoid a broken air-conditioning unit on the days the LA temps spike up by servicing it before the heat arrives. Every three months, change the filter, flush out drain lines with a cup of bleach, and ensure that the outdoor unit has room to breathe by keeping vegetation about an arm’s length away.
  • Replace the smoke detector batteries. You will sleep better at night. Remember to do it again in 6 months and replace them if they are over 10 years old.
  • Clean the dryer vents. If your clothes come out of the dryer damp and musty lately, it’s probably because the vent is clogged with lint — not only wasting energy but posing a significant fire risk. To do it right the first time, purchase a vent-cleaning kit. Its flexible rod and brush attaches to your drill and will extract a puppy-sized mass of lint in no time.
  • Upgrade the thermostat. Think about upgrading to a "smart " thermostat. Your ability to control the temperature and divert air to where you need it will save you money and keep you comfortable all summer.  
  • Put a few lights on timers. Before you take off for vacation, grab some "smart" lightbulbs that can be controlled by your phone for added protection while you are away. 
  • Clean the window screens. Inspect them, repair any damage, and reinstall them in your windows. Use a hose and mild detergent, but don't pressure wash them — the force of the spray can damage them. You can repair damaged screens with a kit you can purchase at most home improvement or hardware stores.

The yard

  • Patch the lawn. If you wait too long to plant new grass, seeds, or sod, aggressive weeds will happily fill the gaps for you. Luckily, grass will quickly establish if you remove all existing weeds beforehand, amend with topsoil, and keep the area irrigated for the first week or two.
  • Inspect the sprinklers. If you notice any clogged or broken sprinkler heads, shut off the water and dig a hole with a 2-inch diameter around the head. Unscrew the head from its riser and replace it with a new one. If the head is merely clogged, remove the basket and rinse both it and the head in the clean water. Reassemble the head and screw it onto the riser.
  • Remove hornet nests. If you have hornets, yellow jackets, or paper wasps around your home, take steps to remove them now before they form a large and aggressive colony. You can play it safe by calling a professional or by spraying nests at night when they’re less active. Just be sure to wear protective eyewear, a mask, pants, and long sleeves.
  • Clean the grill. Prevent flare-ups and cooking fires by giving your grill a good cleaning. Ideally, you’d clean after every use, but you can start fresh with a grill brush, nozzle, and wet rag. Now is also a good time to stock up on charcoal and make sure your tools are ready for grilling season.