If rising temperatures haven’t yet made their way to your area, they’re probably just around the corner. Summer heat can be a welcome change from months of winter, but only if your A/C can keep up! Preparing your home in advance ensures that you’re ready when the thermometer spikes into the 80s. Not sure how to get your home ready for the summer months? Keep reading for our five best tips!

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1. Have your HVAC system serviced.

Rising temperatures will be far more manageable if your air conditioning system is in good shape. Experts recommend having your entire HVAC system inspected (and serviced, if necessary) twice per year—once in the fall, before cold weather settles in, and again in the spring to ensure that your A/C is up to snuff. Be sure to stay on top of regular HVAC filter changes, too. Dust, pollen, and other environmental allergens are a fact of life, but there’s no need to make your HVAC system work harder than necessary (and cost more to operate) because of a dirty filter. Change your filter (or wash it, depending on the filter type) once per quarter. Do this monthly if you open your windows a lot or if anyone in your household has respiratory difficulties.

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2. Add an awning to your patio or deck.

Awnings have gotten a bad rap in the past, but with updated, weather-resistant fabrics, they’re now enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Motorized retractable awnings are a home update that can convert an overly sunny deck or patio into comfortable outdoor living space with the touch of a button. If you find that your outdoor living area is too hot and sunny to enjoy during the summer, having an awning installed is a great way to regain use of that space. Motorized options cover your deck or patio quickly with the click of a remote; manual versions require you to use a crank to open and close the awning.

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3. Clean your gutters.

Clogged gutters can cause serious erosion and water damage problems when summer rain storms arrive. Make sure that rain can move away from your home’s foundation by having your gutters cleaned in early summer and late fall. Your home’s gutters and downspouts are designed to catch rain and snowmelt that flows off the roof and either distribute that water around your yard or send it directly into a drainage system. However, roof shingle granules, sticks, leaves, and other debris also make their way into the gutters over the course of the fall and spring. Professional gutter cleaners will not only make sure that your home’s gutters and downspouts are free from debris, they’ll also inspect the entire system for signs of wear. Depending on the gutter style and material, it’s not uncommon for gutters to develop holes or come unsealed at joints. Having a pro do a biannual inspection and cleaning is the best way to ensure that your home’s gutters and downspouts are in good shape to keep your house protected from water damage.

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4. Apply heat control window film to untreated windows.

There’s nothing quite like natural sunlight streaming in through a window—except when that gorgeous natural sunlight makes the indoor temperature rise to an uncomfortable level. But who wants to live with closed blinds and curtains all the time? Instead, consider having heat control (sometimes referred to as UV control) window film applied to sunny windows around your house, especially those that are south facing. Heat control film is microscopically thin and can block UV rays and reflect solar heat without making your windows appear dark. This means that your house will stay cooler naturally, which lessens the load on your HVAC system. As a bonus, your flooring and upholstered furnishings will look new for far longer.

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5. Wash windows (and screens).

Washing windows and screens probably isn’t your idea of a fun late-spring activity, but the difference you’ll see is hard to deny. Getting rid of the dirt and grime that accumulates during the winter and spring lets more light into your house. If your windows tilt in for easy cleaning, you may be able to tackle this task relatively easily on your own (or with a partner).

Let the pros handle any windows that don’t tilt in or that are very high off the ground. Professional window cleaners have the tools and equipment to get every window in your home clean without causing damage or putting themselves in danger.

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Now, Relax and Enjoy Summer!

Getting your home ready for summer is well worth a weekend (or two) of work. When you know that your air conditioning system is in good shape and that the rest of your house is clean and ready for whatever summer might throw your way, that ice-cold drink you’ve earned will taste even better.

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