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The warmer weather provides the perfect time to get your house in order. From the interiors of your home to the exterior, getting your home ready for the long summer will ensure you’ll be ready to enjoy a holiday or just relax outdoors. Try these tips:
Prepare your fire plan. Write and practise the plan so you know what do in an emergency. See the CFA website for more information. In metropolitan areas it's advisable to have a home fire escape plan that is practised regularly.
Keep your home cool naturally. On hot days keep your windows protected, draw your solid blinds or thick curtains with lock out backing. If you can, think about investing in awnings for the north and west facing windows. Reflective film coatings on your windows can help prevent heat getting in through the glass. Remember to shut up the house in the mornings and open up when it gets cool in the evenings.
Got an air-conditioner? Keep your energy bills low. Clean your AC filters each month. Environment Victoria says cooling your home to just 26 degrees should keep you comfortable and save you money - setting your thermostat just one degree cooler can up your cooling bill by 15 per cent. And remember, just cool the room you're in. If your AC breaks down, a reliable RACV Emergency Home Assist tradesperson can come and fix it for you day or night.
Use a fan spinning in the right direction. Set your ceiling fan is set to counter-clockwise. This will draw heat away, keep you cooler and also be a more effective use of electricity. Even free-standing desk fans are effective and they cost little to run, while your air-conditioner can guzzle electricity, which in Victoria means it’s also responsible for a fair whack of CO2.
Get some good insulation. Insulation is a worthwhile investment if you can afford it, particularly if you combine bulk insulation (big batts) with foil insulation (thin sheets). Environment Victoria reports ceiling insulation can cut your energy use by 45 per cent, which means it pays for itself in reduced energy bills. And with the price of energy set to rise, insulating now is a smart way of avoiding excessive energy bills in the future.
Turn off or don't use heat generating appliances. Rather than heating up the house by using the oven in the kitchen, try the microwave or have a barbecue instead. Lower the thermostat on the hot water unit. If your home still has any standard incandescent bulbs, replace them with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. Turn off the computer, computer monitor, television and other electrical devices when they’re not in use.
Clean your refrigerator coils. The condenser coils on a refrigerator remove heat from inside the unit. If they get dusty and dirty, it can cost up to $100 more a year to run your fridge. When cleaning, turn off the power to the fridge.
Clean bathroom vent fans Bathroom ceiling vent fans can collect quite a bit of dust, which can makes them noisy and inefficient. Remove the cover, vacuum out any dust.
Bathroom drains. Nothing ruins a good shower like a slow running drain. To clean bath, shower and sink drains remove the drain assembly and insert a drain stick in the drain pipe to pull out any hair or other clogs. Some people use vinegar or a little bleach down the drain, allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then flush it with water to kill any mold or mildew lurking in the pipe.
Roll out the BBQ. If you haven’t used your BBQ in a while, check that your gas bottle is in working condition and that there are no leaks.
Don't broadcast holiday plans. Summer is a great time to get away, but be careful who you tell on Facebook and other social media, as thieves will see this as a chance to target your house. Getting an RACV Home Security system can also keep your home secure while you’re away.
Put away gardening tools. After a long day gardening, don’t leave any tools lying around that could be used to break into your house. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’ve got home and contents insurance just in case.
Invest in a water tank. Summer can get dry; installing a rain water tank can be a good investment for your garden and your back pocket.
Think about home security. If you're thinking about holidays or just thinking about getting some home security while you have some time, see what RACV Home Security has to offer. Home burglaries have always been an issue. Find out what the crime statistics are in your area.