Do you feel it? That sudden urge to throw open the windows and escape from your winter hibernation? Summer is coming soon. You’re ready for months of sunshine, cookouts, and entertainment, but is your home? Before the temperature climbs much higher, prepare your home for the summer season by doing these important chores. Prevent water damage. Spring and summer bring their share of rain. Make sure your home is protected. Clean the gutters so the water can flow freely and direct the water away from the house, where it can pool and cause damage. Look for cracks and breaks in the gutters and downspouts. Also, inspect your foundation for cracks that could allow water to leak into your home. Check the caulking around your doors and windows. If there are any cracks, replace the caulk so that those leaks don’t cause mold or wood rot. Clean the driveway and walkways. Pressure wash these surfaces and then inspect them for damage. Replace broken pavers. Repair cracks or holes in your driveway to prevent them from getting worse. Check the deck. Your deck might have taken a beating over the winter, from the cold temperatures, snow, and ice. Before you start your deck inspection. clean it. Use a brush with low pressure—a pressure washer can damage the wood’s fibers. Next, inspect the wood for cracks and splinters, including along the joists, posts, and railing. Make sure the attachment of the deck to the house is secure. Although decking material is treated to resist ants and termites, the wood on your home isn’t. Look at the hardware to see if any is missing or needs replacement. Then apply deck sealant or wood stain. Touch up the greenery. Trim the shrubs to spark healthy growth. Cut branches that could cause damage, either by scraping your home or low-hanging limbs that might hurt a passerby. Rake out your garden beds and lawn. Fertilize the lawn early in the season and seed any areas that have become bare. While you’re doing your yardwork, be sure to scrub the bird baths and any empty containers or pots, to ensure no bacteria or bugs survived over the winter. Get ready for watering. Bring out your hoses (assuming you stashed them safely in the garage and not under the snow). Make sure there are no cracks or leaks in the hoses and nozzles. Replace any faulty ones. Walk around the yard and check the sprinkler heads to make sure they’re intact and ready to water your lawn. Inspect the HVAC. You’ll probably rely on your air conditioning shortly. Before you’re battling the heat inside your home, check the HVAC. Clear away any debris on or around the compressor outside. Make sure the condenser unit is level, so that it doesn’t work harder than it should. Clean or replace the air filters (which should be done monthly). Prep for outdoor living. Clean your outdoor furniture. If the cushions were left out during the winter, consider replacing them. Clean the grill and make sure the propane tanks are full, or you have a supply of charcoal. By investing a little time now, you can enjoy many months of comfortable summer fun.