(Family Features) Summer is the perfect time of year for outdoor entertaining. But before you start planning the menus and guest lists, make sure your house and yard are ready to take on the fun.
“Your grill, outdoor power equipment and appliances play a big part in your summer routines,” said Jamie Breneman, contributor to TheSavvyShopperBlog.com. “So you want to make sure everything is in good working order to avoid any unnecessary hassles that may get in the way of your fun-packed summer. A few simple steps can guarantee that your entertaining space is a welcoming place for guests.”
Before You Fire Up the Grill
If you have a gas grill, check for leaks. Mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid and water in a spray bottle. Spray the hose and all connections then, with the hose connected to the propane tank, open the gas. If bubbles appear, you have a leak and need to replace the hose or fix a loose connection.
Also, check the flame on gas grills – it should be blue. A yellow flame means there are either clogged air jets or burners that need adjustment.
Clean the grill, inside and out. Scrub burners and grates with a wire brush, then cut the grease build-up with a vinegar and water solution. Rinse clean and let dry thoroughly. A good, all-purpose cleaner can take care of the outside of the grill.
Keep Your Cool
“Food safety is vital,” said Breneman. “Make sure your refrigerator and freezer are in tip-top shape so they can keep prepped ingredients and leftovers at the right temperatures.”
Make sure the interior cooling vents are not blocked. The air needs to circulate to ensure safe food preservation.
Keep the refrigerator temperature at 36ºF to 38ºF and the freezer at no colder than 0ºF to 5ºF. You can buy inexpensive refrigerator and freezer thermometers to help you maintain the right temperature.
Keep gaskets on the refrigerator and freezer doors clean with mild detergent and water, not bleach. This will ensure a good seal and prevent wasted energy.
Tidy Up Outside
Check the deck and stairways for any loose boards or railings. Now’s a good time to get out the power tools and make the yard safer as well as neater.
If you haven’t done so already, give your lawn mower a check-up. Make sure it’s functioning at its best so that you can mow efficiently and safely.
After mowing the lawn, break out the trimmer and edger to give your yard a neat-as-a-pin appearance.
To help you keep your appliances and power tools in good working order, Breneman recommends looking into protecting them with extended service plans. “Anything mechanical can break down or have parts that just wear out,” she said. “And manufacturers’ warranties don’t cover as much or for as long as you might think.”
Breneman adds that service plans bring something else to homeowners – peace of mind. “You spend a lot of money on things like refrigerators or riding mowers, and it can be frustrating trying to find someone reputable to fix them. To know that you can get support at any time from prescreened professionals makes it a whole lot easier to relax and enjoy all the fun that comes with summer.”
For more tips on getting ready for summer fun, visit www.thesavvyshopperblog.com.