1. Check all outdoor structures, including decks, porches, facades and balconies. Check for stability. Examine railings, guardrails, concrete, support beams, anchors, nails and screws for loose, rotting, missing or damaged pieces and notice any leaning or unsteadiness. Note any water saturation or pest infestation, such as termites or carpenter ants, and check for cracks, cracked or chipped masonry, or rusted metal connections.
2. Make sure that pools are in good condition. Pools should be watertight and have no cracks or joints. All pools must be enclosed by a four-foot high fence that has a childproof, self-closing gate. No overhead electrical conductors should be within 15 feet of the pool.
3. Check air-conditioning units. Proper maintenance of an air-conditioning unit is important to maximize efficiency and ensure safe operation. Periodically check the position of the unit to make sure it is secure and installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Examine the window and frame to ensure it can continue to support the unit safely. Before using the unit, check the filter and coils to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced.
4. Inspect windows and doors for drafts. Check your home's insulation to prevent unnecessary drafts and conserve energy. To help reduce the loss of energy, install weather-stripping and weatherproofing materials around the edges of all windows and doors. Set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees and turn off units when the room isn't being used. Even a one-degree change in your thermostat can cut energy costs.
5. Hire a licensed professional. Freeze-and-thaw weather cycles deteriorate homes and outdoor structures. If any structures require maintenance, consult with a licensed professional who can perform a full assessment and offer advice about repairs. If you hire a contractor, confirm that the individual has a Home Improvement Contractor license from the City's Department of Consumer Affairs.