Summer is (finally) here, and the summer of 2020 is shaping up to be abnormally warm. As the UV rays shine down on us, you’ll start noticing the severe damage the sun can cause. In just a few short days, a high UV index or heat warning can start to fade the paint on your boat, crack the seats in your car, blow out your home’s AC unit, and more. So how can you protect your home, car, and boat from sun damage this summer?
Psst… Protect your greatest asset of all—yourself! Don’t forget to apply sunscreen every day. UV rays can even get through the window of your car or home, so you could still be susceptible inside on hot summer days.
Protect your home from heat damage
A lot of people mistakenly think that their home is naturally protected from the heat simply because it’s a well-made home. But that’s not always the case! Most homes are susceptible to extreme heat, and even a few extra degrees could wreak havoc that you won’t know about until later. So here are some tips to safeguard your house (and family) this summer.
1. Insulate, insulate, and insure.
Insulation is what manages the thermal retention of your home. Insulting your attic (and the door to your attic), ceilings, floors, and walls can keep heat in during the winter—and keep it away during the summer. A strong insulation system manages the flow of air, reducing your heating and cooling costs as well as the destructive effects that heat can have on your internal appliances, furniture, clothes, and comfort. Plus, insulation can reduce noise from neighbors and streets to make your home more peaceful and secure.
An attic door cover can add another layer of insulation and protection. Most heat rests in the attic, so minimizing the flow between the attic and the main part of the house is important to keeping your house cool. (Speaking of, don’t store anything in your attic that can be damaged by heat!)
Do you have enough homeowners’ insurance to protect you in the case of an unforeseen incident?
2. Seal doors and windows.
Poorly sealed windows and doors can let hot air seep into your home, even if the gap is no more than a millimeter or two. Caulk your windows and weather strip your doors to prevent hot air from getting in, so you can have a comfortable home and a lower energy bill.
You may also want to consider thermal-resistant windows. You can purchase windows or window protectants/films that minimize the heat and UV rays that can pass through. The same is true for the exterior paint of your home; repaint your house with UV-resistant paint to keep it free from fading or sunspots. UV rays are strong, so make sure you’re using materials that can withstand them.
3. Install a programmable or smart thermostat.
It’s easy to forget about controlling your AC, unless you’re super-diligent about it. We recommend using a programmable or smart thermostat, especially in hot summer months. This lets you cool the house when you most need it, like at night when you’re sleeping or in the middle of the day when the sun is beating down on your house. Smart thermostats are especially useful because you can check in on and control your AC unit from anywhere, whether or not you’re in the house. This offers substantial energy savings while ensuring your house is always comfortable and cool.
4. Adjust your appliances.
Your appliances are highly susceptible to heat damage, especially when the seasons change. This temperature shift from hot to cold and vice versa can put a strain on appliances, causing them to overwork or break down.
Some tips to protect your appliances from heat damage:
- Make sure the seals on your fridge and freezer are in good condition to prevent food spoilage.
- Keep your fridge temp between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure there is adequate ventilation behind all appliances to avoid overheating.
- Keep all appliances clean. Even a quick wipe down can prevent food, dust, and debris from getting caked on, causing permanent stains.
- Check and clean the filters of your appliances on a regular basis. These usually need to be changed at least 1-2 times per year. Your AC filter should be changed around every 3 months.
- Turn down the operating temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, the warmth will heat your pipes, so you don’t want the pipes to overheat when your hot water heater is turned on.
- Turn your appliances off when you’re not using them. Don’t let your oven stay on all day, for example, and unplug external microwaves when not in use.
5. Move your furniture around.
Fabrics are highly susceptible to fading and spots when exposed to UV rays, even rays that come through the window. Installing UV-resistant window tint is one way to prevent the fading of furniture and rugs in your home, but another way is just to rotate your décor every once in a while. Move your couch to a different wall and move the rug to a new room. It’s fun to spruce up your home for a fresh feeling, and it will help prolong the life of your belongings.
Also, if you have one area of your home that’s exposed to direct sunlight for most of the day, you may want to purchase outdoor furniture for that room. Outdoor furniture is made to resist solar exposure, so it tends to be more resilient than regular furniture.
Pro-tip: Treat wood furniture with a varnish or lacquer that minimizes damage from heat and light exposure. Use leather moisturizers and protectants to keep leather from cracking and fading. Your materials are sensitive, so treat them with love!
6. Call in a professional.
It’s worth it every year or every few years to call in professionals to take a look at the appliances, water heater, insulation, electrical, and plumbing of your house. A routine checkup shouldn’t cost much, and they’ll be able to spot potential issues before they become a serious (and expensive) problem. Make sure you’re calling in a company with great reviews, so you know you’re getting the best service.
Remember that your insurance doesn’t cover damage or loss due to neglect or wear and tear. So, if it can be prevented, it’s your job to prevent it with reasonable precautionary steps.
Recommended read: 11 Safety Features That Can Lower Your Homeowners Premiums
Protect your car from sun and heat
Your car is just as vulnerable to sun damage as you are. You wouldn’t sit out in a hot parking lot all day, roasting in the sun. Don’t let your car be susceptible to fading, cracking, and sunspots from even a few days or hours left in the sun and heat, either.
Here are some ways you can take care of the exterior and interior of your car.
- Park in the shade, out of direct sunlight. This protects the exterior paint of your car while also preventing the inside of your car from overheating. When possible, park your car in a garage or enclosed area to further prevent against heat damage.
- Keep in mind that if you park under a tree, be sure to clean bird poop, tree sap, or pollen quickly to avoid debris getting caked on from the heat.
- Wash your car frequently with clean water and a mild soap. This removes dirt, dust, and debris that can damage your paint, especially when paired with the heat that “cakes on” gunk. Plus, washing your car more frequently means you’ll find areas of wear and tear faster, so you can address them before they become larger issues.
- After washing your car, don’t let it dry in the sun. You’ll end up with evaporated water droplet spots. Make sure to dry the car with a soft microfiber cloth immediately after washing.
- Wax your car with a high-quality wax. This locks in your paint’s oils to prevent chipping, and it also provides a barrier against harsh UV rays. (Don’t apply wax in direct sunlight, as it can melt the wax and damage the application.)
- Add a paint protection film. This works like sunscreen for your vehicle. It slows aging by safeguarding against minor scratches, dents, dust, and grime.
Did you know that the metal shell of your car absorbs and traps heat, making the interior of your car sometimes 10-40 degrees hotter than the outside? The interior parts of your car can start to melt or break, which is why it’s so important to take precautions to keep the inside of your car cool and out of direct sunlight.
- Use sunshades on your windows and windshield to reflect the UV rays and keep the inside of your car cool. There are a lot of options on Amazon that aren’t expensive, and you can get one that matches your style.
- Take it one step further and get window tints. A tint blocks the thermal rays that let sunlight pass, so it can even block up to 70% of the heat from entering. Make sure you check with your state law to see the percentage of tint allowed.
- Regularly clean your car. Dirt, dust, and food can get baked on to the inside of your car and cause permanent stains. (This is one of the number one causes of heat-related damages for cars.) Vacuum and wipe your car with a microfiber cloth regularly, paying special attention to the dash (which is usually most exposed to the sun).
- Leave your windows open a tiny crack. This lets fresh air circulate to reduce the internal temperature of the car.
- Use fabric seat covers. This will protect the leather or fabric of your seats, preserving the value of your car. It can also keep seats cooler to the touch (black leather gets very hot in the sun).
- Use protectants or conditioners made for your interior components. If you have leather, get a leather cleaner and moisturizer. There are also particular automotive products for vinyl and fabric.
Under the hood
- Check your tire pressure regularly. Hot pavement can make underinflated tires have a blowout, which can cause a serious accident. Even the best tires can lose a pound of air pressure per month in the heat, so make sure you’re checking your tire pressure frequently.
- Ensure your cooling system is in working condition before the summer. This is what protects your engine from overheating, so it doesn’t burn out or start a fire.
- While you’re checking the cooling system, get all fluid levels checked as well. If any of your fluids are low, you run the risk of your car overheating, which can cause serious system failures. Check motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and more.
- Get your battery and charging systems checked by a mechanic. High temperatures mean your accessories (like air conditioning) have a heavier load, so the battery can fail faster.
- If it feels like your car isn’t cooling down, your refrigerant level in your AC may be off. Get this checked out, because it could signal something more serious going on in your car.
- Change your air filters once per season. Dirt and debris are more common in the heat, especially in dry regions. This can clog up the air filter, so the filter won’t remove the debris from getting into the engine and other car parts. This can cause the breakdown of some parts and worsen fuel consumption. The air filter is your first line of defense for protecting your car’s inner workings.
Basically, get your car checked by a mechanic at the beginning of the season, keep an eye on your warning lights (take them seriously), and keep your car as clean as possible. If you can prove to your insurer that you’re a responsible car owner, you may even get a discount on your auto premiums as a bonus!
Protect your boat from UV rays
UV rays are actually worse out on the water. The rays can reflect on the water’s surface, so you’re getting them both from above and below. That’s why it’s extra important to be diligent about applying sunscreen when you’re out on the boat… and that’s also why you need to take extra precautions about guarding your boat against the sun.
A boat is one of the greatest investments you’ll make. Just like any asset, you want to take care of it so you can be proud of how it looks and protect its resale value.
How you protect a boat from UV rays is similar to how you’d protect a car. You want to make sure to use boat-specific products, though, as a lot of automotive products aren’t made for the water.
1. Clean your boat after every trip.
It sounds like a lot of work, especially after a long day out on the water. But after you take your boat out, or at least once a week, we recommend doing some basic maintenance. Like your car, it’s the dust, dirt, and debris that gets “baked on” by the sun that ends up doing the most damage.
Just swiping it down with a boat cleaner and microfiber cloth can work wonders to get rid of built-up grime from the water. Even just rinsing it down with fresh, clean water can make a difference in the look, feel, and cleanliness of your boat. You can also consider something like a Star Brite Boat Guard, which you just spray on and wipe off for regular upkeep of your boat.
Check out these boat cleaning tips from the American Boating Association.
2. Add a protectant wax.
Applying wax 2-3 times a season keeps your boat shiny, protects it from UV damage and other weather elements, and helps remove the oxidation that causes your boat to lose its luster. Plus, like car wax, boat protectant wax can help protect the boat from dings, debris, minor scratches, and gunk buildup.
We recommend waxing at the beginning of the season to protect, middle to maintain, and end to secure it while it’s in storage. Applying and buffing the wax takes some elbow grease, but it’s definitely worth it for the cost you’d have to replace or repair your boat’s finish or damage.
3. Apply cleaners, polish, and protectant to the seats.
Don’t forget about your seats. A few hours in the sun and your vinyl or leather seats can quickly start to fade, crack, or blister. There are a lot of great products on the market that can clean, moisturize, and polish your boat seats, whether they’re made of vinyl or leather. Know which material your seats are and do a quick Google search to find the top-rated protectants. Make sure you don’t use anything with silicon oils, as these can damage the interior of your boat.
Learn more about how to clean your boat seats here.
4. Never wash with dishwashing liquid.
This is a wives tale we have to stop in its tracks. Never use dishwashing liquid to clean your boat. Dish soap is made to cut through grease and wax, and your boat needs that extra coast of wax to protect it. Your boat is a valuable investment, so you should consider buying the “good stuff” when it comes to cleaning gels, protectants, and waxes.
5. Protect your electronics.
Everything on the controller’s dash of your boat should be in the shade or protected from the sun in some way. If these electronics are exposed to too much heat, they can malfunction or break. This could leave you without music out on the lake… or without a GPS out in the ocean. Don’t take a risk. Shade your electronics and even provide a fan for cooling if possible.
Hello sun, bye sun damage
Heat and UV rays can cause some serious damage to your home, car, boat, and other assets. But just a few precautionary steps, like keeping your valuables clean and out of direct sunlight, can have a huge impact on minimizing sun exposure—so you can continue to enjoy the summer!
Keep in mind that insurance won’t cover damage to your home, car, or boat that is caused by sun damage. It’s your responsibility to minimize wear and tear on your assets.
Want to know what your insurance will cover? Check out our learning center for more resources on how to insure and protect your home, car, boat, and more!