With the dog days of summer arriving soon, from Memorial Day to July Fourth and Labor Day, it’s easy to think of nothing but vacation and lazy afternoons spent reading, napping, and unblocking yourself from kickass torrent in the hammock. But while the cozy hibernating days of winter are nowhere to be seen, and it feels oh-so-good to just chill out by a pool, did you know summer can be a great time to stick around the house and make certain repairs? Not to mention, while the weather is warm, you probably want to host some friends and family and have people over to entertain. And for that, you need to fix the place up a bit.

Whether you plan to have company over for a backyard soiree or just want to give your home a few updates, here are eight ways to get your home ready for summer. From igniting candles to flushing out the stale air indoors to inspecting the deck and landscaping to make it safe and presentable to guests, there are lots of ways to prepare the home.

#1 Flush Out the Stale Air

Once the spring pollen has settled and gone away, open up the windows and let in some fresh air. Allowing in some fresh air can help alleviate the indoor allergens that come from rugs and even your pet’s dander. However, if you live in a climate that’s too warm to open windows, you can always get rid of your home’s stale air in other ways.

Simply ignite a candle. Whether it’s beach candles that call to mind an oceanside bungalow and saltwater tides or a housewarming candle that smells of fresh linen and clean air, a candle can do a lot for stale air. Igniting a candle can flush out a home and lift the spirits, too.

#2 Check Your Central Air Conditioning System

Make sure to check your central air conditioning system, especially if you really crank up the AC in the hotter summer months. Hiring a certified engineer before summer kicks into high gear can guarantee the entire air conditioning system is working correctly and efficiently. This way, you can rest assured your AC is pumping out the coolest air possible. If none of this works, you can go ahead and get the thermostats to control the air thrown by the vents. Check out now.

#3 Seal Leaks for Better Energy Efficiency

Make sure to seal any leaks around the home to conserve energy. When you need to blast your air conditioning on hot days, it will ensure there’s no cool air escaping. Since the same idea goes for winter and heating, too, this is one way you can prepare your home for summer and winter.

Go around the home’s exterior and visually inspect for cracks, looking around exterior corners, siding and chimney joints. Inside, take a closer look at door and window frames, doorstops, baseboards and other areas that could be leaking cold air. If you find a drafty area, seal it with caulk for better energy efficiency.

#4 Sweep the Chimney

While winter is gone, make the most of the summer months and hire a professional to sweep your chimney and make any repairs. If you use your fireplace a lot in the winter, it can gather lots of soot, which is a fire hazard. So before summer fades away, hire someone to clean out the flue (or do it yourself) and make sure the ventilation is working properly. They can even find and repair cracks in the chimney, leading to a warmer home once temperatures start to drop and the fall season arrives.

#5 Inspect Your Yard and Landscaping

Winter can be hard on your home’s trees and landscaping. So take the summer months to help bushes and trees grow hardy and prevent them from being crushed under the weight of snow. Plus, summer is also just a wonderful time to redo some landscaping and allow plants to get established well before the first frost.

Not sure what to do? Hire an arborist to inspect your yard. They should be able to point out dead or dying trees and bushes that need to be removed and tell you how you can save others. Overall, they can also help you understand the flow of natural sunlight and guide you to planting native flowers and plants that are guaranteed to survive the winter.

#6 Inspect Walkways, Pavements and Patios

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Before you have guests over for a summer barbecue, make sure the porch and patio areas are in good shape and supportive. Give the handrails an inspection to see if they are shaky or need reinforcement. If you have wood decks, it’s a wise idea to stain and seal the wood grain surface to protect it from further damage caused by insects or just weathering. Sealing your wood can also prevent the wood from splintering and causing injury to others. Replace any weak planks as needed, too.

In the same way you should check for repairs in wood decks and patios, be sure to check concrete walkways and pavements around the home. If you see any broken joints or cracks in the stonework, make sure these areas are repaired to prevent a larger issue in the future. Otherwise, a piece of stone or slab could pop up and create a tripping hazard.

#7 Clean the Gutters

Make sure to clean the gutters and drains of any debris. While this step is often done in the fall after the leaves have dropped, summer is a great time to perform this task as well. During spring, some pollinated leaves can drop and mud can build up. Instead of letting them clog the drains and cause build-up that can, in turn, cause water damage inside the home, it’s a smart idea to take on this autumn task in summer, too.

#8 Guide Water Away From the Home

Once you clean the gutters, your work might not be totally done. Even when drains and gutters are clear and clean of debris, there’s a chance water from the winter season can affect the pipes. If you are not careful, water from the gutters can leak from the leader pipes, draining close to the house and getting into the basement.

Luckily, this is a relatively easy fix and summer is a great time to do it! Use a cooler summer day to dig a few trenches and install underground pipes to guide the roof water away from the home, especially any subfloor basement levels. And as a general rule, it’s imperative that all your landscaping is slanted downhill and away from your home.