Remodeling Innovations Group
August 2012

Summer Cleaning Check List



Every summer, you should clean your outside windows, screens, and shutters. It is necessary to remove the screens before cleaning the screens and windows, but it is not necessary to remove the shutters. Always use a broom to remove spider webs and dirt before using water. Be careful of possible bee, wasp, or hornet nests.

If you have a large number of windows or a two-story house, you should buy a window washing mixture that hooks onto your garden hose and makes the job much easier.

 Decks & Driveways

The beginning of summer is a great time to do these once-a-year cleaning jobs. Don't use a heavy duty power washer. They can be dangerous, and they can destroy your deck and driveway. For outdoor decks, use a diluted mixture of TSP or deck cleaner (available at home improvement stores), then use a push broom or stiff brush to scrub the deck clean. Be sure to rinse the deck well. For asphalt driveways, use 1 scoop of laundry detergent in one gallon of water. For concrete driveways, use 1/4 cup dishwashing detergent to 1 gallon of water. Scrub with a push broom, then rinse thoroughly.

Grease stains can be treated with kitty litter or dry cement left to absorb the stain and then swept away. You can also use a commercial grease remover.

 Lawn Mower

At the end of summer, you should completely clean your lawn mower and prepare it for storage. Never turn a lawn mower completely over. Use a block to prop it on its side. Somewhere on the lawnmower, it should tell you in which direction to lean the mower.

Drain any remaining gas and oil from the machine. Some machines have drains, and others have to be tipped to be drained from where you fill the oil or gas. Drain into an approved container for oil or gas, and then take to an oil-change place and ask them to properly dispose of the old oil and/or gas. Spray the underside of the lawn mower with a hose. Let it dry before storage to prevent rust.


Air Conditioning Units

Window units should be thoroughly cleaned at the end of the season. Unplug the unit and take off the front cover (on the inside). You can gently vacuum the coils with a brush vacuum attachment. Clean the filter for the last time of the season.

If you have a central air-conditioning unit, you should turn off the power to the unit, check the outside for any debris, spray it down with a hose, and then cover the unit. Purchase and attach an outside cover to protect the unit from the elements during fall and winter.

 The Pantry

It's time to sort through your pantry (summer and winter), throwing away whatever has gone bad or won't be used. This doesn't have to be a big job. Just drag over a big trash can and get started.

Pay attention to "Use By" dates. If the date hasn't passed but is coming up and you're not going to use the item, toss it. You should throw away any cans that are dented or are missing labels.


Twice a year (summer and winter), you should clean all of the mattresses in the house to keep dust mites under control.

Vacuum the top of the mattress, move the mattress and vacuum the box springs, then flip the mattress and vacuum the new top of the mattress. For further protection from dust mites, add a hypo-allergenic mattress pad and wash your sheets in hot water.

 Water Heater

Once a year, you should drain and flush your water heater. This cleans out all the sediment from the bottom of your water heater. It makes your unit run more efficiently and last longer. This can be a big job, depending on the size of your tank and where it is located in your home.

Because you are dealing with electricity (or gas) and potential flooding, it is worth calling in a professional. If you're an ambitious do-it-yourselfer, it's not a difficult job. Remember to turn off the electricity and then turn off the water before you begin. Turn the water back on first when you're done. The tank should not have electrical current if it is empty.

 Vents and Registers

If you have a central air-conditioning unit, you should clean the vents and registers at the end of the season. This means actually removing the registers. You should be able to vacuum both sides. If there's caked on dirt from condensation mixing with dust, you can use a damp cloth to clean it.

If anyone in your home suffers from allergies, you might also consider using a register filter to further clean the air during heating and cooling.

Remodeling Innovations Group

3695 N. 126th Street Unit E
Brookfield, Wisconsin 53005

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BLT Pasta Salad    



  • 8 ounces dry  penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt'sŪ Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 pkg (6 oz each) refrigerated diced oven roasted chicken breast
  • 10 slices fully cooked bacon, heated, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together drained tomatoes, mayonnaise and garlic salt in large bowl. Add pasta, chicken and bacon; toss to combine ingredients. Add spinach; gently toss together. Serve immediately.

Project of the Month:


What to Consider When Remodeling a Kitchen:


Remodeling your kitchen can be an exciting home improvement project that helps you tailor the room to your needs. However, a kitchen remodel also involves many decisions and options that can quickly become overwhelming if you are not prepared. Before beginning a kitchen remodeling project, there are several basic elements that you should consider to ensure that your kitchen turns out as you hope.


The first factor that you should consider when remodeling your kitchen is your budget. With any remodeling project, costs can quickly add up, and you may wind up with an unwelcome surprise when the bill comes in at the end of the remodel. Sit down and come up with a realistic figure for what you can spend on your kitchen remodel. Once you know how much money you have available for the project, you can decide which expenses are most important for your kitchen. You may have to choose between stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and granite counter tops, but you likely will not wind up with a mountain of debt at the end of your remodel.



Once you have settled on a budget, the primary decision that you need to consider is the style that you would like for your remodeled kitchen. In most cases, it's best to take cues from the rest of your home. If you have a house that features modern design elements, a country-style kitchen may seem out of place. While all the rooms of your home should not look identical, there should be some sense of flow and consistency between the various spaces in your house.

Custom vs. Pre-Made

When it comes to choosing cabinets for your kitchen remodel, you have two main options: pre-made and custom-built. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to determine which option best fits your needs. Pre-made cabinets are less expensive, but they may not fit your new kitchen's plan exactly. Drawers may need to be trimmed, while cabinets may jut out a bit too far from the wall. Custom-built cabinets allow you to create a kitchen that meets your specific design and requirements.

Available Space

Finally, when planning your kitchen remodel, it's important to consider the space that is available for the project. The amount of space dictates which features you can include in your kitchen and may help you decide how to best arrange the various elements to meet your needs. If you're planning to expand your kitchen during your remodel, you will probably have more options. You may want to consider adding a dining area, a space for a table or an island, or a countertop with stools. If your family plans to use the kitchen for homework, bill-paying or other paperwork, you may want to add a work station with room for a computer as well.