Sun’s a Bitch

Here’s how to counteract its destructiveness

Although our weather tends to be gentler on homes and cars than the snow and rain of unluckier towns, the sun is our special nemesis. Here are some things to take care of before the relentless summer heat takes care of them for you.

Car upholstery: Tinting and slipcovers help keep fabrics from fading. Skip fancy chemical cleaners like those with perchlorethylene, which might work but can also accelerate fading and wear. Instead, use mildly soapy water to remove that oily french-fry and body residue. (Source: Mike Hackman, Perfect Stitch Car Upholstery, 1010 N. Stephanie St., Suite A6, Henderson.)

Battery: Keep the fluid topped off (unless you have a “maintenance-free” battery) and the terminals clean. Pull the clamps, sprinkle them with baking soda and scrub with a moistened wire “toothbrush” until all that white corrosion is gone. Coat the posts in Vaseline or white-lithium grease and reinstall the clamps, making sure they are tight. If your battery is 3 years old or more, have a garage or automotive center test it to determine its life expectancy. (Source: AAA.)

Windshield wipers:  Swap out last year’s blades before the first monsoon hits and you find that your wipers have peeled apart like string cheese or are smearing water uselessly back and forth across your bug-spotted glass. (Source: the author, from year after year of failing to learn the lesson.)

Car hood mange: We’ve all seen scorched paint that only looks cool if your coupe re-entered the atmosphere after docking with the International Space Station. Besides parking in the shade, keeping your car clean and waxed helps it age better. (Source: the author.)

Plant health: If your plants are wilting or their leaves are turning yellow and their tips brown, you’re giving them either too much water or not enough. A lot depends on soil drainage and plant type, so check with your local nursery or just keep playing with dripper times. A general rule of thumb is that plants need to be watered about three times as often in summer and about 25 percent longer than they do in winter. (Source: Star Nursery, 5340 Boulder Hwy.)

Jungle pool:  If your pool is just starting to turn a pale green, an extra dose of shock should sort it out. Algicides will work, but they aren’t cheap. If the water is an opaque green, heavy doses of muriatic acid will kill the growing menace, and you can worry about balancing chemicals after the green is gone. If there is a forest of algae and you see shadows moving in the depths, pump it out and shovel the muck. (Source: Finni’s Pool Service, 1010 N. Stephanie St., Suite 5, Henderson.)

House paint: Under the sun, wood trim and eaves crack and peel way before stucco. They suck up rain in the winter and swell, then shrink in the heat, stretching and breaking the paint layer. But if you plan on repainting, remember that the surface needs to stay between 50 and 90 degrees for at least eight hours, (Source: Andrew Acheson, the Home Depot, 1030 Sunset Rd., Henderson.)

Furnishings and floor coverings: If you aren’t into the aluminum-foil grow-house aesthetic, go with sunscreens. They knock down heat and dust, but they can’t do it as well if they are ripped or loose in their frame. Window tinting is more architecturally discreet than screens, but consider how much you want to limit your natural winter light since, unlike screens, film can’t be easily removed and replaced. Note: Film needs to be applied when the temperature of the window doesn’t exceed 90 degrees for three consecutive days. So maybe you can put this one off till fall, after all! (Source: Dee Lewis, assistant manager, Green Valley Ace Hardware.)

Back to the summer guide. 

Suggested Next Read

Fit and Swim

Summer Guide

Fit and Swim

By Heidi Kyser

When the soaring mercury sends bikers and runners to the gym, swimming can keep our summer workouts beneath the open sky. But even in Las Vegas, with its profusion of backyard pools, many of us aren’t in tune with what it takes to actually make swimming part of an effective fitness regime. Dacha Nedorezova, a former member of Russia’s national synchronized-swimming team and now the aquatic coach for Le Rêve, has some hints: Why swim?