The snow has melted, baseball season has started, and you are already making plans for long days in the sun. But, don’t get ahead of yourself… Before you get too comfortable dreaming about that lawn chair, there are a few things you might want to take care of first.
Just like we check our home and prepare in anticipation of winter, there are some things around your house you will want to check now that the winter is over. Let’s walk through a spring home maintenance guide that will help you make sure that your home is beautiful, well-maintained, and just as ready for spring as you are.
It’s a good idea to walk around the exterior of your home to check for any possible damage that may have occurred over the winter and general wear and tear. Here are some things you should look for:
- Gutters and Downspouts: Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.
- Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.
- Exterior Caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all the eroding caulk and re-caulk the needed area.
- Window Sills, Door Sills, and Thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.
- Window and Door Screens: Clean screening and check for holes. Holes bigger than a quarter leave plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames that are allowed to flap and move, so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
- Drain Waste and Vent System: Flush out system.
- Hot Water Heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor.
- Evaporative Air Conditioner: Clean unit, check belt tension and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.
- Furnace: Lubricate blower motor.
- Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a professional. If you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation, call a professional immediately.
- Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves and soffits. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.
- Decks and Porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every four to six years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should, or water has turned some of the wood a dark gray, hire a professional to treat your deck and fence.
- Landscape: Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes that are touching structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint, requiring that side of the house to be repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.
- Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.
Now, let’s move on to the interior of your home:
- Basement: Check the moisture level in your basement. High moisture levels can mean inadequate ventilation and the need for a dehumidifier. You should also check for any visible signs of water damage.
- Attic: Check your attic for any possible areas of water leakage. You will also want to check that you have proper insulation and good ventilation in the attic. Check the coverage of your insulation, that there are no bare spots. You should also make sure that your insulation is not obstructing any vents. Another thing to check for is signs of any pests that may have moved in during the winter.
- Pipes: Check all faucets, drains and pipes. You will want to make sure that there are no signs of leaking or sweat (condensation) on any of your pipes of plumbing fixtures. You should also check to make sure that all pipe and hose connections are properly sealed.
- Dryer Vent: Lint from dryers can cause a fire. Detach the corrugated dryer vent from behind the dryer and either clean or replace. Hire a professional that has tools to clean the dryer vents that are inside the walls. If your living room walls look as though they are sweating, chances are this is because your dryer vents are clogged.
- Foundation Walls: Look for openings/gaps/holes and seal with the appropriate sealing compound.
- Smoke Detector: Good idea to retest again.
By using these few maintenance guidelines, you can enjoy a worry-free spring and summer knowing that your house is in good condition for the year ahead.
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