Now that winter is in the rear-view mirror and we’re well into spring, it’s a good time to take a closer look at your home for winter damage and start repairs so you can enjoy the warmer months ahead. Seasonal inspections go a long way to protect the investment in your home and if you do it on a regular basis it will take less time every year.
Here is why this type of maintenance is essential when you’re a homeowner:
Value:A well-kept home keeps its value.
Appearance: The “curb appeal” of your property is important.
Protection: Your home is better prepared to face the elements and other threats.
Identifies problems: You correct any issues before they become costly repairs.
So, before you break out the patio furniture and start planting your gardens, you might want to follow these tips to get your home ready for a headache-free season:
On the outside
Do an exterior inspection: Examine the foundation to see if there’s any winter damage. Watch for cracks and leaks and repair as required. Keep an eye out for low spots on driveways, patios, and walkways that may have formed near the foundation that could trap water.
Examine roof shingles: Look for any shingles that were lost or damaged during winter. Shingles that are cracked, buckled, loose, or missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired, if necessary, by a qualified roofer.
Clean out gutters/downspouts: Winter build-up of ice can damage eavestroughs. Check for leaks and sections that are low or loosely attached to the roof. Remove debris and use a hose to flush out eavestroughs starting at the upper end. If downspout extensions are detached or leak, water will soak into the ground at the foundation and can lead to a damp basement. If you aren’t comfortable on a ladder consult local companies that can do the work for you.
Fix cracks - Cracks that may have occurred in your foundation, walkways, and patio during the winter can allow water to get into your house. You can also fix cracks and seal asphalt driveways every few years.
Check the attic – This inspection is important to ensure no leaks have developed from melting snow. You will also want to make sure no mice, insects, or other animals have nested over the winter. Check insulation to ensure it is intact and look for signs of mold or water damage.
Caulk, repair windows - Just like cracks, gaps between your windows can let water and animals inside. Scrape off any old caulking and replace it. Check any wood trim or sills for signs of decay and repair or replace them as needed. Repair any torn screens.
Inspect air conditioning unit, outdoor faucets, lights - Having your air conditioning unit inspected by a professional before turning it on is a good safety measure and could also help prolong the life of the unit. Make sure your outdoor faucets, receptacles, and lighting are not damaged. Turn the water back on and look for leaks. Replace exterior light bulbs, as necessary. Clean and inspect barbecues.
Move wood, junk away from the house – Stacks of firewood you had up against the house all winter needs to be moved. It’s damp and will be a perfect breeding ground for a variety of insects.
Fence and deck maintenance - Check your fence and deck for signs of damage, cracked or split boards, unstable areas, and signs of pest damage. Look for holes under the deck and fence. Depending on the type of wood, you may also need to seal or stain your deck.
Check power equipment - Check gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yard work easier.
Start lawn and garden cleanup - Once the snow is gone, fertilize young trees and grass before the summer and re-sow to replace dead patches of grass. Prune dead branches and broken branches so they don’t fall and damage your property.
On the inside
Spring clean – Now’s the time to deep clean spaces that are often neglected. Doing so will help move dust, mites, and other allergens. Clean your oven and fridge. Vacuum upholstered chairs and mattresses, dust window cases and ceiling fans, and wash or dry clean fabrics or drapes. Clean blinds with a damp cloth and shampoo carpets. Don’t forget to wash the windows to let the sunshine in!
Change furnace/air-purifying filters – Clean or replace furnace filters. Vacuum exhaust grilles and clean the blades of bathroom fans to help ensure good airflow. Check the lint hose and dryer exhaust for buildup, which can be a fire hazard.
Check fire alarms/carbon monoxide detectors – With the change of season, it’s a good habit to change the batteries. These detectors can save your life.
Test electrical panel – Often overlooked, prevent future issues by testing the ground fault circuit interrupters and the electrical panel.