Before a couple of massive snowstorms recently buried the East Coast, this winter season was, by comparison with years past, relatively mild. By now though many of us have had our fill of shoveling, canceled school days, and salt-stained boots. Winter has lasted long enough.
Although Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Feb. 2, we’re still holding out for an early spring this year.
While many would love nothing more than a breath of fresh spring air, sometimes the season’s warm breezes and bright sunshine are overlooked by any damage caused by the harshness of winter weather. Whether it’s the cracked driveway, leaf-clogged gutters, or plants crushed by snow in last year’s flower beds, there always seems to be something wrong come springtime.
As temperatures rise and you reemerge to find the outside world habitable again, it’s time to conduct any necessary home maintenance. Doing so now will help you avoid expensive repairs in the future. You can think of maintenance like homeowners insurance – a great way of protecting what’s yours.
To help you get started, we’ve put together some tips for getting your home into shape.
Inspect your roof
Frigid winds and heavy snow can wreak havoc on a roof, so inspect shingles for damage from the ground. If your roof covering is older, now might be the time to begin budgeting for a replacement. Remember to inspect the flashing around any chimneys, skylights, or plumbing vents as well.
Clean your gutters
Debris likes to accumulate in gutters and downspouts during winter, so it’s best to clear them before any April showers arrive. Some gutters may have loosened or cracked as well. That could be a big problem, as poor drainage can cause basement or crawl space flooding. To prevent it, make sure all downspouts drain away from your home’s foundation.
Service air conditions/HVAC filters
Bring in a professional heating and cooling contractor to service your home’s system. They can clean or replace HVAC filters, which takes some of the burden off your ventilation system (not to mention your wallet) and ensure that everything is working at peak efficiency levels.
Repair any broken screens
Chances are that you’d like to lower your energy bills this summer. Intact window screens can play a big part in that. Having your windows open at night can help to keep your house cool, but you don’t want mosquitos and other summer bugs just waltzing in to enjoy the decor. To keep them out, patch any small holes in your screens.
Remove dead trees
Branches break and trees die during the winter. Unfortunately, that means your lawn could be strewn with branches. Not only does this present a fire hazard, but it can also harm your lawn’s health. If you wanted to, you could cut everything up for firewood. If you do, make sure to store it off the ground and at least two feet away from any structure.
Fix cracks in walks and driveways
While you’re out enjoying the nicer weather, inspect all concrete, asphalt, and stucco for cracks. If you find any, they’re easily repaired with silicone caulk or concrete crack filler. Remember that you want every slab to drain away from the foundation of your home.
Check faucets for damage
Outside hose faucets will freeze in winter, leaving them damaged for spring and summer. To check to see if you need to replace yours, turn the water on and put your finger over the hose opening. If the water flow is easily stopped, you may have a broken pipe in need of replacement.
Replace smoke detector batteries
Despite the fact that functioning smoke detectors can quite literally be the difference between life and death, we have a habit of ignoring them. Spring home maintenance is the time to change that. Change the batteries in every unit and test them to be sure they’re working properly.
Prepare gas-powered lawn equipment
Warmer weather will be here before you know it. To be as prepared as possible, check the condition and functionality all of your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment. If you own a lawnmower, change the engine oil and sharpen the blade. Clean, well-maintained equipment will make your yard work a whole lot easier.
Drain your water heater
Sediment piles up in the bottom of water heater tanks the more they’re used. To help clear it, use the spigot found near the bottom of the heater. Not only will you help to extend your heater’s longevity, but you’ll save some money on your electric bill as well. While you’re draining it, be sure to check for any potential leaks or corrosion.