“No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn.” – Author Hal Borland
We’ve weathered the snow storms, endured the cold and survived the woes of the calendar’s cruelest months. Even the notorious winter-loving Punxsutawney Phil has shed his shadow and is saying bring on spring.
The sun will soon rise on the year’s most hopeful season. For many families, spring means escaping cabin fever, heading out to the ball field and planting flowers.
It’s easy to forget our homes also spend winter locked in winter’s vice grip with no chance to breath fresh air that’s not freezing. Our homes take 10 times the beating winter’s harsh elements inflict on us. Winter also puts most families’ home maintenance projects on, well, ice.
Here are 10 expert-recommended home-maintenance tips that can get your home ready for the sweet return of spring and ensure it’s financial, stability and livability health throughout the year.
Get Rid Of Your Gutter Clutter
The closet and attic aren’t the only spots in need of spring cleaning. Your home’s gutters can get dirtier than a pig taking a mud bath during the woes of winter. And improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl spaces. Check your gutters for clutter, leaks and structural issues. Ensure your downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
Secure Your Home’s Foundation
Fill low areas in the yard in the yard or next to your home’s foundation with compacted soil. April’s showers may bring May flowers, but they can also cause yard flooding, which can produce foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas come June, it offers a breeding ground for insects.
The Basement Walk-Through
Who knows what harmful winter damage secrets your basement’s keeping unless you do a thorough walk-through yourself. Basements are prone to dampness and insects. Basement dampness suggests higher than normal relative humidity levels, inadequate ventilation and the need for a dehumidifier. Also check the base of poured concrete walls.
“Cracks start from the bottom up, not the top down,” Curtis S. Niles, president of the National Association of Home Inspectors, told bobvilla.com. “If there’s water penetration, it’ll show at the bottom of those cracks.”
Also take a close look with a flashlight for water damage and exposed framing.
“If there’s water penetration, it’ll show at the bottom of those cracks,” Niles said. “If you see even a quarter-inch or so of tunneling on the wood, call a pest control company immediately.”
Ensure Your Wood’s Good
Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Performing wood repairs now can prevent spring’s heavy rains from inflicting more damage to exposed wood.
Since we’re talking about wood, be sure to remove all firewood stored inside or near the home. Firewood should be kept at least 18 inches off the ground and at least two feet from structures.
Inspect Your Shingles For The Winter Shingles
Winter can put a big hurt on your home’s most essential protection from the elements: Your roof. Examine roof shingles for damage brought on by winter. If your home has an older roof covering, putting part of your tax return aside for a roof replacement fund is a wise preemptive move for roofs facing major damage.
Remember, waiting on roof problems will only lead to bigger roof migraines later on. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or missing granules must be replaced. Also, checking flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys is a spring home maintenance must. Have a qualified roofer tend to any needed repairs.
Don’t neglect a central part of your home’s exhaust system. Inspect the exterior of your chimney for signs of damage. Call a certified chimney sweep to clean and inspect the flue. After all …
“Winter’s tough on roofs and chimneys,” Niles said.
Perform The Concrete Crack Test
Check your concrete slabs for signs of cracks and movements. Ensure all exterior slabs except pool decks drain away from your home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. Power-wash and then seal the concrete when weather permits.
Winter’s cold goes full throttle on outside hose faucets. Check house faucets for freeze damage and perform a spring pre-watering test on your hoses. Turn the water on and place a thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is probable the inside pipe is damaged and will need to be replaced. Also, inspect garden hoses for dry rot.
The A/C’s Alright Check
An annual home maintenance rite of spring should be having a professional heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of your home’s air conditioning system. An annual service call will ensure clean coils and have your system working at peak performance levels. Also be sure to change interior filters on a regular basis.
Evict Any Attic Hoarders
Perform a thorough inspection of your attic to make sure your home didn’t turn into a Pest Hotel over the winter. Search for signs that indicate insects and critters have moved in. Also check thoroughly for mold, which often takes the form of gray or black blotches that look like staining. Proper insulation and strong ventilation will deter mold growth.
We’ve escaped the chains of winter. Warmer, brighter and more fun days lie ahead. Performing a comprehensive spring home maintenance check can ensure your home fully recovers from the harsh cold of winter and is ready for rains, sun and warmth of spring and beyond.