We’ve persevered long, dark dreary nights and we’re finally being rewarded with some spring weather! The sun’s shining, flowers are blooming, and summer’s just around the corner. When the weather warms, it’s time to review the condition of your home. Take a stroll around your property and follow these home maintenance tips to ensure your home stays in tip-top condition.
Inspect the Roof
Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, checking the condition of your roof is a vital spring activity. Your roof keeps moisture out of your home and off your prized possessions. It is a complex, integrated system that deserves at least annual attention.
Winter storms cause damage, and damage is the primary cause of leaks. Water can seep under cracked, loosened or bruised shingles into the materials below. Nails can pop, shingles can lift, gutters can clog, and flashings can shift. Spotting minor problems and repairing them is less expensive and less demanding than handling a major disaster.
Experts estimate that roof maintenance costs about 2% of the roof installation cost per year, but a poorly maintained roof lasts only about half of its service life.
Walk the Perimeter
The high winds, pelting rain, hail and snow associated with our Rhode Island winters all take their toll on the exterior of your home. Spring is a great time to walk the perimeter of your home to check for potential problems.
Stains or cracks on exterior walls indicate something is amiss. Water may have travelled to other areas rather than through downspouts. Wind or hail can crack or bruise siding and weaken it, allowing water or insects to penetrate it. Cracks in the foundation may require specialized attention, because do-it-yourself products seldom resist the pressure water exerts on them.
Windows and doors need attention too. Inspect the caulking and weather stripping. They are your first line of defense against water and air. Cracked or missing weather stripping reduces heating and cooling efficiency and increases utility bills.
Access Outdoor Spaces
Walking around your yard, deck areas, and outbuildings provides a great overview of what needs to be done. Debris strewn over the yard and weeds popping up around the foundation or in the gutters are best attended to sooner, rather than later. High winds leading to flying debris or weeds interfering with water drainage can be common causes of damage, and we all know how quickly weeds multiply!
Check to make sure that your outdoor water system is in good working order and repair any leaky taps.
Clean and repair decks. A faded or worn finish on a deck will shorten its lifespan, so stain and reseal it before the summer heat. Also check your fences and outdoor structures such as gazebos, trellises and garden sheds for any signs of wear.
Power wash your patio or sidewalks if they are stained or covered in mildew.
Take a look at your outdoor grill, too. After sitting idle over the winter, it may need some TLC. Clean the grill and check the hoses and connections. Ensure you have propane so you’re ready to fire up the grill as soon as a burger craving strikes. Most importantly, make sure it’s far enough away from the house before lighting it!
Inspect HVAC Systems
Now that the weather is starting to warm, you’ll want to ensure heating, ventilating and air conditioning units are in prime condition. If your air conditioner is outdoors, remove the winter covers or condenser shield. Ensure the power is off, and then clear away vent debris. Inspect the condenser, insulation, and concrete pad for damage.
Indoors, inspect and replace the furnace filter and clean the condenser reservoir. Dry and vacuum your dehumidifier filter and have the air vents and fresh air intakes cleaned in your home. Clean your bathroom fan and switch your ceiling fans so they spin counter clockwise to pull up cool air.
Check Basement & Attic
You’ve checked the exterior, now it’s time to search high and low within. A quick walk through the attic may detect water leaks, mold or mildew and insect infestations.
Basements are often penetrated by water. If you notice dampness in the basement, there could be several reasons for it. The humidity level could be too high, or you may have a leak. You may also want to expose a small area of framing to check for insect tunneling.
Following these few simple home maintenance tips will ensure you cover the most important issues. Caring for your home increases its value and lifespan, and improves its appearance. Not only that, but a well maintained home is certainly a safer home.