How to Prepare Your Home for Spring
Spring can be a great time to clear out clutter and start fresh. But, while you’re organizing closets and cleaning out cabinets, don’t forget to also tackle some basic home maintenance. Just like a car, some parts of your home need regular maintenance to keep them in good working condition for years to come, especially after a rough winter. These checklists may help make it easier to tackle spring home maintenance projects.
Roof and Gutters Checklist
Rough winter weather can leave behind damage to your home’s roof or gutters and downspouts, according to HomeAdvisor. Below are a few steps you should consider taking after the ice, snow and frigid temperatures have moved on:
- Clean gutters and downspouts: Clear any debris out of your gutters that may have accumulated and ensure all the downspouts are directed away from your home. You should check for potential clogs by waiting for a rainy day or using a hose to fill the gutters and see if water exits the downspouts. If the gutters overflow, or water does not exit the spouts, you may have a clog. BobVila.com says smaller clogs may diminish after flushing the downspout with a hose, but tougher ones may require the use of other tools (such as a plumber’s snake). Taking these precautions may help you avoid water backing up towards your home and causing damage when the spring rain arrives, says the Insurance Information Institute (III).
- Check gutters for damage: Inspect your gutter system for damage, such as holes or cracks, that may have been caused by freezing and thawing of ice.
- Check for roof damage: Visually check the condition of your roof by looking for any damaged or missing shingles, says the III. It may also be a good idea to check your attic for any signs of leaks or moisture. If you find any problems, you’ll want to have them repaired — it’d also be a good idea to contact your insurance agent to see if your homeowner’s policy might help cover repairs.
Tip: Remember to use caution when working on your gutters or roof, especially if you’ll be on a ladder. If you are not comfortable inspecting and cleaning these parts of your home, contact a professional for help.
Air Conditioning System Checklist
Gear up for warmer weather with an air conditioner tune-up. Depending on where you live, you may not need to run your AC until summer hits — but it might be a good idea to get ahead by cleaning the unit and making any necessary repairs before then. Here are a few steps you should take, according to Angie’s List.
- Inspect the unit’s panels: Your air conditioner is surrounded by panels to enclose and protect its electrical system. Inspect these panels to ensure they’re still secured properly and haven’t sustained damage from harsh winter weather.
- Clear away debris: Remove leaves, twigs and other vegetation that may be on or around the air conditioning unit. You will also want to check the interior of the unit for any lawn debris that may have made it’s way inside. If not removed, debris may limit the efficiency of your AC — or even cause damage once the air conditioner is turned on, says the American Society of Home Inspectors.
- Change the air filter: The HVAC system’s air filter may have gathered debris and dust during winter. It’s a good idea to swap in a new one before you turn on your home’s A/C for the season and change it out regularly.
Tip: Although you may be able to perform some maintenance yourself, it may be a good idea to schedule a professional tune-up. They will be able to check your unit for any other potential problems and can help you with any needed repairs.
Home Exterior Maintenance Checklist
The winter season may have caused some wear and tear around the exterior of your home. Below are a few items you may want to inspect, according to HomeAdvisor:
- Siding: Take a walk around your house and look for any siding damage. Be sure to repair any pieces of siding that are extremely weathered or cracking. If you have painted wood siding, peeling or loose paint should be scraped off, sanded and repainted.
- Windows: Check for peeling or cracked caulk around the seals and repair as necessary. Repair or replace any screens that have holes to help prevent bugs from entering your home, and ensure winter wind hasn’t loosened any screens from their fasteners.
- Deck: Consider resealing your deck if it’s showing a lot of age — HomeAdvisor states that wood decks should be treated every six years at a minimum. You should also ensure there aren’t any deteriorating or loose boards.
- Foundation: If you have a brick home, inspect the mortar and see if any cracks need to be repaired. If you have a basement, inspect the walls and floor for cracks or other damage. If you can fit a nickel into any cracks, you may want to have a professional inspect the area to determine if repairs are necessary.
- Landscaping: Trim back shrubs and trees away from your home after winter has ended and throughout spring. This will help keep your home’s siding from getting scratched or damaged. It may also be a good idea to make sure landscaping is trimmed away from the home’s outdoor air conditioning unit as well, if you have one.
By setting aside time to get your home’s exterior ready for spring, you can ensure any potential issues following the winter season have been remedied — giving you more time to enjoy the new season ahead.
Originally published on March 6, 2012.