Here in the Midwest, we keep wondering if it will ever warm up. The good news is warmer temperatures will be here before we know it. Your home has been a warm refuge during these cold winter months, but what can you do to help prepare it for spring?
Inspect your roof: Check your roof for loose, warped or missing shingles and make sure the chimney flashing and skylight seals are still secure and intact.
Clean and repair your gutters: Make sure your gutters and downspouts are still securely attached to your home and check them for debris. Loose or blocked gutters may allow water into your home, causing damage. Remove as much debris as you can with gloved hands, and remove anything remaining with a garden hose. Shoving the hose into the downspout will help to force out anything caught up in the gooseneck bends. Your downspouts should channel water at least five feet from the foundation walls.
Look for leaks: Leaks often hide in hard to find places such as attics and crawl spaces. Also check for leaks around washing machine hoses, your water heater, and under sinks.
Clear exterior drains: To prevent backups, remove leaves and other debris from exterior or underground drains.
Check foundation vents: A house with a crawl space has vents along the foundation walls. The vents provide air circulation that helps eliminate excess moisture and mold growth, and prevents animals from taking up residence underneath your home. It’s amazing the size of hole an animal can get through. During the fall and winter, the screens collect leaves and other debris, so spring is a great time to clean them and check for damage. Clean the vents by hand or use a shop vacuum and repair any damaged screens.
Inspect siding: Inspect siding for pieces that have come loose during winter weather and storms.
Check window and door seals: To ensure that window and door seals remain watertight, examine the exterior caulking.
Patch cracks: Patch any cracks in sidewalks, steps or concrete driveways to keep water out and prevent further expansion and injuries.
Check your home’s grading: Ensure the grading of your yard slopes away from your home’s foundation to keep excess moisture at bay.
Replace Filters: Replace filters in your home, including water, range hood and air vent filters. Typically, they should all be replaced every 3-6 months, so the changing of the seasons is a good reminder.
Inspect the HVAC: Hire a qualified technician to service your home’s HVAC system to ensure it’s running properly before rising temperatures call for air conditioning. Now is also the time to replace your HVAC filters.
Paint the exterior: Of course painting or touching up the paint on the exterior of your home makes it look better, but it also helps to protect the home from the elements.
Clean Out the Dryer Vent: A clogged dryer vent can be a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect the vent from the back of the machine and use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. Outside your house, remove the dryer vent cover and use the brush to remove lint from the other end of the vent line. Make sure the vent cover flap moves freely.
Test all smoke alarms and CO detectors, and change the batteries as needed.
If you follow these tips, you can breathe easy and enjoy your spring, knowing you were proactive in caring for your home and family.