Spring is finally here! (Well, maybe… if Mother Nature can make up her mind…) Time to actually start that diet you promised yourself you would do in January… and time for the DREADED spring cleaning. But where to even start? In this month’s blog we are going to break down a couple of “must do” home maintenance items. So even if you don’t get your “beach body ready”, your home will look its best come summer!
1. Gutter Check!
“April showers bring….” A whole lot of mess! That’s what they bring… Before the rains get too heavy it’s a good thing to check your gutters to ensure they are in good working condition as debris from fall and winter can cause your gutters to get clogged. Think clogged gutters are “No big deal”? Well think again! The excess weight of leaves, twigs, and standing water can cause your gutters to sag and pull away from the fascia on your house, causing you to need major gutter repairs or replacement and rotten fascia boards. Standing water can also attract unwanted pests such as mosquitoes and roaches!
seriously… this isn’t what i meant by “add a little green…”
Don’t have gutters? You may want to consider this investment for your home. Gutters carry water away from your home and prevent siding damage, wood rot and foundation damage due to prolonged moisture exposure. The minor cost associated with having them installed now vs. replacing siding or dealing with a foundation crack later generally makes this home improvement worth it!
2. Check safety devices
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least twice a year. Make it part of your spring cleaning routine to replace batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check for recalls on your detectors by visiting Recalls.gov.
3. Eliminate insect breeding grounds!
Inspect your property for standing water to help eliminate mosquito and other insect breeding spots. Make sure to check any flower pots, trash cans, bins etc that may have collected water over winter/spring. Puddles in your yard and garden can also be a major culprit and a hotbed of annoying insect activity!
4. No pressure… but you need to pressure wash.
Siding, fences, decks, porches, patios… all these items can probably use a good pressure wash come spring. Mildew and dirt can build up over time and removing it will not only keep your fixtures lasting longer, but will maintain your homes curb appeal. And if you live in an HOA… it will keep you from getting those nasty warning letters! Just make sure to move any breakables and avoid windows if you are going to tackle this chore on your own!
5. Re-caulk windows.
Here in NC our winters aren’t generally very severe. However, after an especially cold snap (or if you haven’t done it in the last few years) you may want to consider re-caulking your windows. This will help keep the cold air in and the warm air out (and vice versa come cooler months!) AND help ensure that your HVAC system runs more efficiently… saving you $$$ on your electric bills! Not sure how? Check it out here!)
6. Get your Air Conditioner serviced
Now is the time to ensure that your AC system is functioning properly! Call a professional out to clean the AC BEFORE you plan on needing it. Most AC companies offer a Maintenance Agreement that includes a Freon check, air filter check, coil clean, motor lube, drain line check, compressor check, thermostat check … you get it. If a problem can be identified BEFORE it causes an issue you won’t have to worry about your AC going out when the temps reach 100+!
This could be you this summer…
7. Roof Inspection!
Visually eye the roof to check for any damage that may have occurred over the winter. Look for any loose shingles, check the seals around the chimney, flashing and skylights. Check corners, soffits and fascia while you’re at it. These are all areas that are subject to water damage and wood rot. Try to avoid climbing up on the roof (unless you are a roofing professional, then have at it!) and use binoculars to check it out. If you see any issues, call a roofing professional (*cough* capefearflooringandrestoration *cough*) to conduct a roof inspection and ensure that there are no more serious issues, and to get your roof fixed before it becomes worse. A leaky roof can lead to collapsed ceilings, rotting support beams and of course… the dreaded MOLD!
8. Inspect concrete.
Often people don’t notice an issue with their sidewalks or driveways until it is too late. When ice and snow melt during the winter months, the water flows into any available cracks and crevices. It then refreezes, expanding and causing the once small cracks to slowly grow and grow until they become a major issue. Loose concrete, as well as heavy cracking, can cause serious injury (to you and your guests!) and even damage to your vehicle. Now is the time to take care of those tiny cracks and repair them if need be with caulk or concrete crack filler.
9. Check outside water sources.
Before too long you will need to use your outdoor faucets and water sources for your plants, gardens and sprinklers. Before use, it’s a good idea to check your hose, sprinkler systems and faucets to ensure that no dry rot or winter damage has occurred. Inspect hoses and faucets to make sure water is flowing properly. Flush your sprinkler system and check the heads and lines for leaks. A damaged hose, faucet OR sprinkler system can cause quite a mess to occur in your yard, and your water bill to skyrocket.
10. Replace outdoor lighting.
Just because the sun has set doesn’t mean you will want to go inside! Exterior lighting such as porch lights, flood lights and solar lights all need to be checked this spring. Make sure all lighting is in good shape to include; wires are safe, bulbs are replaced, all components are working and functioning properly. And while you’re at it, clean the bugs out and give that globe a good washing!
11. Check the attic.
Winter is over (hopefully) and now its time to take a look up… to the attic! A couple of key items to keep an eye out for include:
- Signs of rodents! These include chewing, bedding and holes. Handle any issues you may see with traps and preventative measures.
- Signs of leaks! This includes wet spots, sagging, puddles and of course mold. This is a sure sign that you may need to have your roof repaired or fixed. Need assistance? Give us a call!
12. Wood rot…
Wouldn’t you rather not? (see what I did there?) Unfortunately, this annoying chore is also necessary. Melting snow and ice can cause havoc on the wooden areas of your home. Siding, window/door frames, garage door frames, soffits and fascia, fences… the list goes on and on. Replace or repair as needed. This will help to ensure that the issue doesn’t get WORSE and cause MAJOR repair costs down the road (plus it keeps your house looking its best. If you repair as you go you save money in the long run!). Also, when dealing with door and window frames, resolving any issues can prevent drafts AND bugs
Something small can quickly turn into this…
Which can turn into this…
(This last one may be a BIT extreme… but you get my point…)
13. Clean out that garage!
Over the fall and winter the garage tends to fill up with stuff. Halloween decorations, Christmas ornaments… they all get thrown in the garage and come April it can be a chore just to find what you need! Start by tossing out items that are broken and donate the things you don’t use anymore. Organize kids toys, garden equipment and tools with shelves, hooks and handy cubbies (see helpful link HERE ) Sweep the floor or use a shop vac to finish up.
(If your garage actually looks like this, I’m gunna need you to come do mine…)
18. Watch for termites
While you may hear “Spring” and think of flowers and kites… spring is also peak pest season. Termites can be among the most detrimental pest to your home, causing hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars’ worth of repairs. They begin to emerge after the last winter freeze. Look for swarms and mud tubes as a sure indication that you have a problem. If you see them schedule a visit with a licensed pest control company to remove them as soon as possible to prevent damage to the structure of your home. Termites are one of those issues that you do NOT want to risk “DIY-ing”. Call a professional to assist you.
How to prevent them? Store wood away from the structure and foundation of your home. Keep shrubbery trimmed near your home, allowing at least a foot between the shrub and your home (does anyone else have the sudden urge to quote Monty Python with all this shrubbery talk??) Use pine needles instead of mulch. Apparently termites are a bit of a picky eater and they don’t like pine needles (ants dislike pine needles as well…). Don’t like pine needles? Try pea gravel, rubber or other ‘non organic’ material instead of mulch. Avoid moisture around your homes foundation (see #’s 3 and 12…), make sure to properly maintain your homes exterior (wood rot anyone?) and minimize moisture with a good vapor barrier (check out our crawlspace encapsulation services HERE).
19. Add a touch of green!
I’m not talking money. I’m talking flowers and plants! A simple raised flower bed is an easy weekend project, and a hanging basket costs $9 at Wal-Mart… Do you have existing landscaping already? Inspect flowerbeds and trees for damage, disease and unwanted pests. Fill any bare spots with a mulch like substance (pine straw, pea gravel etc… remember?) and replace any plants that have died. This will boost your curb appeal and you’ll love seeing the gorgeous greenery and flowers every time you drive up to your home!
See the difference? PLUS you will get a brand new Maserati!
(Brand new Maserati not included with landscaping. Your results may vary…)
20. Inspect and maintain lattice, fences, deck and outdoor stairs.
All these items can be damaged from snow, ice and cold. Make sure to include stairs, balconies, rails, lattice, fences and decks in your checklist. If they are made of wood check for signs of mold, rot, moss and fungus. If they are metal check for rust, and if they are concrete check for cracks/crumbling. Beyond that ensure that steps are stable and level and railings and handrails are securely attached. Safety first!
See? Don’t just take my word for it!
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