Ah, spring! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the windows are finally open! Now is definitely the time to take a realistic look at your home’s exterior (and all that goes with it), and do the necessary cleaning, or make repairs or replacements. Winter can be harsh, but springtime is all about renewal!
1. Roof and shingles
Winter storms, snow, and wind can take a toll on your roof shingles, and the summer sun doesn’t do your roof any favors, either. If you can, get up on a ladder and really take a good look at the condition of your shingles. Are they loose? Do you see any cracks or wearing? If so, you may want to begin to budget for a replacement roof by next winter. While you’re up there, make sure you check any skylights, and clear away debris. Examine the flashing around your plumbing vents and chimney to see if they should be repaired or replaced (by a qualified roofer, of course).
Make sure your gutters are intact, and there aren’t any loose, unconnected ends. Check for leaks, and again, getting up on a ladder, use a pair of rubber gloves to clean out leaves and debris. Perhaps invest in some gutter protectors to cut back on cleaning all together. Also, make sure your downspouts are draining away from your foundation, and purchase downspout extensions if you need to.
Check for low areas in your yard, and around your foundation. If you find areas that are lower than the rest of your yard, they can and should be leveled up with compacted soil to avoid having water pool in areas next to your foundation. When water pools, it’ll not only lead to damage, but it’s a perfect place for insects like mosquitos to breed, and no one needs more mosquitos in the summer.
While you’re up on that ladder, check your chimney exterior for any signs of over-winter damage. Now would be the time to hire a chimney sweep for a good cleaning and inspection, to avoid a chimney fire next autumn or winter.
Ice heaving during the winter can cause cracks and movement within your concrete sidewalks and walkways. Also, be sure to check garage floors and parking pads for signs of cracking. These can be easily filled with a concrete crack filler. If you know you’ll have a few nice sunny days in a row, fill the cracks, power wash the concrete, and re-seal it.
Firewood can be a home for bugs and vermin during the warmer months, so if you have firewood near your home, move it to a different location in the spring when you’re done with it for the season. Try to store firewood at least a foot off the ground, and away from any structure by a couple of feet, to avoid it becoming a nice haven for squirrels, mice, and rats.
7. Outside faucets
First, turn on the water, and cover the opening of the faucet with your finger or thumb. You shouldn’t be able to stop the flow of water, and if you can, you’ll need to check the interior pipes for leaks that could cause big damage. Now is also a great time to inspect your garden hose for spots of dry rot. Don’t wait until you’re ready to wash the car or water the garden to realize your hose needs replacing.
8. Air conditioning
Hire an HVAC professional to pay a visit. Have them clean and service your a/c unit. This will increase the energy efficiency of your unit, and will keep it working smoothly. Check interior filters, and purchase replacements if they are worn or dirty. Finally, make sure you test the unit well before you’ll need to use it, instead of waiting for that first hot day.
9. Lawn equipment
Get your lawn mower out and make sure it starts up. Change the oil, replace the spark plug, and clean up the air filter, if necessary. Clean the blades and take them in for sharpening if necessary. This will enable the mower to do the most efficient cutting job on your lawn. Also check out your leaf-blower, edge trimmer, and any other lawn equipment you use to make sure everything is working properly, and purchase anything you’ll need – such as trimmer string or 2-stroke oil. Check batteries in cordless items to make sure those batteries are charged when you need to use them.
If trees near your home have branches that are broken from snow weight, trim those before they fall on your roof. Trim back any other branches from your siding or windows. You can do this yourself, if you’re comfortable with it, or hire a professional.
11. Snow blower
If you live in a seasonal “winter wonderland”, you might use a snow blower to help keep your place from turning into a fancy igloo. Now that Spring has come, you’ll be ready to give your snow blower a rest. Before storing your snow blower away for the season, drain the fuel and run it until the gas line is clear. Remove the spark plug and store it. Cover it up for the season.
Check your deck for any boards that need to be replaced. Power wash it and reseal if necessary. After all, you have a long summer of use to look forward to!