Ah spring! It’s the time of year we start dreaming of baseball, barbecues and outdoor fun. It’s also a good time to take a look around the house, assess the effects of a long winter, and prepare for warmer weather that will be here before you know it. Just a few hours over one weekend will mitigate the potential for costly repairs down the road and improve your family’s comfort over the months ahead.
Check your weather stripping with these simple tests: For exterior doors, place a dollar bill between the doorjamb and the bottom of the door and then shut the door. If the dollar bill slides out easily when you pull on it, you might need new weather stripping. To test windows, wet your hand and run it along the perimeter to feel for any drafts or leaks. Don’t forget to look for loose pieces of stripping, excess dirt and debris, as well as cracks and tears in the stripping. These may worsen over time and result in additional leaks.
2. Inspect the Attic and Test the Ventilation Fan
While you are putting your winter gear away in the attic, take some time to inspect for signs of wear. Look for staining on wood supports and walls that are signs of a leaky roof. Check for condensation around pipes that may cause wood to rot. Make sure you have adequate insulation. At the same time, look for signs of squirrels or other critters. Tiny droppings or pellets, chewed storage containers, and worn-through wires are signs that you may have unwelcome visitors. Also, run your attic ventilation fan to see that it is in good working order.
3. Look for Problems on the Roof
Grab some binoculars and, working your way around your house, look for cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing. Check for broken or missing shingles, as well as worn rubber boots around vent pipes. Look for popped nails that need to be hammered back in place, as well as metal and vinyl flashing around chimneys, skylights, and attic vents that may have rusted or separated.
4. Clean the Gutters
Ruined paint on siding and a wet basement are common, and expensive, problems caused by clogged gutters. In addition to removing leaves from gutters along the roofline, make sure the downspouts are cleared of debris and angle away from the foundation of the house.
5. Trim Overhanging Tree Branches
Trim tree branches at least 10 inches away from the house to prevent abrasion from limbs and leaves that can damage paint and shingles. Overhanging branches also give squirrels and other rodents access to your roof.
Whether you do it yourself, or hire a contractor, incorporating these simple spring home maintenance steps into your seasonal routine will save you time and money by lowering your home energy costs and catching small problems before they turn into costly repairs.