Spring is here and is the ideal time to inspect in and around your home for any safety hazards! Here are 10 maintenance areas to consider this spring.
1. Clean gutters and check for leaks. Clean out any leaves or debris that may have accumulated in the gutters. Check to make sure the downspout directs water away from the foundation, and add extensions if necessary to keep the water away from your house. It’s also a good plan to install gutter guards. These will protect your gutters from clogging and ensure that water does not accumulate on the roof.
2. Replace roof shingles. It’s no fun waking up to water dripping from your roof, and the significant cost of repairs can cause major headaches. Check for roof damage, including missing shingles, leaks, and general aging, as soon as possible after the snow melts. Shingles that are cracked or loose need to be replaced.
3. Repair concrete. Ice can do serious damage to cement and exterior walkways around your home. Inspect concrete for shifting cement or for cracks, which should be filled with caulk or concrete crack filler.
4. Inspect pipes for leaks. Water damage can mean big insurance claims, so check for leaks in pipes and faucets as well as in hoses leading to dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators.
In addition, know the location of the main water shutoff valve in your home. A damaged hose or a burst pipe can send water racing into your home. You will save yourself time and money by knowing where this valve is located and how to use it to shut off the water supply.
5. Replace smoke detector batteries. While you’re prepping your home for spring, make sure all smoke detectors have fresh batteries and are working properly.
6. Seal windows and doors. A windy winter may have damaged the seals on your windows and doors. Check caulking for decay around doors, windows, corner boards, and joints, and re-caulk as needed. Be sure seals are tight to improve insulation and prevent water damage.
7. Prepare lawn equipment. Replacing your engine oil will increase the life of your machine, and a sharpened blade will make yard work easier.
8. Check the basement for water damage. Basements can bear the brunt of water damage if not checked frequently. They’re also a prime location for mold. If the air is too dry, consider a dehumidifier. If you have standing water, figure out whether the problem is on the interior or the exterior of your house.
9. Test the air conditioning units. Don’t wait for a hot day to discover that your air conditioning is not functioning properly. Spring is the right time to change the filters, clean the system, and make sure everything is working to maximum efficiency. Clean filters will also prevent your air conditioner from straining, there are many companies that will mail you filters monthly! Hire a contractor who can clean and inspect your mechanical systems.
10. Check your washer and dryer for fire hazards. Lint can escape a dryer hose that has been poorly connected and can then build up against the wall, causing a fire hazard.
As a homeowner, it’s impossible to prevent every problem that could arise. But with regular maintenance can help reduce frequency and over-all costs!
image: CC Flickr US Fish and Wildlife Services