Springtime Home Maintenance
After a long and dark winter, we have finally reached spring! The bright sun, cool breezes, and all the fresh air we’ve been wanting. The only downside? All that sunshine puts a nice spotlight on your leaf filled gutters, cracked cement, and worn down shingles.
As a home inspector, I cannot express how important keeping up on regular indoor and outdoor household maintenance is. Taking just a little bit of time now to check on things around your home can save you both time and money down the road. I’ve put together a list of things you can do today to make sure your home is as cared for a s possible.
I do have to say that while owning a home can be the ultimate ‘Do It Yourself’ experiment, hiring a professional is nothing to be ashamed of. When in doubt, hire it out.
Examine Roof Shingles
You want to check for any damage or loss that happened during winter, particularly those around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys. If your home has an older roof, you should start making a plan to replace it. The damage from winter, coupled with the hot sun of summer can potentially cause even further damage. Any shingles that are loose, buckled, or cracked should be replaced by a licensed and qualified roofer.
Check the Gutters
Make sure you check all of your gutters and drainage systems for cracks and leaks. You will also want to double check that all downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear of all debris. You might even consider installing gutter protectors or screens to help keep them clear year round.
Test Outside Faucets
Check your outside hose faucets for freeze damage. If you don’t already disconnect your hose from the faucet before winter, start this year. To test it, turn the water on and place your thumb over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water with just your thumb, it is likely the pipe inside the home has been damaged and will need to be looked at.
Service Your AC
Aside from changing interior filters on a regular basis, it’s important to keep the AC Unit clean as well. I recommend calling an AC contractor to come out and give it a tuneup. Being outside, the unit is exposed to pretty much everything and the more clean it is, the more efficiently it runs.
Recaulk Windows and Doors
Who doesn’t like to save money? Ensuring all your home’s windows and doors are properly sealed will keep the cool air in during the warmer months and the warm air during the cooler months. Keep an eye on the weather stripping as well.
Check Sprinkler and Irrigation Systems
Aside from saving water, making sure your irrigation system is working correctly will save your plants and lawn as well.
Run the entire system and walk the property inspecting each zone
Check for any broken or damaged sprinkler heads
Adjust the heads that are spraying the street, sidewalk, or porches to avoid wasting water
If you are not sure how to maintain your sprinkler system, call a professional. It will save you both time, headache, and you’ll probably learn a little something as well.
Air Duct Cleaning
As an incredibly crucial part of your home’s HVAC system, it’s important to keep them clean and free of dust and debris. Because the air ducts cycle air several times a day, they can quickly spread bacteria, mold, and allergens. Keeping every part of HVAC as clean as possible will keep your family healthy and your home feeling fresh.
We all have a crazy amount of things plugged in throughout our homes and it’s easy to neglect their condition. Check for frayed wires and loose outlet covers. Make sure your outlets aren’t overloaded and put surge protectors where needed.
Moisture in Basements
Dampness loves dark places. Check for moisture and mold around the bottom of the foundation and seal any cracks to keep out any excess water.
After winter, your attic needs a check for insulation dampness and any seal cracks or leaks. You want to check for mold, insects, or any animals that have decided to call your attic home. Make sure to check the area around any vents to make sure they are free from obstruction.
Cracks in Cements
Ground settles and cracks happen, but it’s a good idea to stay on top of them as much as possible. Walk your property and check porches, sidewalks, driveways, and your foundation for any cracks. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. If concerned, do not hesitate to call in a professional to help you out.
Fire Extinguishers and Fire Alarms
There is no time like the present. Now is a good time to test and replace batteries in all your smoke alarms and CO2 detectors. Along those lines, make sure your fire extinguishers are in good working condition. It’s recommended to test them every 6 years and be replaced every 12 years.
Locate all your vital documents; social security cards, home documents, insurance policies, etc, and make sure they are in a safe and designated location. You might even want to consider a fireproof box