While we’ve been in winter seclusion, your house has been busy responding to the elements. Rain, sleet, and snow may have caused leaks in your roof and cracks in your foundation. Uninvited guests could be nesting in your attic, chimney, or gutters. Now is the time to do a Spring maintenance check-up to keep your home energy efficient and structurally safe during the warm months ahead.
Examine Roof Shingles
Replace shingles that are cracked, buckled, loose, or are missing. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer. Watch for signs that critters have created an entry into your home.
Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris. Consider installing gutter screens or protectors to help keep debris out of the gutters.
If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out? Is there vegetation growing out of them? This signals water infiltration. Look for white deposits that indicate your masonry joints are no longer repelling water but absorbing it.
Whether you have stucco or brick, look for trouble spots, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains indicate that your gutters are not adequately containing roof runoff.
Inspect the exterior of your home from top to bottom for masonry cracks and caulk over any small cracks. Hire a professional to come to take a look if you notice large cracks in your concrete foundation walls.
Check all windows to make sure they open easily and close tightly. Leakage around windows will raise air conditioning bills in the summer. Check that all caulking and weather stripping is intact. Wash windows, inside and out, to remove pollen, dust, and grime. If you experienced condensation inside the glass on double or triple-glazed windows during the winter, the weather seal has been compromised and you need to replace the glass or the window.
Make sure air conditioning units are in good working order. Change the filter, check hose connections for leaks, and make sure the drain pans are draining freely. Vacuum any dust that has settled on the unit and connections; over time it can impact the air conditioner’s effectiveness. If you have an outside unit, hire a qualified cooling contractor to clean the coils and change filters.
Replace all filters including range hood, air vent, dryer vent, air purifiers, etc. A clogged clothes dryer vent can be a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect the vent from the back of the machine and use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. Outside your house, remove the dryer vent cover and use the brush to remove lint from the other end of the vent line. Make sure the vent cover flap moves freely.
Clean faucets and shower heads
Unscrew the faucet aerators, sink sprayers, and showerheads, and soak them in equal parts vinegar and water solution. Let them soak for an hour, then rinse with warm water.
Test smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors, and change out batteries as needed. It’s cheap, only takes a few minutes and could save your family’s lives.
Dampness in your basement indicates inadequate ventilation and the need for a dehumidifier. Check the base of poured-concrete walls for cracks. Use a flashlight to examine exposed framing for tunneling on the wood. If it’s there, call a pest control company.
Search for signs that insects, bird nests, and other critters. Also, search for mold. Proper insulation and ventilation will deter mold growth, so take action now to prevent the problem from developing in the warmer months ahead.
Look for obstructions over vents, damaged soffit panels, roof flashing leaks, and wet spots on insulation. Keeping a good airflow will save you when it comes to cooling costs. When you’re rooting around, wear long sleeves and gloves to protect yourself from insulation.
Check under the kitchen and bathroom sink to make sure connections on pipes and hoses are properly sealed, and look for any wetness around the dishwasher that could signal a problem. Check washing machine hoses for cracks, bulges, or dampness. The same is true for hot water heaters, which may show signs of corrosion and leaks.
Outdoor water systems and grills
Make sure outdoor water systems—pipes, faucets, and in-ground sprinkler systems—are in working order. If you have a deck, look for warped, loose, or splintered boards. If you have a gas grill, check burner jets for clogs and obstructions, and be sure that gas hoses and connections are sound and secure. For charcoal grill owners, make certain your grill is clean of ash and free of grease residue.