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Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

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.

Gutters

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.

Chimneys

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.

Exterior Walls

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. 

Foundations

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. 

Windows

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.

Air Conditioning

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 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 alarms

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.

Basements

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.  

Attics

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.

Leaks

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.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

It’s officially the first day of fall –  the perfect time for pumpkin spice lattes, haunted hayrides and fall home maintenance. While it might take a little more time for the weather to start cooling down, winter is just around the corner, and being prepared can save you time and money. We know managing the care and upkeep of a property is no easy task. Homes require ongoing supervision and maintenance to ensure that everything is working properly but there are some simple things you can do to prevent unexpected and costly repairs during the winter months. Our fall home maintenance checklist includes simple tips to ensure you’re prepared and your home runs smoothly during the winter months ahead.

Schedule Furnace or Boiler Maintenance

Schedule Furnace or Boiler Maintenance

Home heating systems involve many complex components. Just like you would change the oil or air filters in a car before a long trip across the country, homeowners should start the winter with a serviced heating system. We recommend contacting a certified heating contractor. An annual service visit usually runs around $100 in the Philadelphia area, while the peace of mind that comes with knowing that a trained professional has given one of your most expensive home mechanical systems a passing grade is priceless. However, for the intrepid DIY-er, we recommend at a minimum, changing the filters for a forced-air heating system, bleeding the radiators for a boiler system, and checking the batteries on your digital thermostat.

Apply Caulk and Weatherstripping to Prevent Drafts

Apply Caulk and Weatherstripping to Prevent Drafts

Keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside by checking to ensure that the weatherstripping around your doors is in good shape. Repair or replace damaged caulk or weatherstripping. Even small gaps can bring in a good amount of cold air. Installing door sweeps in your home this fall can also prevent chills from entering the home through the slim space beneath the door. If you have older windows in your home, you may want to consider picking up a window insulation kit and covering them with plastic insulation. The process takes about ten minutes, a pair of scissors, and a hairdryer and can keep you feeling cozy all winter long.

Drain the Hose and Shut off the Water Line

Drain the Hose and Shut off the Water Line 

For homeowners with gardens, it’s important to prevent freezing your pipes which supply the hose line. Shut off the access to the hose (in Philadelphia, most water lines are accessed in the basement). Then drain the remaining water and disconnect the hose and bring it inside for the winter.

Empty Flower Pots and Prune Trees

Empty Flower Pots and Prune Trees 

While you’re outside, take some time to empty the soil from your ceramic pots. Rapidly cooling and rising temperatures, which are common during Philadelphia winters, can cause cracking in all sorts of things (roads especially). Protect your pots so you can use them for spring flowers by clearing out the soil and trim your trees one last time before the winter months.

Clear Gutters and Drains

Clear Gutters and Drains 

For homeowners living in neighborhoods with even a moderate amount of tree cover, it’s important to make sure that gutters are cleared of leaves and debris. A buildup in your gutters can cause issues with the roof (flat roofs in particular) or cause water to spill over the gutter and freeze on the sidewalk, creating a tripping hazard. Also, for homeowners with drains in their front or back yard, it’s important to look and make sure they’re clear of debris. A blocked yard drain can turn your backyard into a skating rink and contribute to clogs in the drain line. You may also want to consider installing gutter guards. While it won’t completely eliminate the need to clean your gutters, they prevent larger items from falling in and can reduce the frequency in which you’ll need to clear them.

Inspect and Replace Winter Supplies

Inspect and Replace Winter Supplies 

Don’t forget to replace old snow shovels, ice scrapers and purchase ice melt before the snowy weather arrives. We recommend seeking out a pet-safe ice melt as some can cause irritation and other issues for our furry friends. If you use a snowblower during the winter, now is the perfect time to inspect it and make sure it’s running smoothly.