With hints of spring in the air, now is a great time to show your home a little tender loving care. Winter weather can take its toll on everything from your gutters to your HVAC system, so it’s well worth carrying out some basic home maintenance. Here are some of the most important things to focus on.
Inspect the Roof
Let’s start with the most important part: the roof. Heavy snowfall, winds and frost can leave their mark on it, so use a ladder to get up there and inspect any potential damage. Look for damaged or missing shingles, damaged piping, cracks and signs of leaks.
Clean the Gutters
While inspecting the roof, take a moment to clean the gutters and downspouts. Remove any debris such as fallen leaves and twigs, and check that the pipes are not cracked or rusty. Keeping your gutters clear of any blockages will prevent any water damage on the inside and outside of your home, as well as protect your roof and attic.
Check the Basement
Melting snow and spring rains could put your basement at risk of flooding. Now is a good time to check for any leaks, damp spots or mold, and make sure that any gaps and cracks are sealed properly. If you have a sump pump, check whether the intake and discharge line is clogged, and fix it if needed.
Clean Your HVAC System
After a winter of intense use, your HVAC system could do with a clean. Take a look at the air filters and either clean or replace them, depending on the state they’re in. Ideally, your HVAC system should be serviced once a year, so you can also use this time to book a professional to make sure all components are working correctly.
Inspect and Repair Windows
Spring is the ideal time to replace or repair your windows. If you live in an area prone to summer storms, you can even think about installing storm windows and doors. Inspect your windows for any gaps, cracks or damaged caulking. Don’t forget about the insect screens either, and make sure that they have no tears or holes that could let bugs in as the weather warms up.
Reseal Outside Woodwork
Wood and dampness don’t mix, and there’s a good chance that your outdoor woodwork is worse for wear after being exposed to the elements all winter. Use a pressure washer to clean your deck, outside furniture, fences and rails, then give them a fresh coat of wood sealer. Also, take a moment to check and repair any woodwork that might have been damaged by the wind or snow.
Repair Paths and Driveway
It’s not uncommon for concrete and asphalt to crack in winter, especially if you live in an area with severe frosts. Once the snow and ice have melted, check your driveway and pathways for any cracks. If the damage is minimal, you can use tubed asphalt for a quick DIY fix. However, in severe cases, it might be worth replacing them altogether to prevent further damage the following winter.
Check Sprinklers and Outdoor Faucets
Before you start sowing your lawn, it’s worth making sure that your sprinklers and other irrigation systems are still working. Give them a test run and check the hoses and pipes for tears, inspect the sprinkler heads and look for any leaks that could put a strain on your water bill. Also, check any outdoor faucets as well, especially if you’ve had previous problems with them freezing.
Paint Exterior Walls
Snow and cold temperatures can leave their mark on exterior walls, and you may notice that the colors are looking a bit muted. In some cases, extreme temperature fluctuations and dampness can also lead to paint peeling. So if your home exterior looks like it could be freshened up, spring is a great time to give it a new coat of paint. Or, if your house has vinyl siding, you can pick a warm, dry day and give it a good clean.
Trim Hedges and Trees
Early spring is a good time to trim your trees, hedges and shrubs. This will clear any old, damaged or dead twigs and branches, and make room for new growth. Ideally, you’ll want to do this before your plants start budding or flowering. Also, remember to check your trees and shrubs for birds’ nests and avoid disturbing them if you find any.
Mulch, Fertilize and Plant Your Garden
If you have an outdoor garden, spring marks the start of your growing season. Mulch your plants, add compost or manure to your vegetable garden, and once the last frost has passed, you can safely start sowing seeds and planting your garden.