10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring
After a long, dark winter, spring’s bright sun and warm winds are, well, a breath of fresh air. The only downside? All that sunshine spotlights your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks and the dead plants in last year’s flower beds.
Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water damage to your foundation. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
Using your finger or wooden dowel to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the rotted wood allowing water to get behind windows and door frames.
From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to consider repair or replacement. The South Texas summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
Shingles that are worn enough to see fiberglass fibers showing should be replaced immediately. Once the fiberglass is exposed, it acts as a sponge to hold water against the roof decking that can cause significant damage.
Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep. Burning unseasoned wood can lead to a faster buildup of creosote. A big fire hazard in a chimney.
Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk.
Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure. Wood on the ground can be a breeding ground for termites, destructive insects such as wood ants as well as rodents.
Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. That can appear as swollen or cracked hose bibbs and supply pipes. Look at the areas that transition from the siding materials to the foundation for water or mold. That can be a sign of a broken pipe inside the wall. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yard work easier. A little care here can save you the cost of replacing high dollar yard equipment.