It’s easy to put off regular maintenance of your home when everything seems to be working as it should. But home maintenance is like a physical. Prevention and attention is the best way to ward off costly repairs throughout the time you live in your home. Winter can be especially rough on roofs, gutters, windows, and foundations. Follow this spring time checklist for a thorough examination of your home.
Roof—If you don’t want to get up on the roof yourself, use a pair of binoculars and look for any shingle shifting, cracked or missing shingles, or nail pops. Nails pushing up the tabs of the shingles could be an indication that water is getting in. To ensure the proper function of your roof, attend to these issues.
Gutters—Spring gutter cleaning is always a good idea, especially if you neglected to do it in the fall or winter! Check for loose or leaky gutters. Gutters that aren’t properly drained can cause water in the basement and crawl spaces. Make sure that downspouts are clear of debris and drain away from the foundation of your house.
Windows—Tight seals around your windows are the first line of defense against water and air leakage. Condensation on double and triple glazed windows during winter months are a bad sign that the seal is compromised. Compromised seals mean that cooled air in your home during summer can easily escape. Either the glass or the whole window may need replacing. Windows also need cleaning inside and out with mild cleaning agents and soft cloths so as not to scratch glass. Don’t power wash windows and screens as the force of water can scratch glass and damage wire meshing.
Foundation—Examine your foundation from top to bottom for cracks. Routine caulking of cracks is not likely to be sufficient in the long run. Consider hiring a foundation expert who can inject epoxy to bond the cracks chemically.
Chimneys—Check bricks and stones for any vegetation or loose pieces. Both indicate water infiltration. If you see a white, calcium-like deposit on your chimney, you masonry joints are probably absorbing water instead of repelling it. Reseal with a barrier material made for masonry.
Air Conditioning—You don’t want to be tending to a broken air conditioner during the peak summer months. Prepare your AC now just as you maintenance your furnace in the fall. If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, call a professional to test your AC’s performance. He or she will change your filter, check hose connections for leaks, check drain pans, and vacuum out dust that has settled on the unit, which can compromise effectiveness.
Attics—Check for mold in the form of gray or black blotches that look like stains. Proper insulation and ventilation will prevent mold. A roofing company can help. Also look for signs of critters or insects that have colonized. Call a pest control company if you find a problem.
Basement—A basement is prone to dampness and insects. If you see dampness in the walls or floor, it may be a sign that you need a dehumidifier. Also, check exposed framing for insects. Even a quarter inch of tunneling in the wood warrants calling a pest control company.
Leaks—Check for leaky faucets, clogged drains, and sweaty pipes around the house. Look under kitchen and bathroom sinks and check for wetness. Also check washing machines to ensure hoses and hose connections aren’t bulging, loose, or cracked. Check around the dishwasher for any leaks or drips. Get to the root of a minor issue before it becomes a major one.
Grill—If you haven’t been using your grill in winter months, check the burner jets for any obstructions. Ensure gas hoses are secure. Make sure your gas grill has a full tank of propane for the start of the season. For charcoal grills, make sure the grill is free of ash and any greasy residues.