Must-Do Post-Winter Maintenance for Homeowners
Smart homeowners know that you don’t let basic maintenance pile up until it’s time to sell your home; you stay on top of it. The cost of not doing so can wreak havoc on your family’s budget, which can jeopardize your (and your children’s) financial future. With spring’s arrival in the northern hemisphere, you need to know how to get your home ready for spring.
Some of these things you can do yourself. Others may require a pro’s help, especially if you’ve been letting them slide for a few years. But getting them taken care of now means you can get out there and enjoy your summer, rather than being stuck at home wasting time and money on costly home repairs.
So what home maintenance should you be doing to make your home warm-weather ready by the time all the snow is gone?
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Crucial Winter-Recovery Checks For Your Home:
Heavy rains and winter snows can really do a number on fences. Fences that are damaged can invite unwanted intruders into your yard (both animal and human). They can also provide an unintended escape route for pets and small children.
So check over your fence carefully for any signs of damage or decay. If you find loose or rotted boards or posts, replace them right away. This is also a good time to paint your fence, before it gets too hot. (If you have chain-link fence on your property that looks dingy and/or is starting to rust, give it a quick once-over with steel wool and then spray-paint it silver on a windless day. I learned this hack on my summer paint-crew job, and was amazed that the fence looked as good as new afterward!
Roof and siding
Roof and siding damage can be costly if you don’t catch them early. The wind of winter storms can really do a number on loose roof shingles and siding. And the water damage that loose sections can lead to is not fun to fix, and more costly than making the repair early.
And don’t forget that your home will need a new roof every 25 years or so. So if it’s approaching that milestone, just get it done. When it comes to roof replacement, make sure you use a reputable, professional company to get the job done – this is definitely NOT one you want to DIY!
Fall residue and winter weather can also damage your gutters. If your gutters were clogged with leaves, it’s possible that water build-up froze in your gutters at some point, causing them to expand and even crack.
Hence it’s a good idea to make sure your gutters are up to handling all those April showers that will soon be here (not to mention summer rainstorms). You can clear your gutters yourself if you’ve got a ladder or a gutter-cleaning tool. Or you can always hire a professional to do it for you.
Windows and doors
As a homeowner, you should be regularly checking all your doors and windows for cracks, loose seals, and functional locks. But if you live in a colder region, it may have been awhile since outdoor temps were comfortable enough for doing this.
So take the opportunity, before things get too hot, to do a thorough visual inspection of all your exterior doors and windows, inside and out. If you have storm doors or windows with summer screens, you can get these cleaned off and installed at the same time.
Finally, make sure your outdoor landscaping hasn’t overtaken your windows since last time you checked. Get them trimmed back as needed before they start their growing season in earnest. Overgrown shrubberies, cracked windows, and broken doors or locks amount to rolling out the welcome mat for would-be burglars.
RELATED POST: How To Keep Your Home Safe From Burglars
If you have trees on your property, it’s important to make sure they’re still healthy before the growing season begins. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who’s had structural damage to their home from dead limbs or diseased/dead trees crashing in. (That would be what happened to my former roommate Ana and her husband a few years ago. Imagine having a baby, a toddler, and a house full of broken glass from shattered windows on three levels. NOT fun!)
So before the summer storm season gets into gear, have your trees professionally trimmed, any dead/diseased trees removed, and any other necessary maintenance done with a professional arborist or landscaping company. And if you’re in an area where tree diseases are common, you can also discuss options for replacing or treating diseased trees. It was a dead ash tree that destroyed rooms on several floors of Ana’s house. So when Emerald Ash Borer reached our area, we made sure to begin treatment on our two healthier ash trees. As a result, so far we’ve kept them healthier overall than the one we had to have cut down, because it was already too diseased to save.
A long, wet winter can really wear on the surface of your deck, even if it’s made of pressure-treated lumber. Not only will your deck look gross, but it could also be unsafe for little feet to walk on, due to increased risk of splinters.
So examine your deck’s surface carefully to make sure it’s ready for another summer season. Read up on how to clean your deck, and consider buying, renting, or borrowing a power washer if you don’t already own one. Then sand and/or refinish your deck as needed, and you’ll be ready for another summer of life in your outdoor living room.
How did your pipes make it through the winter? Hopefully, none of them froze. A burst pipe is no fun, and (as we know firsthand) can cause tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. And even if a frozen pipe didn’t burst this time, that’s no guarantee that you won’t have more trouble down the road if your pipes started to freeze.
This is why you need to check for pipe leaks and problems, and deal with any issues you find. Get them fixed as soon as possible – you don’t want to be left without water and heating (or even worse, cleaning up the damage from NOT dealing with it!).
HVAC and fans
Just like you should get your home heating system professionally serviced each fall, those of us lucky enough to have central air need to have a pro service our systems each spring. But this is a good time to do other maintenance checks, too,
If you use dehumidifiers in the summer only (say, for damp basements), make sure that their filters are clean and ready to go. Wipe down the blades of all your ceiling fans; clean off the blades and screens of any portable fans, too. And when you reinstall any window air-conditioners, also make sure that all their grates/filters are clean and ready to go.
No question, winter is a brutal time for your home’s overall condition. But there’s plenty you can do to minimize costs and down-time over the long run. These preventative maintenance steps will help you get your home ready for spring (and summer) in no time flat, so you can spend the warmer months enjoying your free time instead of having home repairs drain every spare minute and dollar. A well-maintained home will keep you and your family safe and happy for years to come.
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