March is here and sadly, so is the pollen! As the weather turns warmer after our frigid winter, the time has come to give your home some TLC in preparation for spring. Below are some examples of home maintenance needs as the weather heats up. Doing these systematically will help deter damage to your home that many homeowners discover after years of putting off these chores. Questions? Give us a call!
Gutters and Rain Diverters
As the weather turns warmer, cleaning out your gutters and rain diverters is a must before our April showers begin. Clogged gutters can lead to overflowing water and damage your gutter system over time. If you instead have rain diverters over your door ways it is important to clean them as well. Over time pine straw and leaves build up and unless they are removed they may cause damage to your roof and attract bugs as the weather turns warmer.
The roof of your home is a major protector of your investment and should be treated accordingly. When debris piles up during the fall it should be removed quickly to avoid causing wet spots and rot on your roof. You may wish to visually inspect your roof by looking up through the attic for any signs of water staining or sunlight. A pair of binoculars may be used to check for missing shingles, popped nails, or cracks rather than climbing on top of your home.
If your home has vinyl siding you may notice some algal growth as the weather turns warmer. A pressure washer can quickly clean this away and leave your home looking sparkly clean. A pro tip from our home inspectors is that you should avoid pressure washing close to your windows, as it can break the interlock seal on double pained glass! We recommend having a professional clean your siding to avoid any issues.
Regardless of whether your home is vinyl, brick, or another it is advisable that you walk your property inspecting the siding for any gaps or cracks that may have occurred over the winter. These small issues can grow over time as the weather changes and is best fixed early on. To help prevent this type of damage, be sure to cut back plant life from you home. Plants, vines in particular, have very strong roots and will cause damage over long periods of time.
As you complete your tour of the outside of your home you will want to keep a look out for any sections that appear to be cracking or shifting. This is most easily seen on homes with brick veneer as you may notice cracks running up the mortar connecting the brick. You may also see signs of foundations issues inside such as cracks at the corners of doorways or windows. Should you see any that are large or appeared quickly, it may be wise to contact a foundation expert.
Windows and Screens
As you walk around your home take a look at the wooden structures of your house such as your window sills and shutters. Any areas where the paint is chipping or worn away should be sanded down, sealed, and repainted. Remember, the paint on your house is not just decorative. It is a protective coat for the wood that it covers.
Any screens on your windows and doors should be inspected for large holes that may allow bugs through. If you are not interested in replacing an entire screen, your local home supply store may have screen patches that are very easy to install. In addition to your windows, check the screens of your crawl space vents for damage. These are in place to help keep out vermin and snakes!
After checking the wood and screens of your windows and doors, now you should take a look at the caulk that seals them to the house. You may have done this in preparation for the winter, however as caulk dries and the weather changes it may shrink. If you have gaps, the best remedy is to scrape off the old layer and re-caulk the area. Be sure to do this on a sunny day so that it will dry quickly!
Decks and Porches
Any wooden structure attached to your home will need some TLC over time. Wooden decks need to be treated every few years and boards should be checked for cracks. It is also wise to look for any loose boards that need to be re-secured before you start having your summer barbecues. Should your porch or deck have lattice work blocking off the portion closest to the ground, it is advised to check that all of it is still intact. Otherwise you may end up with some local felines or other creatures living underneath your deck this spring. If you have furniture on your deck or patio, cleaning it from the debris of winter will make your guests much more comfortable.
Your HVAC unit has been hard at work all winter to keep you warm, now is the time to thank it by having it serviced for the summer. When you have a service agreement they will typically call you to remind your to schedule you servicing. Depending on the company, they may come out to change the filter, clean the system, and give you a report of any potential problems. Having a service agreement also helps by creating a relationship with the vendor so if your unit does have an issue in the height of summer, they are more likely to make it to your house quickly and save you from the heat wave.
At this point most of the leaves have fallen from your trees so waiting for the “last leaf to fall” before cleaning them up is no longer an option. Raking and bagging your leaves also helps deter pest issues as they love piles of wet leaves. It also helps you avoid being “that neighbor” who’s yard just does not quite fit in. This is a great time to start making some plans for your yard before all the plant life starts to rapidly grow. Trim bushes and trees away from your home and start prepping your yard for any new plants you plan on adding.
Now that the weather is turning warmer it is time to switch your ceiling fans back to running counter-clockwise. This allows the blades to lift the warmer air up and keep a breeze running through your home. It is also advised to clean the dust off of the blades as pollen season is bad enough as it is!
Hopefully you have survived through winter without any pipes bursting from the cold temperatures. Now that it is getting warmer, it is a good time to spot check your plumbing for any leaking and address any that you find. Even small leaks can add up to thousands of gallons over time, so be sure to secure your pipes.
Now that hibernation season is over, it is time to do some deep cleaning of your home. Pick a moderately warm, sunny day and attack those areas you kept meaning to clean but were too cold to get to. If you have screened windows, open them up to air out your home while you clean. Just remember to do it after you have checked for any holes in your screens!
Finishing this checklist, as well as any additional tasks your home requires, should help make your spring and summer much more relaxing. With these tasks completed you can enjoy your days sitting on your deck with lemonade and no worries about whether the noise you heard was the neighbor’s dog or a opossum under your feet.
The Carolina Girls