When winter departs, it’s time to check for damage and prepare for hot weather ahead.
With the days lengthening and weather warming, spring is a good time to get outdoors and tackle some larger home projects. With the threat of winter storms past, you can look for damage and make any needed repairs, as well as prep your home and garden for summer.
Inspect driveways and paths: Freezing and thawing are rough on concrete, asphalt and other hardscape materials. Take a walk around your property to look for damage to walkways, paths and driveways, then schedule repairs as needed. Asphalt can often be patched, but damaged concrete may need to be replaced entirely.
Wash windows: Clean the grime off glass inside and out for a lighter, brighter home indoors and increased curb appeal outdoors. Wash the exterior windows yourself by using a hose attachment, or hire a pro to get the job done.
Clean gutters and downspouts: After the last frost has passed, it’s important to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned and repaired. “Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause the wood trim at the eaves to rot, and that can invite all kinds of critters into your attic space. Having your gutters and downspouts cleaned early in the season can also help prevent damage from spring rains. Gutters and downspouts should be clean and running free. If your downspouts are installed properly, water is diverted away from the house so that no water collects around your foundation.
Clean your fireplace: If your home has a working wood-burning fireplace, the end of winter is a good time to give it a fresh start. Protect your hands with gloves and cover the area around the fireplace with a tarp. Carefully remove the (completely cool) remains of any charred logs and ash using fireplace tools. Then gently clean the fireplace surround. Do not attempt to clean inside the chimney — that job should be left to a professional chimney sweep.
Check sprinkler and irrigation systems: Checking your sprinklers or irrigation systems in the spring can save water — and your plants.Run the system through all the zones manually and walk the property.
Make sure none of the sprinkler heads are broken or damaged.
Adjust any heads that are spraying the house, especially windows, as this can cause moisture problems.
Adjust heads that are spraying the street, sidewalk or porches to avoid wasting water.
If you don’t know how to maintain your system, call a professional. You’ll save money on your water bill and protect one of our most valuable natural resources.
Check screen doors and windows: Screens are designed to let the breeze flow in and keep the bugs out, but they can only do their job if they’re free from holes and tears.
Before setting up your screens for the warm months ahead, be sure to carefully check each one and repair any holes or tears, no matter how small. You can find repair kits at most hardware and home-improvement stores.
Inspect the roof: Winter storms can take quite a toll on a roof. When spring arrives, start by making a simple visual inspection of yours. Use binoculars or a camera or smartphone with a telephoto feature if you need to. Look for missing shingles, metal pipes that are damaged or missing or anything that simply doesn’t look right. If you notice anything that needs closer inspection or repair, call a roofer.
Paint exterior: If you’re planning to repaint your home’s exterior this year, spring is a good time to set it up.
Reseal exterior woodwork: Wood decks, fences, railings, trellises, pergolas and other outdoor structures will last longer if they’re stained or resealed every year or two. Take this opportunity to make any needed repairs to woodwork as well.
Schedule air-conditioning service: “Home inspectors see a lot of air-conditioning systems that are just not taken care of. Just because it gets cool doesn’t mean it’s working efficiently. To get the longest life out of your cooling system and keep it running as efficiently as possible, change the filters at least once each season, and hire a licensed professional to service the equipment before the start of summer.
Check Your Furnace and HVAC Filters: Clogged filters make heating and cooling systems run less efficiently, which wastes energy and costs you money. They can also trap harmful pollutants and allergens that you don’t want lurking around your home.
How: Checking furnace and HVAC filters is easy. Just turn off your system, pull out your filters and inspect them for dirt and grime. If they’re dark and dirty-looking, get suitable replacements—your local hardware store likely has them. Just remove the old filter (with the system turned off, of course), slide the new one in and turn everything back on.
Outdoor caulking: Inspect the caulking around your windows at the end of every summer so you can touch up any damaged caulking while the weather is still dry.