Spring is here and summer is just around the corner!  Especially here in the northland there are a number of things you should be doing to your home to put winter behind you and get ready for summer.  It is time to take a good look at your home and take care of those maintenance tasks that can save you money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs.

Inspect and clean your roof and gutters.

Look for any damage to roof coverings, penetrations, or flashing.  Remove tree debris from valleys and gutters.  As organic material breaks down it can damage the roof coverings and lead to a leak.  Additionally you want rain to properly flow off your roof, into the gutters and away from the house.  Be careful to not damage the roof coverings.  Pressure washers, rakes and shovels should not be used.  Stick with a leaf blower or lightly sweep areas with a broom.  As always, safety first!  If you are not comfortable getting on or walking your roof, hire a professional.

Have your chimney checked and cleaned

If you have a wood burning fireplace and it was used during the winter this is the perfect time to have a chimney professional service the chimney.  They will look for any damage and clean out creosote or other dangerous deposits in the chimney flue.

Trim trees, shrubs and plants

Decorative trimming aside, it is important to make sure foliage is not encroaching upon the house, power lines, decks or walkways.  Tree branches can cause damage to the house and organic material can discolor siding, especially stucco.  Make sure walkways are safe and clear for people walking.  Ensure no branches can be reached from a deck.  Children love to reach out and grab things and no one wants anyone taking a tumble off a deck.  If tree branches are crowding your power lines consult your power company and/or a profession tree service.

Inspect the siding, trim and windows

Look for any damage, peeling paint or deteriorated caulking.  Repair damages, touch up paint and re-caulk where required.  Your siding, trim and windows are the protective barrier guarding your home from the elements.  Regular maintenance prolongs the time between major repairs and saves money.

Check out the deck

Look under the deck.  Are there any loose structural members or is there any deterioration?  Walk the stairs.  Are any loose or deteriorated?  Look at and wiggle those guardrails.  Make sure everything is secure.  Spring is also the perfect time of the year to put on a fresh coat of stain or sealant.

Clean the windows and screens

Repair any screens with holes in them.  Vacuum or spray the screens clean.  Make sure the windows and tracks are clean to allow free and easy operation.  Clean the window glass inside and out.  Nature is getting ready to display its beauty; you might as well be able to see it.

Clean the air conditioning compressor

If you have central air conditioning or remote room air conditioners it is vital that they can properly cool the refrigerant for efficient operation.  Plant debris, garbage and any other materials must be cleaned from the cooling fins.  A vacuum cleaner, leaf blower or garden hose can be used to clean the unit.  Be careful not to spray water at the electrical box or connections.  I do not recommend using a pressure washer as the high pressure stream can damage the cooling fins.

Perform spring yard cleanup

Get all the leaves and dead plant material away from the house and landscape areas.  This material can cause water to pool and lead to a basement leak.  As a bonus, your yard will look better and the new perennial plants coming in will grow better.

Clean out the garage

Clean up the clutter that you put off because it was too cold to spend much time in the garage.  Take time to organize.  You’d be surprised how costly being disorganized is.  Clean the floor of the garage.  Hose it out paying close attention to getting rid of any road salt deposits.

Inspect, clean and repair driveway and walkways

Winter is hard on these areas with freezing, thawing, refreezing.  Repair any damages that can be trip hazards or cause further deterioration.  Spring is also the perfect time of the year to seal cracks and apply a fresh coat of sealer to asphalt and concrete driveways.  If your driveway is gravel, fill holes, grade, and bring in fresh material if necessary.

Check out the attic

Poke you head up there and look around.  Check of any evidence of critters or water damage.  If you have exhaust fans make sure the ducts are connected to the roof fixture.  If you have an attic ventilation fan make sure the blades are clear and clean and the fan operates properly.

Change or clean furnace and air exchanger filters

If you haven’t done so recently replace the furnace filter.  If you have an air exchanger, clean the filters and the heat exchanger core.  Spring is also a great time to have your ducts cleaned to improve your indoor air quality.

Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Obviously we want these devices working properly to protect us and our family members.  Put in fresh batteries and test the units.  Check the date on the unit itself.  If any are older than 10 years old, replace them.  If the unit does not have a clearly printed date on it, like a long code or something, replace it.  It’s been more than ten years since detectors have been required to have a standard date format printed on them.

Check and clean out the sump pump

It’s going to rain.  If you have a sump pump, it is vital to keeping your basement dry.  Take the cover off.  Look for any debris, toys (yes toys) or other items in the sump well.  Lift the float to make sure the pump is engaging when water fills the sump well.  It’s even a good idea to fill the well with water to make sure the discharge line is secure, the check valve works and water is actually exiting the home instead of flowing right back in.

Enjoy your summer, but make sure you home is prepared first.  As always if you have any inspection or home maintenance questions contact us at (763) 862-9068 or here at The Peerless Service Company.

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