While most people focus on the patio and their precious garden, smart homeowners know that springtime is really the time to be checking for winter damage. Everything from the roof to the heating and cooling system should be given a once-over. Here’s what to do and the top things you can’t ignore.
Check The Drainage System
Check the drainage systems, like gutters and drain pipes, to make sure they’re free of leaves and other debris. Animals love making winter homes in these things, and when they leave, they never clean up after themselves - what poor houseguests!
Poor or improper drainage can cause water to flow improperly through the gutter system, spill over into areas not designed to handle water accumulation, and cause water damage to your home. Check for leaks in the gutter system and consider upgrading your gutters to low-maintenance ones that use shields to keep out leaves and debris.
Get Your AC System Ready
Hire a company, like Energy Savers, to inspect your heating installation as well as your A/C and get the system prepped for the summer. This should include a full-service HVAC cleaning (not just the ducts), and maintenance of any wear parts on your unit.
An inspection shouldn’t cost you more than $100 or so and will save you potentially thousands of dollars down the road in premature wear and increased cooling costs from an inefficient system.
Check Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are important in the summer, not just if you live in a hot and dry climate, but for anyone in almost any climate. Fires start more easily in the summer when it’s dry, and because more people are out BBQ’ing and having bonfires.
Repair or Replace Broken Windows
Check windows in your home for cracks or damage. Balancer systems tend to be the culprits of malfunctioning windows (windows that don’t open and shut properly), but also check the glass pack for a seal failure problem and have anything that needs replacing, replaced.
Clean Up Plants and Shrubs
Clean up the front and back yard. Clear away dead plants and trim the shrubs. This will earn you style points in the neighborhood, but it will also help you avoid weeds growing into the cracks and holes in the exterior of the home, causing more damage than what’s already there.
Inspect The Roof
This is one of the more important things to do before summer hits, especially if your area gets a lot of rain in the spring and summer. Your roof is the defense against the elements from above. Inspect the roof, checking for signs of warping, cracking, and loose shingles or tiles.
Check the flashing around chimneys or skylights and replace it if necessary. Bring in a licensed roofer to help you assess the damage or risk factors for your home. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a legitimate assessment.
Many roofers will tell you what you want to hear, but not necessarily what needs to be done. They shy away from telling you that you need an entirely new roof, for example, because many homeowners are unwilling to spend the money to do the job the right way.
As a result, some roofers will instead tell you that they can patch a specific area of the roof, or find some other cost-cutting measures, even when you haven’t asked them to do that. And, while it’s always nice to save money, you shouldn’t do it if it will compromise the long-term integrity of your roof.
Jane Thomas is a home improvement and repair contractor. She enjoys sharing her insights online. Look for her articles on many DIY and home improvement websites.