With the arrival of spring, you want to make sure your home is ready for the warm weather to come. Winter is tough on your home’s exterior and a few quick checks can help ensure you are not surprised by a big repair bill this spring. Check out these helpful tips to ensure your home is in tip-top shape!

Inspecting your Roof

Examine your roof.  Double checking that you do not see any lifted, damaged or missing shingles will ensure during the hard spring rains your roof doesn’t spring a leak.  Lifted shingles, like this image are a result of nail pops and should be corrected to ensure rain cannot damage the sheathing below. Check the shingles to ensure there is no granule loss.  Granule loss looks like bald patches on the shingles.

Is your Flashing Cracking?

While you are on the roof, check the flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys to ensure they are not cracked and open to the elements.  Flashing is the protective metal that surrounds roof penetrations like sky lights, plumbing vents.  It helps to keep water out.  Checking to see if it is loose, has holes, missing caulk or appears to be rusting is a great indicator that the flashing needs to be re-done. Don’t forget to evaluate your chimney for broken bricks or missing mortar. Contact a certified chimney sweep to ensure your flue is in working order.

Cleaning your Gutters

Make sure that you check your gutters to ensure they are not loose or leaking.  Check downspouts to ensure they are draining away from your foundation and are clear of debris. Downspouts should be directing water away from your crawlspace or basement and away from your foundation. If water is pooling around the downspouts you should regrade the area to help slope the earth away from your home.  Clean out your gutters. Gutters that are clean allow water to flow through your gutter system without being impeded by leaves or other debris.  Installing leaf guards can minimize the amount of debris in your gutter system year-round.

Repair your Concrete

Keep your concrete in top shape by inspecting for signs of cracking and movement.  Tree roots can cause damage to concrete so ensure you plant trees with a wide root base as far away from concrete surfaces as possible.  Fill cracks in your concrete with concrete crack filler.  Sakrete concrete crack filler is a pourable, flexible crack repair product. It is easy to use and will ensure water and dirt are not trapped in the cracks.  Before you fill cracks, make sure you pressure wash and clean your concrete.  Not only will pressure washing improve the look of your concrete but it also helps when applying a concrete seal.  Concrete sealer, applied after a pressure wash, can help prolong the life of your concrete.

Remove the Firewood

After the winter weather, homeowners often often about the firewood that crackled in their fireplace in December.  Do not forget to remove all the firewood that you stored near your home.  Firewood should be stored 18 inches off the ground and a minimum of 2 feet from any structure. Firewood, as it dries during the spring and summer, can become a fire hazard so ensure you keep your home safe by keeping a good distance between the wood and your home.

Ready your Exterior Faucets for Spring

Just like you winterize your outdoor faucets you should ensure they are ready for spring.  Place your finger over the spout of the opening and turn it on.  If you are able to hold the water in with your thumb or hand that means there is a crack somewhere in the pipping and water is leaking out.  Your outdoor spigot may need to be serviced prior to use.  A leak spigot or cracked supply line can cause damage to your home and will increase your water bill so make sure a licensed plumber comes out to investigate.

Service your Air Conditioner and Filters

Schedule an appointment with your heating and cooling contractor to service and clean your unit.  Your unit should be serviced yearly to ensure it is operating as efficiently as possible.  Don’t forget about your indoor air filters. Air filters should be changed on a regular basis depending on the type of filter you use. A basic air filter should be changed every 30-60 days.  If you suffer from allergies, have pets, or your home is particularly dusty you should change the filter more regularly.

Servicing your Outdoor Lawn and Garden Equipment

An extension of your home is your lawn.  Performing regular maintenance on all your outdoor power equipment will help you keep your lawn and garden looking great.  Remember to change the gasoline, oil and air filters on all power equipment prior to the first use each year.  Gasoline has a shelf life of 30 days so ensure you do not leave or use old gasoline in your equipment.  Check the blades on all your equipment and sharpen or replace as necessary to ensure that your equipment does not leave your lawn with ripped edges, brown tips and possible diseases.

Check for Cracked or Broken Foundation Vents

Foundation vents allow outside air to circulate underneath the floor in the summer which helps prevent the moisture buildup that encourages mildew and wood rot.  In the spring, make sure the foundation vents are open.  While checking the foundation vents, look for any cracks or breaks in the vent screens.  Cracks and breaks are openings for insects and other critters to access your home and should be replaced immediately.  Foundation vent covers are easy to replace and can be found at most major retailers.

Don’t Forget! Fire Safety and Smoke Detectors

Spring is a great time to review your fire safety plan with your family.  Perform a fire safety drill with your family.  Assign a meeting spot in case of an emergency, ready a grab-bag with all your families essentials and review the escape route.  Safety drills can minimize the likelihood of a mishap during an actual fire safety emergency.  Part of reviewing your fire safety plan should be maintenance on your smoke detectors.  Ensure each room has a smoke detector that functions.  Check the batteries every season and change them as necessary.  Smoke detectors are generally good for 10 years.  If you are coming up on your 10-year mark ensure you replace your smoke detectors. Hardwired or battery operated replacements are available at all major retailers and are crucial to ensure your family can escape in the event of an emergency.