It’s late spring, which means much of the country is experiencing everything from very wet weather to tornadoes.
If you own your home, it’s time to make sure it’s weather-worthy. Here are five things you should do every spring to avoid spring home maintenance headaches.
- Inspect for unwanted house guests. As the weather changes with the season, mice, chipmunks and insects might try to find their way inside where it’s warm and dry. Check the exterior of your home for cracks, holes and any other points of entry for unwanted visitors. Plug the cracks and holes yourself or hire a professional to help. Spray repeatedly for insects (carpenter ants and termites can be particularly damaging) and set traps for everything else.
- Dry out your basement. Even if you’ve never had a leak in your home, you might wake up after a heavy spring rain and find some puddles in your basement or find that the basement smells musty or mildewy. To avoid growing mold, you’ll need to keep your basement as dry as possible. Consider installing a dehumidifier in the basement to keep the air dry. If you have standing water, figure out whether the problem is on the interior or the exterior of your house. If it’s an internal problem, you may need to fix a leaky roof or repair a pipe. If the problem is on the exterior of your home, you may need to regrout the brickwork, recaulk the windows, regrade the landscape or repaint the exterior. If you start getting a large amount of water infiltration, talk to companies that can reseal your foundation or repair any foundation cracks.
- Clean and inspect your heating and air-conditioning system. Spring is the right time to change filters, clean your system and make sure it’s working correctly and to maximum efficiency. Hire a contractor who can clean and inspect your mechanical systems. In general, spring is an excellent time to change all the filters in your house, wherever they may be.
- Clean your gutters and downspouts. Even though you may have cleaned your gutters in the fall, you should have them cleaned again so they’re in good shape for the spring rains. If you live in a ranch home, you may be able to clean the gutters yourself. If not, you can usually get the job done for less than $100 an hour. And while your gutter-cleaners are up on their ladders, make sure they adjust your downspouts so that all of the piping is connected correctly.
- Weatherproof your windows and doors. Make sure the seals on your windows and doors are tight. If they aren’t, you may need to recaulk the windows or add a layer of weather-stripping to keep cool air in the house this summer. If you’re putting up storm windows, make sure you clean your inner windows first or you’ll be looking through dirt all summer long.