Plan Ahead for a Spectacular Spring
The winter months take a toll on your home. Freezing temperatures, snow, and ice are known to cause damage that may not be immediately apparent until warmer weather moves in. Cracks can develop in the foundation of your home, roof shingles can suffer deterioration due to snow and moisture, and walkways can develop small potholes that could later cause injury.
With the start of spring only two weeks away, now is the perfect time to check your home for winter damage and create a plan to clean and prepare your home for the warmer months. Taking a little time to complete this check list now can save you a lot of time later on.
On the Outside
Walk around the exterior of your home to check for obvious signs of damage. Check the caulking around doors and windows. If the gap around a door or window is wider than a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Also, open all windows and doors to look at the weather stripping—if you can see daylight, it looks worn, or is missing a section, replace it.
The roof is another concern. Look for missing, cracked, or torn shingles that may need a fix. While you’re up there, clean out all gutters and downspouts to prevent moisture leaks into the home. Consider adding extensions to downspouts to carry water at least three to four feet away from your home’s foundation.
Examine porches and decks—it may be time for resealing to protect the wood or concrete. Now is the time to consider a pressure wash to remove accumulated dirt, mold, and stains from siding, deck, sidewalks, driveway and garage floor, fences, and lawn furniture.
Now is also the time to get a head-start on landscaping for the season. Remove any downed limbs and leaves the yard collected during harsh weather. Replace worn water hoses, rakes, or garden tools. Take inventory of the plants you already have and begin to make a list of the plants and flowers you’d like to add this year.
On the Inside
Call a technician to tune up your cooling system and ensure it’s up to manufacturer-rated efficiency to avoid an out-of-commission air conditioner when the warmer weather arrives. Make sure the technician check the systems drains—clogged drains can cause increased humidity inside your home and could cause water damage. Dirty filters make your air conditioner work harder, increases energy costs, and could damage the equipment. Check filters monthly and replace as needed or at least every three months.
Examine the emergency systems in your house: Press buttons, make sure you get a response, refresh batteries, and make sure all safety equipment is in working order. Systems to check include your home security system, carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers.
It may not be an easy job, but cleaning your home’s windows now will let optimal light in when spring arrives. Before cleaning the glass, clear the sills and window tracks of any debris with a soft brush or vacuum attachment. Pour a small amount of water into the sill to check weep holes which drain rainwater to the exterior. If the water doesn’t exit as it should, use a piece of thin wire to gently clear the hole.
A clogged dryer vent affects the efficiency of your dryer and, more importantly, is a huge fire hazard. You can call in a professional if the exterior backdraft is especially hard to access—it’s a quick process and is usually complete in a matter of minutes. The dryer vent should be cleaned properly at least once a year.
Create a Cleaning Plan
Before starting your spring cleaning, get organized. Make sure your wood polish, glass cleaner, and oven cleaner are up to date. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have enough cleaning products to finish the job you plan to tackle. Check mops, dusters, brooms, and other tools to make sure they’re in good condition—this could save you an emergency trip to the store to buy a new one.
Commit to clean one room at a time. Doing so prevents you from feeling the entire house is in a state of disarray. By using this process you can segment your cleaning and not worry about finishing the entire house in one day. If you’re short on time, clean one room per day and the task will be complete before you know it! Once your home is clean and organized you’ll find it’s much easier to stay on top of your weekly cleaning schedule throughout the year.
It’s a lot of work, but you’ll be thanking yourself for planning ahead when the warmer weather arrives. The “prep work” will be complete and you and your family will be able to dive right in to any indoor and outdoor projects that strike your fancy.
If you’re planning a reconstruction or renovation, or plan to start a new building project, contact the team of experts with over 30 years of experience at Tarheel Associates, Inc. by calling (252) 633-6452.