Do you remember getting your first car?
That feeling of freedom, of ownership. Holding the keys in your hand and knowing that you had something all your own?
Hopefully, someone taught you how to take care of it- checking tire pressure when the seasons change, using freeze-resistant windshield fluid in the winter, and changing the oil regularly.
Or maybe someone didn’t teach you. Back in highschool, we all had friends that learned the hard way. Where something small, like a pinhole leak in a tire, became a blowout on the highway.
Homeownership is the same- except it’s easier to let small issues become big problems because we don’t have to check them as often. Spring gets busy, the kids come home for the summer, and all of the sudden we haven’t cleaned out the gutters and water starts pushing in through the roof.
This spring, take advantage of those first sunny weekends and make a day for “Spring Maintenance”. Here are seven quick checks you can make to keep your home healthy- and save you the cost of major repairs down the road.
Even better? Most of these checks can be done in less than 30 minutes!
The Smart Homeowner’s Maintenance Checklist
#1: Check the Windows
Noticed a breeze coming from your closed windows? Condensation and build up in between glass layers?
It may be time for new windows.
Just opening your windows can give you insight into their condition. If you have difficulty opening or unlocking them, they could have been installed incorrectly. The window frame can become unbalanced over time as a result.
If your windows are stuck, they could also have issues with rot. Here’s what to look for:
- Soft wood
- Loose putty or poor adhesion
Damaged windows can lead to a host of other issues, including water in your walls and high heating/cooling bills.
As you open the windows to let in fresh air, it’s worth it to do a quick check up on your windows at the same time. A trusted contractor can help you determine if your windows are due for a replacement- and what options are best for your home type.
#2: Fire and Safety
Do you remember the last time you woke up to the beep of a dying smoke detector?
It’s easy to forget about checking the smoke detectors, especially when the batteries aren’t low. Avoid unwanted wake-up calls and add checking the batteries in both your fire and carbon monoxide detectors to your spring checklist.
Make sure to check your fire extinguishers, too. Almost all fire extinguishers come with a built-in pressure gauge. The needle should be in the green. If not, it’s time to purchase a new one!
And while you’re up there…take a peek inside your bathroom exhaust fans. Could they use a quick clean out?
Your exhaust fans work to protect your bathroom against mold. The fan clears up condensation and steam after showers and helps maintain proper air flow. But, because they work non-stop in the highest trafficked room of your home, dust and oil build up can keep them from performing at their best.
Did you know that exhaust fans can help protect your home from mold? Help clear the stuffiness of winter by leaving the bathroom door open and your exhaust fan on to help with air exchange.
What’s the best way to check your exhaust fan?
Simple. While the fan is running, hold up a small sheet of paper or a square of toilet paper. If the fan is working, the flow will hold the paper in place on the grill.
Checking your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and exhaust fans take less than 10 minutes- and can help prevent major problems down the road.
#3: Give Your Furnace Some Attention
Dusting is on everyone’s spring cleaning list. But if you’re noticing more dust than usual, it’s time to clean your furnace and change your filters.
Here are three easy steps to follow to clean your furnace and get it in shape for spring:
- First, clean your furnace: Turn off your furnace and the power at the breaker box. Once it’s cooled down, remove the current furnace filter. Wipe down the interior with a damp rag. Remove the blower and carefully wipe it down before placing it back.
Furnace build up can lead to clogged furnace filters as well as distribution of dust and debris in your house. Always make sure to clean your furnace when replacing the filter.
- Next, remove your old filter: While you have the filter removed, take note of its size as well as the direction of airflow. This is indicated by a tiny arrow on the filter. You want to make sure you install the new filter in the same direction.
- And to finish- Install a new furnace filter: Once you’ve bought the new filter, it’s time to put it in. Keep your furnace off! Check your notes about the direction of airflow, making sure not to put the filter in backwards. Backwards furnace filters make your furnace work overtime and can cause higher utility bills.
How often should you change your furnace filter?
Well, it depends. Some homeowners will need to change their filter more frequently than others. If you own pets, enjoy opening your windows in the warmer months, or have family members with outdoor-related allergies, you’ll need to change your filter every 2-3 months.
#4: Gutter and Downspout Cleaning
Clogged gutters cause water runoff to seep into your foundation, back-up under shingles, and create swampy patches in your yard. In the fall, leaves and debris can prevent your gutters from doing their job. But just because you cleaned them a few months ago doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.
As the season changes, birds, squirrels, and other animals start looking for cozy spaces to create new homes. And you guessed it- your gutters can look like the perfect spot to them.
Keep your gutters working great through spring showers by dedicating a sunny afternoon to a good deep clean.
A ladder, hose, and a scoop are the only tools needed for the job.
Grab your gloves and scoop debris into a bucket. Then use your garden hose to rinse away remaining build-up. Don’t forget to spray out the downspout! If you suspect a clog, a plumber’s snake will fix the issue.
Have your gutters been ignored too long? Are you noticing leaks in the seams, or sections that are starting to pull away from your roof?
Don’t let a small thing like gutters cause bigger problems in your home’s roof or foundation. Schedule a call with our team here to talk about the repairs you need to protect your home’s investment.
#5: How’s Your Roof?
The most important part of your spring maintenance check: your roof.
Cracked or curled edges in your shingles are indicators that it’s time to replace them.
Even if your shingles look fine, if the roof is older than 20 years, you should think about replacing it before algae damage or a summer thunderstorm cause bigger problems. Asphalt shingles are glued to a base mat, but after time, the adhesive deteriorates and the asphalt begins to crumble. In the right (or rather, wrong!) situation, tiny leaks can turn into waterfalls quick.
Don’t wait for problems to occur. Let our team evaluate your roof for you!
#5: Get Your Deck Summer Ready
It’s time to get your deck ready for summer entertaining! We recommend resealing your deck every 1-3 years. Weather condition and use wear away the sealant, causing the wood to become susceptible to dirt and wear.
Checking the seal is easy and fast. Pour a cup of water on the deck and see how it reacts. If the water forms droplets and sits on the top of your deck, the sealing is good. If the deck absorbs the moisture, it’s time to reseal.
Resealing is easy to do at home, but needs to be done over several days. Prep the deck by using a deck cleaner. Use paint rollers to make sure that the entire deck is covered. It’s also a good idea to cover any nearby plants to protect against the cleaner.
After the cleaner has sat for 48 hours, you’re ready to seal the deck. Sand the deck to remove any grains that are raised from washing. To apply the sealer, use a bristle brush, making sure all sealant is evenly applied.
Don’t want to deal with the constant upkeep of wood decks? Choose a composite deck instead!
Composite decks look like hardwood, but are actually made from recycled plastic and wood fibers. The advantage? They don’t require the upkeep of sanding, sealing, and replacing boards like traditional wood decking.
Looking to replace…or expand…your deck this year? We can help! See our latest projects here.
#6: Check Your Siding
Has the paint in your house started to peel? Have your heating and cooling bills gone up unexpectedly?
You might be surprised to hear this but…the problem could actually be your siding.
Of course, there are other indicators of siding in need of replacement. Your siding should not be warped or cracked. Any siding that looks damaged and aged? Is damaged and aged.
Siding can last for decades, but wet weather- like ours here in Pennsylvania- can shorten its lifespan. Siding that encounters frequent rainfall will wear faster. Water damaged siding can lead to decay underneath, affecting the inside of your home.
How Did Your Home Measure Up This Spring?
Congratulations! You’ve completed your Spring Maintenance Checklist. Hopefully, your home passed with flying colors and is ready for another great year.
But if you did notice a few problem areas, don’t worry! Our team is happy to give you a second opinion. We’ll not only help you look at repair options, but can help you decide what’s top priority in keeping your home safe and sound.