Tips and hacks for spring home maintenance

Spring home maintenance should include checking key spots for potential ice and water damage.(Photo: Ozgur Coskun/oocoskun/Fotolia)

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Although each season brings its own list of home maintenance “to-do’s,” spring is considered by many to be the most daunting.

After a winter that may have brought with it several freezes and thaws, there are some key places to check for potential ice and water damage. Spotting these signs early can mean the difference between a major or minor repair later on. We’ll walk through the most common and, where possible, offer some time-saving “hacks” that may end up saving you money as well.

Up on the roof
It’s not only a catchy ditty but also the first place you should check for potential damage. Winter winds may have dislodged one or more shingles, not to mention the havoc that eight tiny reindeer may have wrought in late December. The fact of the matter is, your shingles are the frontline of defense between the elements and your underlying roof, as well as the interior ceilings below that. Catching any potential weaknesses early can prevent big repair bills or insurance claims later.

HACK: If you or someone you know is a drone enthusiast, this is your chance to make it pay off.  A drone can be a safe and easy way to do a visual inspection of your roofing shingles. While you’re at it, be sure to check the gutters for clutter.

Foundation revelations
Now is the time to get down in the basement and check your concrete foundation for any new cracks. Cracks can allow moisture in, which can lead to mold growth.

HACK: Have a professional check the amount of moisture in your basement and determine if an additional dehumidifier is needed for your family’s safety and comfort. Doing this now can prevent the need for costly mold abatement later on.

Next, take a walk around the exterior of your home and look for areas where low spots may have formed around your foundation. These low spots will allow water to pool and can eventually lead to leaks. These pools are also a highly sought-after breeding ground for mosquitos and other air-born pests. If you notice spots like these, fill them in with compacted soil enough so that water will flow away from your foundation.

Lastly, make sure your downspouts divert water away from the house. If rainwater is not diverted, it will seep against your foundation and eventually into your drain tile and sump pump to be ejected. This places an additional strain on your pump motor, which can lead to premature failure and flooding.
HACK: Talk to a professional about ways to prevent flooding with sump pump backups.

Caulk talk
A hack in itself, caulk is a cheap and easy way to make sure that windows are sealed tight. A visual inspection of window exteriors can reveal where tiny gaps between the windows and the house that may have formed over winter, or where previous caulk has been compromised. Air leaking from your windows will just result in more money paid out in energy bills.

Cleaning your glass (a “panes”-taking task)
Your filmy windows beg to sparkle and show you the outside world after a dreary winter. Whether you power wash them or hire it out, a clear view can change up your outlook — not to mention your home’s curb appeal. If you want to make your own window cleaner, try this recipe: 1 cup rubbing alcohol, one cup distilled water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

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