Spring Home Checklist: Checking Your Home For Winter Damage
As Purple Crocus begin to fight their way toward spring sunlight, you can relax and enjoy the moment—just not for too long! As a homeowner, you know that spring means it’s time to make a spring home checklist, checking your home for winter damage. Extreme temperatures and weather conditions can cause all types of damage to your roof, windows and even the foundation of your home. You would be wise to perform whatever maintenance is required as you check off the following items on your spring home checklist:
- Check the Roof: If you have been using a rake to remove snow from your roof, the roof should be inspected for any loose, cracked or missing shingles or tiles. High winds can also loosen shingles or tiles and can result in leaks inside your home. Especially susceptible is the roof area around a chimney or skylight.
- Clear Gutters: Your spring home checklist should include clearing gutters of debris and checking them for corrosion and any joint or fastener problems. Don’t forget to flush out the downspouts and also clear leader pipes that should extend at least five feet away from the foundation of your home.
- Inspect the Foundation: Look closely for any hairline cracks in the foundation walls. Don’t panic if you find a few. Mark them with tape and check again in a few months for any changes. If they are getting worse, it’s worth the investment to call a structural engineer to make an assessment. If there has been no change in the size of the cracks, simply fill them with an epoxy-injection system. Also inspect the foundation for evidence of termites, and clear all leaves or other debris away because they attract nest-seeking rodents.
- Evaluate Wooden Decks: Inspect the area where your deck attaches to the house. If there are water stains that indicate water damage, this can lead to wood decay and a weakening of the structure. Eliminate any mold stains or moss with a pressure washer. Watch for areas on your deck that have any raised wood fibers because you don’t want to make them worse.
- Clear Air Conditioners: Before you clear away any leaves or debris left over from winter, be sure to disconnect the electric power to the outdoor condenser. Use a vent brush, power blower, garden hose, or even your vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Be careful not to bend any cooling fins. If your air-conditioning unit seems to attract leaves, wrap fiberglass mesh around the condenser coil that will capture not only leaves, but pollen as well. Then all you have to do is replace the mesh periodically.
- Inspect Windows: Inspecting windows for air gaps is another important item on any spring home checklist because you could be losing money. Expensive energy is lost through exterior air gaps and can make your home feel drafty in winter and warmer in summer. Water can penetrate cracks, and loose siding or trim may have come loose after high winds and extreme weather conditions. Windowsills will also become cracked, split or decayed.
- Trim Landscaping: Inspect any trees for broken limbs, especially ones that may hang over your home and could cause damage. Evaluate bushes that may be dried and stressed from cold temperatures and that may need to be pruned or replaced.