True, it may not exactly feel like spring as you scramble to find where you left the snow shovel after reading about that surprise snowstorm, but rest assured – those blossoms will be blooming before you know it. Have you made your spring cleaning to-do list yet? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Prepping your home on a seasonal basis is one of the most important things you can do because in addition to increasing your home’s value, it allows you to catch problems before they turn into costly repairs. The more you check your home's health, the happier your wallet will be. Just as you wouldn't put off going to the dentist to stay on top of cleanings, you shouldn't neglect prepping your home for the new season. To make it as stress-free as possible, we've assembled 7 ways to best prep your home for spring.
1. Assemble Your Maintenance Toolkit
First things first: make sure you're armed with the right tools.
Make a checklist of items that you'll always need in order to diagnose and treat the problems that flare up. You may have some of them lying around already (a flashlight and step-ladder for example). There's no need to rifle through your woodshed, basement, or junk drawer – we have your toolkit checklist right here:
- Caulk and caulk gun
- Whisk broom/stiff brush
- Binoculars (to get a closer view of your roof)
- Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment
- Pruning shears
- Utility knife
Save our handy checklist for when you're ready to get started!
2. Become Mold’s Greatest Enemy
After the winter season, one of the biggest concerns is mold growth due to all the extra moisture.
The areas that are prone to get damp the most are the first places to look. Taking the form of dark blotchy spots, mold thrives under sinks, in your basement, and in the attic and crawl spaces where it's darkest. If you’re finding a lot of mold, it's best to try to stop the source rather than clean up individual spots. Proper sealing and air circulation helps stop mold, but we recommend also working with specialty contractors who can help you pinpoint where the problems are so you can banish mold for good.
3. Root out Wood Rot
As you check your basement for mold, make sure you're on the watch for signs of soft, brittle, or crumbly wood.
This is wood rot, and you should replace it immediately, as it can adversely affect your home's structural integrity. Keep an eye on it through spring and if you're seeing more wood rot forming, consider getting a dedicated dehumidifier for the basement, as this will significantly cut down on excess moisture.
4. Check the Washer & Dryer
How often do you check the hoses on your washer? Make sure they don’t have any tears or cracks.
A flood caused while doing laundry doesn't just rob you of clean clothes, it also robs you of your budget if it's all going to repairs. Lint that builds up in your dryer can also be a fire hazard, so we recommend a thorough cleaning to make sure the air can properly vent. First, shut off the gas or electric going to the dryer. Then use a long, thick wire brush to sweep out excess lint in the vent pipe and under the dryer enclosure. Use the skinny vacuum attachment to make sure everything gets sucked up. Just be careful not to damage the wires and mechanical parts of the dryer.
5. Mind the Roof & Gutters
Remember those binoculars in your toolkit? They come in handy here.
Using them will help you see problem tiles and shingles better than the naked eye. If you're noticing a lot of damaged areas, call in someone for a thorough inspection. Better to nip it in the bud before the summer heat exacerbates the shingles further. In addition to cleaning out the gutters, make sure that they haven't been misaligned during the winter storms, as they can redirect unwanted water to your basement and create the perfect conditions for mold to flourish. Tighten loose fittings to keep the water going where you want it.
Inspire Quick Tip: You can also consider getting a rain barrel to sit at the exit point of your gutters to start collecting and saving the water from any remaining showers to be used in the upcoming summer months on landscaping.
6. Protect the Foundation
Intense winter storms can really do a number on a house, even right down to the foundation.
Check around your house for any cracks or signs of stress on the foundation. If you see anything, call a professional to properly assess what needs to be done. Also make sure to inspect the concrete slabs under your HVAC system or heat pump. These are easy to repair with a concrete crack filler, polyurethane sealant or silicone caulk.
7. Take the Pressure off Your Trees
After enduring harsh winter conditions, trees can become very weak.
Damaged limbs can threaten not just your house, but the safety of the people living in it. Check the trees in your yard for rot and get an arborist to remove the biggest problems (sometimes permits are required for this, so double check that before removing them). Also make sure you’re trimming the trees that get close to utility lines to avoid them causing damage there.
These 7 ways to prep your home for spring will help you focus your efforts so that your home stays protected and maintained for the rest of the year. Keep our checklist close at hand so you can get started right away!