Although spring technically arrived on the calendar a couple of weeks ago, in true Virginia climate fashion, it surely hasn’t felt like it with colder temperatures and a lingering nor’easter or two.. However, it’s looking like actual springtime warmth is right around the corner! Have you prepared? Longer days and brighter sunshine are shedding light on what winter and early spring did to your home, and giving you more time to think about the maintenance required in the coming months. Many things in and around your home require attention in order to brighten up its curb appeal, ready it for rain and sun ahead, and extend its life by keeping it in top shape.
1. Clean and inspect your gutters. Many trees continue to drop leaves through the winter, so it’s definitely wise to check your gutters now like you did in the fall. Also, inspect gutters’ connections and downspouts to ensure there is nothing loose or leaky. Finally, make sure there is no debris at the bottom of the downspouts and water flows clearly away from your foundation.
2. Inspect and tune your AC. In case you forgot to change your filter (ideally should replace them once every month), do so now. Dirty filters cause the system to work harder than it should, which results in higher energy costs and could potentially shorten its lifespan. For about $100-200, have a reputable HVAC company inspect and tune up your entire AC system to manufacturer-rated efficiency. Doing this early in the spring means you aren’t caught off guard when the 90s roll in and you’re desperate for air conditioning!
3. Caulk the cracks. Inspect all windows and doors inside your home, and take a stroll along the outside as well. If you notice cracks between walls and trim, fill with caulk that matches your trim color. Creating a better barrier between the inside and the outside will save you money on air conditioning in the summer!
4. Look for rot or exposed wood. While you’re outside caulking cracks, also keep an eye on wood trim that may need attention. If paint has peeled and wood is exposed, it is best to scrape, sand, prime, and paint before damage occurs. If there is noticeable soft spots or rot, the wood will need to be replaced so the interior walls of your home are not damaged.
5. Inspect and repair your roof. Wind, ice, and snow may have damaged, loosened, or removed some of your roof’s shingles. If possible, use a pair of binoculars to really zoom in and look (and stay safe on firm ground). If you notice any issues or there are areas of the roof you can’t see, it is relatively inexpensive to hire a qualified handyman or roofer to climb ladders for you and replace shingles as necessary.
6. Pressure wash your home’s exterior. Give your home a fresh start to the spring and summer by removing any dirt, mold, or stains that may have accumulated since the fall. A pressure washer is only about $75 a day to rent, or you can hire a local pressure washing company to do it for you. In addition to siding, it is also good to pressure wash walkways and decks, however be careful not to damage your decking as pressure washers can have a lot of force behind their spray.
7. Repair concrete sidewalks and driveways. In addition to general settling and erosion, moisture in the soil that freezes in the winter can cause movement and damage to concrete surfaces. If you see cracks, chips, or flaking in your sidewalks or driveway, fill these imperfections with concrete filler or caulk. Many easy-to-follow tutorials can be found on YouTube. It is also important to reseal your concrete every 2-3 years to increase its longevity.
8. Check your decks. If you followed directions above and power washed your decking, follow up with this by resealing your deck’s surfaces with either clear sealer, stain, or semi-transparent stain. Check your deck’s supports to make sure there are no weak spots or rot.
9. Get ready to mow. Who doesn’t want a great looking lawn that is the envy of all friends and neighbors? Get a jumpstart on maintaining yours by making sure all lawn equipment is in tip top shape. Clean and tune all gas and electric powered lawn equipment, and sharpen your blades. A dull mower blade shreds rather than slices, which could could lead to damage from sun, insects, and disease.
10. Let the water flow. Turn on all exterior hose faucets that you (hopefully) shut down for the winter if you haven’t already. If you can block the flow of water of with your finger, you most likely have a burst pipe and it will need to be repaired. This is a common occurrence when we have winters as cold as this last one!