Here are a few home maintenance tips for spring.
Outside the home:
- Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage away from the home can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure that your gutters are cleaned of debris, secured property to the house, and that the downspouts are long enough to drain away from the foundation of the home.
- Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. To check for freeze damage, turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the water from flowing, this likely means you have a damaged pipe inside the home, and you’ll need to replace it.
- Check your wooden deck. Replace any boards that are warped, splintered or cracked before you get into the barbeque season, and give your wooden deck a new coat of weatherproofing sealant.
- Seal around windows and doors. Air leaks happen around windows and doors, and with the hazy, hot and humid weather around the corner, now is a good time to caulk seams and re-glaze windows, where needed.
- Check your sidewalks and other concrete areas. Ice melt can cause concrete to crack. If you notice that your walkways or patio cracked or shifted over the winter, now is a good time to make those repairs.
- Trim shrubbery. If there are any scrubs or trees that rub up against the home, now is a good time to trim them back before a thunderstorm rolls through. Inspect the exterior of your home for loose siding, shutters or shingles; and if your home is painted, check for peeling or cracked paint. When it comes to exterior repairs, particularly anything that involves heights, we strongly recommend you call a professional so repairs can be done safely.
Inside the home:
- Check smoke detectors. If you haven’t done so already, replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors. This should be done in the spring and again in the fall to keep them working properly and your family safe.
- Inspect attic for leaks. If you have an attic that is accessible, the spring is a good time to crawl up there and inspect for leaks. These will be fairly noticeable as water marks will show on the insulation.
- Get AC inspected. Schedule a check-up for your air conditioning unit with your heating and cooling company. They will inspect your unit and make sure it is running at maximum efficiency before the summer heat hits.
- Change ceiling fan rotation. For summer months, ceiling fans should rotate counter-clockwise, as you look at it from below.
When you close your overhead garage door, do you assume that your home is secure? For the most part it probably is, but there are a few ways crooks can still get through. Consider these measures to make sure your home is locked tight:
Look at the service door. The service door, or side door on your garage, is often one of the easiest points of entry for a burglar. Make sure the door has a deadbolt and a heavy-duty strike plate, as should all exterior doors in your home.
Install a garage door sensor. Sometimes your garage door security is compromised simply because someone forgot to close the door. This is where a sensor and monitor come in. Attach the sensor to the garage door and then place the monitor somewhere inside your house. If the garage door is open, the monitor will let you know.
Remove clickers from your vehicle. If you park a vehicle in the driveway, make sure you do not leave your garage door remotes in your vehicles (e.g., on the visor or center console). A thief can break into your car for entry into your house. Opt for a key-ring remote, which you can find online by typing in your garage door brand followed by “remote.”
Use an old-fashioned lock. If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, you may want to lock your garage door track. Simply drill a hole in your garage door track just above one of the rollers and fasten a padlock through the hole. Even if a robber can fish the garage door lock open from the outside, he will not be able to actually roll up the door.
Install a smart home door opener. These high-tech garage door openers come with built-in security features such as monitors and lighting controls – all connected to your smartphone. This means that from anywhere, you can make sure your garage door is closed and your home is secure.
Source: The Family Handyman, Garage Security Tips
Turning off your outdoor faucets sounds simple enough, but each fall many homeowners forget or neglect to winterize the faucets on the outside of their homes. This can be a costly mistake, potentially costing hundreds of dollars in repairs. Water can stay trapped in the pipe behind the faucet and freeze in the cold weather, causing pipes to crack or burst.
The first step to prevent this from happening is to locate each outdoor faucet on your home. Next, you will want to determine the style of your faucet(s). Newer models are generally frost proof. If this is the style of faucet on your home, winterizing is as easy as disconnecting any hoses and turning the water off. In these frost proof models, the valve is located well behind the faucet itself so the flow of water is stopped on the inside of your home. (See picture below)
I f you determine that your faucet is not a frost proof model, you will need to locate shut-off valves that should be installed in your basement leading to your outdoor faucets. You will need to turn these valves off to cut off the water supply to the faucet. Next, you should open the faucet outside and allow the water between the shut-off valve and the faucet to drain out. It is important to note that although all the water may not drain out, as long as the pipe is not full, the remaining water should have enough room to expand without breaking the pipe.
Sitting in front of your fireplace is most likely one of your favorite places to be as the cold weather sets in. Now is a great time to be thinking about the maintenance of your fireplace and chimney so it is giving off that heat and creating the warmth you need this winter.
1. Clean out any old ashes and soot left from previous burning. Go green and use the ashes in your compost. They are a welcome addition to any compost pile.
2. Clean stains off the glass doors of your fireplace. Only clean the glass when it is cool. One option is to use a cup of vinegar in a gallon of water, apply the solution with a sponge, and wipe clean with newspaper.
3. Be sure to do a chimney sweep and cleaning as necessary. Hire a certified chimney sweep. It is recommended to have this done annually to catch problems before they create a need for expensive repairs.
4. While thinking of fireplaces, it’s a great time of year to make sure your smoke detectors are in working order. Make it a habit to change the batteries on your smoke detectors as you turn back the clocks for daylight savings time every year. (This Saturday, November 5, don’t forget!) Also remember to clean around your smoke detectors as excess dust can cause the alarm to go off. Using a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner should do the trick.