When winter storms wind down and spring begins to bloom, take time to give your home a tune-up. Doing this yearly could help you save money in the long run. Follow the 10 steps below to identify and resolve issues, keep your home strong and drive down energy costs.
Your spring home inspection checklist:
1. Roof and gutters
Use binoculars to look for worn out and missing tiles or buckled shingles that allow water seepage. Hire a pro to remove any accumulated moss or debris. Clean gutters and look under the eaves for damage to your siding or stucco. Are there holes or gaps that pests can get through.
Visually inspect chimneys for missing stones, plants growing in the masonry or a white powdery deposit. While you can reseal the chimney to address the mineral deposits, missing stones or growing greenery require professional attention. Have a chimney sweep clean the flue to prevent fires.
3. Attic and basement
Inspect your attic and basement for signs of water leaks, dampness and infestation. Gray or black stains on walls or ceilings may be signs of mold and bulges may indicate water leaks. Call an exterminator if you see insect colonies, rodent nests or any “tunneling” underneath floor boards. Inspect the foundation for cracks/gaps and hire a structural engineer if any gaps are wider than one-quarter inch.
4. Key appliances
Examine your washing machine and dishwasher hoses for cracks, bulges or dampness. Increase the efficiency of your refrigerator by vacuuming dust from the coils. Clean your dryer vent each time you do laundry. Not only will it reduce your electric bill, it could save your life. If your dryer duct line is long, you may need to have it professionally cleaned once a year to prevent lint buildup in the line. According to FEMA, clothes dryers cause more than 15,000 structural fires each year.
5. Water heater
Open the spigot on the bottom of your water heater to drain out sediment that has built up during the year. It will last longer and use less electricity.
Check your bathroom and kitchen sinks for sluggish drains, leaks and sweaty pipes.
Touch up cracked or peeling paint to beautify your home and create a barrier against insects and weather. Touch up caulking around water-prone areas in your home.
8. Safety devices
Keep your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors reliable by replacing batteries now and again in the fall. Test detectors regularly.
9. Climate control
Hire a professional to clean and service your air conditioner to keep it running at optimal performance and prevent summer breakdowns. Prune plants away from the unit to ensure a good airflow.
Hose down walkways and your driveway with a mild detergent to reveal erosion. Repairing small cracks or filling small pits is fairly easy and cost effective if done early. Repair fences and decks. Fix loose boards and nail pops and weather-proof wood surfaces every two years. Check garden hoses for leaks. Also, make sure your water sprinkler system is spraying correctly and there are no leaks in the pipes or heads.
Taking the time to complete these seasonal inspections and minor repairs will keep your home running smoothly and will protect your investment for years to come.