Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Home

As the days get longer and the air gets warmer, many of us begin tackling dust bunnies and over-cluttered cabinets in a frenzy of Spring Cleaning. But your home has endured more than you might think over the last year, and over-looking minor flaws in your home’s structure now could end up costing you big if damage continues.

This spring, do more for your home than simply tidying up the place. Protect it from another year’s worth of damage by addressing home maintenance issues now.

Inspect your roof

Don’t wait until it starts to rain inside of your home to fix leaky or damaged roofing systems. Check it now to see if patches are in order or to begin preparation for a whole new roof.

Begin on the ground with a pair of binoculars (walking directly on your roof could worsen existing damage). Check for cracked, missing or bowed shingles; scan flashings for rust and inspect the mortar in brick chimneys for cracks. All of these things can let moisture into your home causing damage to your home’s structure and increasing the risk of mold growth.

Gutter in need or repair by Flickr User Bart Everson.

Gutter in need or repair by Flickr User Bart Everson.

Clean and repair gutters

Your gutters are designed to help water flow away from your home, but if they are filled with leaves and other debris, they cannot do their job properly. Likewise, if your guttering system is rusted or incomplete, rain water will not flow smoothly and could end up draining against your home’s siding causing rot.

With a ladder in hand, carefully inspect all parts of your gutter system, paying special attention to corners, elbows and downspouts. Also be sure that run-off occurs at least 2- to 2.5 feet away from your home’s foundation.

Check your home’s foundation 

Hole in the yard by Flickr User Roberto F.

Hole in the yard by Flickr User Roberto F.

If there are sunken spots in your yard — especially near the foundation — then these holes should be filled immediately. Not doing so will allow water to build up around your home causing damage to the foundation. Avoid costly repairs by filling any low spots prior to the rainy season.

To make sure that water flows away from your home, fill in sunken spots with compact dirt (large quantities of dirt can be purchased from a landscaping company and delivered directly to your home). Be sure to create a slope away from your home and watch the area closely.

Detect leaks in and around the home

Letting leaks go unattended can lead to increased water bills, yes, but can also damage your home’s structure as well if the leak is advanced. This is because water that is allowed to pool in lower areas like basements can cause your home’s foundation to expand and contract thus causing cracks and breakage.

While there are many ways you can check for individual leaks around the home, the easiest way to know if your home leaks water at all is by checking the meter outside. Understand how much water you use in your home on a regular basis to compare.

Start by turning off all appliances that use water such as toilets, water heaters or ice makers. Wait a few hours after turning off these appliances then find your water meter (often located near the sidewalk in the front of the house or close to the main water faucet outdoors).

Remove the cap from the meter and locate the dial that indicates water flow. If there are no leaks, the needle on this meter should not move. If it does, you’ve got a leak in your home.

Sprinkler System by Flickr User Phu Son.

Sprinkler System by Flickr User Phu Son.

Find the leak by checking all appliances and pipes. Don’t forget to inspect your sprinkler system, too, as these leaks often go unnoticed in their underground hiding places. Leak detection technologies such as infrared sensing and ground penetrating radar can be used to help find the specific location of these leaks.

Your home works hard for you. It protects you from the elements and gives you a warm place to lay your head at the end of the day. But your home needs protecting, as well. Be sure to take good care of it by conducting regular maintenance around the property because your home is a part of your family. Show it your appreciation with a little TLC.