It’s Springtime!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Seasonal Maintenance Tips for Your Home

Fling open the windows, plant some pansies … but first take care of some spring home maintenance tasks so you can enjoy the new season. Then have fun bringing a splash of spring indoors with some inexpensive decorative ideas.

Exterior Spring Maintenance
Even a relatively mild winter can do some damage to the outside of your home, so take a quick tour and check on these items:
•    Siding and trim. Check to see if any of the wood has rotted and needs replacing. You may need to repaint some sections, too.
•    Look for signs of termites. If you see insect wings, mud tubes or damaged wood you should call in a termite inspector right away.
•    Brick and stucco. If your brick is crumbling or your mortar has deteriorated or you stucco looks damaged, you may need to seal the brick or bring in a professional.
•    Gutters and downspouts. Clean out your gutters and check for leaks and loose downspouts.
•    Foundations. Winter storms may have shifted soil around your home’s foundation, so you should add compacted soil to make sure water flows away from the foundation.
•    Roof and chimney. Look for loose shingles or flashing that may need repair.
•    Firewood. Move your leftover firewood into a rack so that’s it at least 18 inches off the ground and two feet from your home to keep pests away from the house.
•    Concrete. Fill cracks with silicone crack or buy a concrete repair kit at the local hardwood store.
•    Window caulking. Check for caulk damage from the outside. Remove any loose or peeling pieces and replenish with fresh caulk.
•    Deck. Fix any loose boards and nails or loose railings, hose down the deck and protect it with a fresh stain or sealant.
•    HVAC. You should have your heating and air conditioning system inspected at least annually; some contractors provide a spring and winter check.
•    Prune your landscaping. Trim your shrubs and clean up any leftover fall and winter debris to get ready for the spring planting season.
Interior Spring Maintenance
While spring’s sunny days may beckon you outdoors, you can use a rainy day to take care of some indoor tasks.
•    Inspect your attic. Check your attic for damage, leaks and proper ventilation through vents. Good ventilation will keep your air conditioning costs lower.
•    Sump pump. Before spring floods arrive, check to see that your sump pump is working and consider adding a battery back-up pump that works even if the power goes out.
•    Filters. Change or clean your air conditioner and HVAC filters monthly or bimonthly.
•    Clean your range hood. Grease builds up on your range hood after months of cooking, so pull out the filter and either hand wash it in hot water or put it in with a load of dishes.
•    Wash your windows. Get rid of winter grime and make sure you can take full advantage of the sun’s stronger spring rays.
•    Test your detectors and change your batteries. Change your batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
•    Check your fire extinguishers. Look at the gauges to make sure they read 100 percent and make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher for each floor of your home.
Decorating for the New Season
Giving your home a good cleaning, especially if you scrub your windows, can give it a lift after winter’s darker days, but this can also make you notice some drab spots. Try these tricks to “springify” your rooms.
•    Get rid of clutter. Clean off your kitchen counters, dust your bookshelves and take everything out of your closets to see what you really need to keep and what can be given away. Simply rearranging what you have, with new family photos in your frames or a favorite platter on the counter instead of hidden in a drawer can brighten your home.
•    Bring in fresh plants. An old jug with a handful of pussy willow fronds or daisies adds life to your home. Even a few sprigs of greenery from your backyard bush stuck in a colorful vase can perk up a room.
•    Take down your curtains. Heavy drapes are comforting in the winter, but as spring and summer arrive, you may want to remove some window treatments and store them until the cold weather returns. Shears and light blinds can provide privacy while allowing light to fill your rooms.
Getting motivated to clean house may not be easy, but it helps if you reward yourself and your home with a little springtime decorating treat