Daylight Savings begins on March 11th. The first official day of spring is on March 20th. There is already foliage for spring flowers growing in the yard. Yep, all the signs are pointing to SPRING being just around the corner!
Our houses can take a beating during the wet and cold winter months. When spring rolls around, it’s time to take inventory of what repairs need to be done now to save us money later.
This photo from Consumer Reports provides a nice visual for the most common trouble areas.
(Illustration by Bryon Thompson)
Problem Spots & Solutions
1. Decks – Be sure to remove moss and mold from your deck which create a slipping hazard. Consumer Reports recommends a pressure washer to remedy this problem. Also check for water stains where the deck meets the house. This could be a sign of decay and a weakening of the wood could mean it is treacherous to step on that area. Staining your deck each spring is a good idea to maintain the integrity of the wood surface.
2. Air Conditioner – If you don’t feel comfortable disconnecting the electric power to the outdoor condenser on your air conditioner, hire an expert. It will need to be clear it of leaves and debris and you can do so with a vent brush, power blower, garden hose, or the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Vacuum the grille and register inside the home to ensure good airflow and change your furnace filter.
3. Foundation Cracks – Not all cracks are cause for alarm but should definitely be watched. Mark them with tape and check them again in a few months. If they’ve worsened, call a structural engineer. If they’re stable, fill them with an epoxy-injection system. This Foundation problems 101 article will help you determine if the crack or fissure in your foundation is serious.
4. Garage Doors – To check that the door is balanced, release it into the manual mode and lift it by hand. The door should lift easily and smoothly and stay open on its own about 3 feet off the ground. If it doesn’t, by hire a garage-door technician to counterbalance its overhead spring. Next, set the reversing force on the opener as low as possible. Place a 2×4 board on the ground under the door, wide side down. The door should pop back up when it hits the 2×4. If it doesn’t, call a garage-door pro. Test the photoelectric eyes by holding the 2×4 between them. The door should reverse direction. If it doesn’t, have it checked by a pro.
5. Gutters – After the dropping of fall leaves and winter wind has blown branches and debris around, be sure to clear gutters and check them for corrosion, joint separation or loose fasteners. Flush out downspouts and unclog leader pipes. The rule of thumb is that leaders should extend at least 5 feet to direct water away from the foundation.
6. Roofs - Inspect the roof for cracked, curled or missing shingles. You can also check the siding under roof eaves, and the ceilings in the rooms below, for water or discoloration. These are indications that ice dams might have created leaks along the roof edge. It is common for leaks to occur around a chimney, skylight or other opening. From the attic, inspect the rafters for water stains. Unless you’re an expert, patching leaks is best left to a professional.
A few other spring maintenance tips from Bob Vila worth noting are;
- Remove, clean and store storm windows. Check and patch all door and window screens before the insect season.
- Look for cracks and holes in house siding or paint. Replace caulk if necessary. A carpet knife can work well for cutting away old caulking from house siding. Slice down alongside it from both directions with the hook-like blade, then use the knife to lift out the old caulk bead intact.
- Clean your fireplace of ashes and leave the damper open for improved ventilation if your home is not air-conditioned.
Each of these tips, when treated early, will save you time and money in the long run.
Happy spring! Please visit us at boise.handymanconnection.com to view our current promotions.