It may not seem like it for those of us in Eastern Idaho, but spring is just around the corner. What does this mean for your home?
Well… nothing if you are the average home owner, but I assume if you are reading this post you are someone who takes pride in their home and understands the idea that you home is a system, like your vehicle is a system and they both require maintenance. And if you take care of your home, it will take care of you (and your bank account) for years to come.
The way that I like to look at the issue of seasonal maintenance on your home is fairly straight forward. I sit down and think of all of the components of my property that were effected by the passing season over the past few months.
As we are coming out of winter we can make a list of items that have been effected and may possibly be in need of some maintenance in preparation for the coming seasons. This is in no way an exhaustive explanation or a how-to article, it is simply a quick overview of a few things to look over after the snow has melted and we finally get to see the sun again.
Spring is a great time to inspect your roof. If you are not knowledgeable about safe practices when accessing a roof I would suggest you hire a professional home inspector to take a look for you and document any issues that were found.
That being said if you decide to venture up on your roof, take a good look at the roof covering (shingles, shakes, tiles etc.) make sure there are no holes or obvious tears or cracks in the roofing material.
Also take a look at any roof penetrations (in other words, pipes sticking out of the roof) make sure all the gasket rubber material around the pipe is in good shape and is not cracking. Also take a look at any flashing that is installed on the roof to make sure it has not been bent or is corroding.
Take a look at your chimney and chimney cap if applicable. Any cracks should be sealed and if major deterioration is observed, it would be a good time to call a professional to get things fixed up.
Gutters, Downspouts and Exterior Grading
Issues with gutters and downspouts are by far the most common problem that I observe and can be the most destructive. The funny thing is the majority of the time the issues are easy to fix and do not cost much money.
Step back 50 feet from your home and take an overall look at the gutter system. See if there are any gutters that are not sloping towards a down spout or pulled away from the home and are hanging down, these areas will be easy to spot.
Walk around your home and look at all of your down spouts. Make sure they are all secure and connected the way that they should be. MOST IMPORTANTLY check to make sure your down spout does not deposit water right next to the house. If it does, run to your local home center and grab some downspout extension material and get that water deposited at least 5 feet away from the foundation.
Having downspouts deposit right next to the foundation can lead to water issued In you basement and potential structural and foundation issues. This can cost you a few dollars to correct now or thousands down the road if left uncorrected.
While you are looking at downspouts, keep a look out for areas in your yard (especially right next to your house) that slope towards your foundation. This can have the same implications as
I listed for not having downspout extensions. If needed, fill in low spots and grade your exterior soil to direct water away from your home.
Driveway and Walkways
I have found that because driveways and walkways are made of concrete people seem to think they are indestructible. Well I am here to tell you, yes they are tough but they still need some maintenance from time to time.
Concrete is guaranteed to crack, it is just what happens there is really no stopping it. The problem with cracks that are left open and not maintained is they are susceptible to water penetration, that is bad news especially in the winter.
When water enters a crack and then freezes, it enlarges that crack and makes it wider and deeper. Until something is done to prevent that water from entering that crack that cycle will continue until you have major problems with your driveway and walkway.
The same principal applies for Asphalt as well. So do yourself a favor, if you have some small cracks in your driveway, get them filled. It will prolong the lifespan of the material and prevent tripping hazards.
There are so many ways to heat your home that it would be impossible to hit all of them. Just keep in mind that if it gets cold in the winter where you live your heating system has been working hard to keep you and your family warm.
Because it has been experiencing some heavy use over the past few months you need to take some time to change filters, blow out dust, check hose connections and listen to blower motors. If you have a wood stove you need to make sure you get it cleaned on an annual basis to prevent chimney fires and other safety hazards.