Don't put it off; take care of your home maintenance as soon as the snow melts
It’s time to come out of hibernation and to inspect your home for winter damage to save yourself future headaches. Use that new energy to spruce up your surroundings. Below are a few ideas to get you started:
Check and clean the mechanical ventilation system
You need to clean the fans and filters of your ventilation system regularly to keep it running at peak efficiency. Check the manufacturer’s manual for instructions.
Clean or replace the furnace
Look at the filter in your furnace and clean or replace it. A dirty filter makes your furnace and air conditioner work harder and use more energy. Then have a professional check your furnace. If you need replacement parts or a new furnace, it’s better to do it in the spring, when you have time to shop around and get the best deal.
Clear snow from air intakes, exhausts and meters
In the early spring there might be snow or ice clogging the air intakes of ventilation systems, exhausts from the dryer or furnace, and on meters. Clean this out to make sure systems work well and that meters can be read accurately.
Inspect your roof
A harsh winter can cause wear and tear on your roof. Clear off any remaining snow or ice to prevent pooling. From the curb, look for any depressions on the roof caused by heavy snow. Go on the roof and nail down loose flashings. Check for curling shingles and tuck-pointing on the chimney. If damage is extensive, call a professional roofer.
Check gutters and downspouts
With snow melting and spring rain on its way, your house needs clean gutters and downspouts to prevent water damage. Scoop out clogged gutters, and then rinse with a garden hose. Use a hose with a spray attachment to unclog downspouts or a plumber’s snake for stubborn clogs.
Inspect basements or crawl spaces for seepage
Melting snow often saturates the ground and can seep into basements and crawlspaces. Check for dampness and water lines.
Do safety checks around the house
Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors by holding down the test button until the alarm sounds. Replace batteries or detector if necessary. Make sure your fire extinguisher’s pressure gauge needle is in the green zone. Inspect the pin and tamper seal, and check that the extinguisher is showing no signs of damage. Review fire escape routes with your family and make sure locks to doors and windows are working.
Check and repair any damaged screens
Winter weather can cause screens to rip or come out of their frames. Repair or replace screens now so when it’s warm enough to open windows, you won’t be inviting bugs in along with the fresh air.
Adjust thermostat for season change
Lower or reprogram your thermostat to take advantage of warmer weather. Enjoy the lower utility bills before the summer sun forces you to turn on the air conditioner.
Change the setting on the humidistat or air exchanger controller as needed. As the weather warms up, the air becomes more moist. If you don’t adjust your humidistat accordingly, excess moisture could cause condensation on your windows that can turn to frost during chilly early-spring nights.
author: Laura Knapp