Although it certainly doesn’t look like it right now in certain portions of the country, the spring season is upon us. With the snow and ice this winter brought, the harsh weather likely took its toll on the exterior of your home.
To best refresh your home’s exterior, and interior, after the winter weather, here are a few typical problem areas to look at:
Looking for water damage
The accumulated snow and slush of the winter does a number on the gutters of most homes. Left uncleaned, the melting precipitation can overflow gutters and damage eaves. According to Houzz, an online homeowner’s resource and marketplace, this might provide a point of entry for rodents and other pests to crawl through your attic or top floor. If you didn’t get a lot of snow, you can probably take care of ice and snow removal yourself with a ladder and scraper, but if winter was rough or damage to your roof line has already occurred, professional assistance is necessary.
Similar self-inspection principles apply with shingled roofs. Either climb up or use binoculars to look for loose shingles. The official website of home improvement expert Bob Vila calls these “nail-pops,” which can allow water to leak through and cause significant interior damage. Masonry chimneys can experience the same problem if the joints loosen. Finally, if you have wood, brick or stucco siding look for any water stains, and check the caulking or weather-stripping around your windows for signs of leakage.
Check your air conditioning equipment and yard tools
If your home has an exterior air conditioning unit, HGTV ─ a cable channel and website for home improvement and renovation advice ─ advises that you should have it serviced by a professional whether or not anything noticeable happened to it over the winter. Any issues with the coils or other elements should be attended to so that it functions smoothly over the summer when you need it most. Plus, if it’s cleaned, it is likely to be more energy efficient ─ thus saving you money on energy bills.
Any power tools, from hedge clippers to lawn mowers, should also be checked. With spring weather just around the corner, you’ll have to handle yard maintenance soon enough, and you’ll need these items to do it. Finally, take a look at your garden hose and the spout it is attached to. If there are any signs of freezing ─ for example, if you can stop the water with one of your fingers when you turn on the faucet ─ the pipe is probably damaged. A plumber will be best for that task, as solving the problem of frozen pipes likely takes an experienced professional.
Interiors: Attics & basements
Arguably, the most trouble-prone areas of your home will be the attic and the basement.
Basements can easily build up dampness if there’s little or no ventilation. Investing in a dehumidifier is worthwhile if you can’t ventilate this area. Check for any signs of insects or rodents. This is especially important if your home’s foundation has any wood framing: If you notice any signs of burrowing, BobVila.com advises contacting an exterminator right away.
Attics can also get damp, potentially leading to mold. Black or dark gray stains along the inside of the roof are a telltale sign. If you don’t see any, it is still advisable to take steps to further insulate any potential leakage areas with caulk.