Homeowners need to be reminded that they should practice
preventative maintenance at least twice a year.
Spring is the time of year to make sure that your home is ready for the
warm, wet and buggy season. My routine
starts in the basement. I can work my
way up the inside of the house and then move to the outside, weather
permitting. Inspecting the inside of the
house can be started in any weather. I
actually like to do the inspection in the rain or wet times. This helps find any leakage. Each house is unique but the basics are the
same. Most of the items will be
applicable to homes in any metro area.
1. Look for cracks in the foundation walls and the floor of the
basement. Any moisture that seeps in
over the winter could have frozen and expanded existing cracks or created new
ones. If you check in the fall, you
should have an idea of changes or new damage.
Patch any cracks with a tube of chalking or instant patching concrete
(in a tube).
2. Make sure that there are no visible leaks in any of the
exposed pipes (water and sewer). When
looking for leaks, have someone run water and flush toilets at the same time
you’re watching the pipes. If any of the
pipes are in a crawl space or next to an exposed wall, you might need to remove
some of the insulation to get a good look at them. Don’t ignore the pipes if they are difficult
to get at. Remember, “Out of sight, out
of mind” can lead to expensive repairs later.
3. If you have a forced
air furnace with central air conditioning, this is the time to clean the
unit. Replace filters and vacuum the
inside of the cabinet. The filter should
be replaced on a monthly schedule. Most
service companies will provide a spring tune-up for a reasonable cost.
4. Winter or summer,
carbon monoxide is dangerous. Warm
weather means the central air will be on and the house will be closed up. Always check the exhaust chimney/flue on the
furnace and water heater. Make sure they
are free of holes and corrosion. You can
use a screw driver, or like object, to tap on the pipes. This will help find damaged parts of the
exhaust pipes. Usually the damage will
be on the bottom side of the flue where moisture collects. This would be good time to install a Carbon
Monoxide Detector if you didn’t install one in the fall.
5. Check your water
heater for leaks. Look inside the
housing around the open for signs of rust or moisture. If you see signs, call a professional and see
if they can find other damage. If you
have followed a routine you should already be draining about a gallon of water
out of the heater to remove sediment. If
not, now might be a time to start. A
word of caution, if your unit is old and has never had this done...you might be
asking for disaster. Removing sediment
could uncover leaks and pits that would generate leaks.
6. Spring is also a great
time to hang around the fireplace on cool nights. And spring is also nesting
time so make sure that the chimney flue is not blocked by nests or animals.
7. Spring brings in all
the animals, wherever they can get in.
Patch any holes or openings in the attic area. Broken windows or attic vents, any access
without screens, will be easy access for animals to enter. Fall the animals came in from the cold, spring
they come in to raise families.
8. While your in the
attic area (whether it is a crawl space or not) you will want to look for
stains or black spots that would indicate leaks. You might also want to use a screwdriver or
awl to gentle push on some of the roofing underlayment. If the wood is damaged or rotted the tool
will push into the material very easily.
Snow or ice that settled on the roof might have seeped into the
underlayment. Mark any area you find and
keep a record of the size of the stain.
Compare it to the stains from the fall.
Did it get bigger? If so, you
need to find the source. If not it might be an isolated problem.
9. Electrical outlets and switches should be inspected for signs
of arcing (black marks, soot or melted areas) and cracks. Replace as necessary.
10. Lubricate the doors and cabinet hinges throughout the
house. Dry winter weather makes for
squeaking hinges and hard to turn latches.
11. Make you plans for
wallpaper or painting.
12. Winter cold and
moisture dries out the garage door, tracks and rollers. Lubricate everything you can get at. Change the batteries in the portable units and
adjust the door for proper operation and sealing. Repair or replace the door edging and bottom
13. Check to make sure
the garage openers automatic safety features work. Spring means kids, bicycles and toys. The safety stop allows the door to rise if
something is in its way as it closes. As
you put the door down, grasp the handle and stop the door if it doesn't go up
the safety system is bad or needs adjustment.
1. Take a walk around the
exterior foundation and look for cracks or signs of winter damage. Patch any cracks and holes with caulking or
2. Make sure that the
foundation has a good build up of dirt to direct the flow of water away from
the foundation. Recommendations run
about an inch of slope for each foot of distance. Ultimately, you would want about six feet of
slope from your home or more. This is
not always possible, so get as much distance as possible. Estimates are that over 75 percent of the
moisture problems in a basement can be sure with correct drainage.
3. Clean and repair
gutters and down spouts. Add extensions
to the down spouts if needed. Make sure
that the water drains away from the foundation (see the above number 2)
4. Check around the windows, doors and vents for cracks or
gaps. Fill all with caulking or
filler. Remove old caulking before
5. Replace storm windows
with screens and repair tears or holes.
Windows should be reglazed, scraped and painted.
6. Inspect your porch or deck for damaged wood or loose
boards. This is also a good time to
clean the deck with a deck wash and waterproof the wood to prevent further
damage. While you’re under the deck look
for cracks in the foundation and inspect the pillars and posts that support the
7. If the posts are
rotted at the bottom, you can often repair the base by removing the bad section
and inserting another board in its spot.
This replacement piece can be removed in the future after it rots
without having to remove the complete post.
8. Check the roof for
damaged or loose shingles. Loose
shingles need to be glued down with asphalt cement. Missing or damaged shingles need to be replaced. If there is more than 50 percent of the
roofing that need to be repaired, plan on a new roof.
9. Check the flashing for rust or damage. Flashing, usually metal or tar paper, is
placed where the roof meets the chimney, windows, and edges. Flashing needs to be protected and sealed to
prevent moisture from getting under and damaging the roof.
10. Make sure the chimney caps and screen are in place. Nesting forces the animals to hunt for dry
area to raise their families. It will
either be your attic, your chimney or the neighbor’s house.
11. Check the siding for rot or damage. Replace or repair the damaged areas and seal,
prime and repaint
Don’t be afraid to ask for
help. Letting maintenance go unrepaired
through the spring and summer months can turn a simple problem into a very
expensive repair. Need help; call
contractors or do-it-yourself stores because answers only come after you ask
Labels: foundations, handyman work, home inspections, home maintenance, home repairs, homeowners insurance, lawncare, repairs maintenance, roof, seasonal home insurance, siding, spring homeowners checklists