Put the petal to the metal with spring maintenance
The weather is warming up, the skies are brightening, and you are just itching to get out of the house. Before you launch into knocking off those winter blues, remember your home needs a little spring love too.
Winter weather, such as snow and ice, can cause significant damage to your home and when spring storms roll in, it won’t help the matter. State Farm offers these five tips to help get your home ready to tackle what the next six months throws at it.
Unclutter those gutters!
Roofs and gutters are not designed to hold leaves, standing water, or other debris for lengthy periods of time. Damage can come in many forms such as pooling water causing wood to rot under shingles, foundation decay because water is not properly funneling away from the home, and insect infestation because standing water is like a dessert oasis to bugs.
- Call for help. If your home is tall or you're uncomfortable on a ladder, consider hiring a gutter-cleaning professional.
- Use a tall ladder. Pick one that extends three feet over the gutter. Secure the ladder on even ground, preferably on pavement.
- Wear protective gear. A long-sleeve shirt and work gloves can help keep your arms and hands safe from sharp objects.
- Remove the clog. Scoop large debris with a small shovel or garden trowel, and drop them into a bucket hanging from your ladder or onto a tarp on the ground.
- Flush it out. Once you're done clearing debris, use a garden hose to rinse out the gutters. This is also a great way to check for leaks.
- Stay safe using ladders. Here are smart steps to ladder safety.
Inspect that attic!
If you have an attic, it’s time to climb those stairs, get your sniffer ready, and keep your eyes peeled. Remember the clogged gutters from above? If they caused damage, it could cause a musty, mildew smell. Spring is the perfect time to get up there and look around, check insulation levels, and make any necessary repairs.
- Look for any discoloration on the underside of the roof. This can mean water has been seeping below the shingles and can cause damage.
- Check your insulation levels while you are up there. Insulation helps in the winter and summer to keep your heat and AC where it is meant to be: inside your home.
- Inspect vents. Poorly sealed vents pour out cool and hot air and can cause your energy bills to skyrocket.
- Listen and look for signs of animals. Hear a squeaking that isn’t supposed to be there or see droppings or chewed up items? This is a good indication of an animal infestation that can cause thousands of dollars of damage. Call a professional and evict those critters!
Don’t slack on that HVAC!
With spring, comes climbing temperatures. The last thing a homeowner wants to deal with on the first 95° day of the year is a broken air conditioning unit. The average cost of replacing a home’s air conditioning unit is $8,000. A few simple steps can keep that ac running longer and more efficiently.
- Change HVAC filters every 30 – 60 days. Clogged or dirty filters reduce the amount of airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency. This causes the unit to work harder than necessary and reduces the lifespan of the unit.
- Visually check the AC unit. Inspect the unit to ensure it is clear of debris and that hoses are well connected. Check the condensate drain hose which can become clogged and reduce the efficiency of the unit.
- Get a semi-annual tune-up. Consider hiring a qualified HVAC professional to give your system a twice a year check-up. Most HVAC professionals will.
Don’t let your garage become a messy collage!
It’s an argument as old as time. Is the garage for storage of things or storage of cars? Whether you store one, the other, or both in the garage, there are items that definitely should not be in the garage. Spring is the perfect time to take stock of what is in there and what needs removing.
- Lawn care tools and equipment: The garage is an ideal place to store the tools and equipment you only use outside. If it becomes too crowded, consider a storage shed.
- Gardening supplies: Extra pots, bags of potting soil and your small garden tools can be neatly stored in bins.
- Plastic storage bins: Plastic bins rather than cardboard boxes help protect your items and are more resistant to the changing temperatures and moisture levels.
- Hoses: After draining your garden hose, place them in the garage to store them out of the way for the winter.
- Extra fuel: Stashing portable gas cans and propane tanks in the garage can be dangerous: Highly flammable fuel poses a leaking risk. A shed away from your home is a better storage spot.
- Paint or home-improvement chemicals: Some liquids, such as latex, freeze at the same temperature as water. Check the manufacturer's directions for guidance.
- Furniture: Unless your garage is climate-controlled, its interior is subject to wild swings in heat and humidity. This can warp wood and pests such as rodents may take up residence in upholstery, fabric, or mattresses.
- Clothing: Clothing may soak up fumes and dust and be at risk of insect or pest damage.
- Anything fragile or valuable: Photographs, artwork and electronics are just a few of the items that need the stability of climate control so expensive or delicate elements aren't damaged. Remember, if you couldn't bear to see it lost or destroyed, then it probably shouldn't be in the garage.
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