Time to Spring Forward!
Spring preparedness tips for your home
As you begin your Spring Cleaning duties here are a few things you should check around your home:
- Air Conditioner: Be sure to visually check your air conditioning unit to ensure it is clear of debris and that hoses are well connected. Also make sure to inspect your system’s condensate drain hose, especially if you live in a humid climate. This hose could become clogged with the buildup of algae or sediment. If the condensate drain hose is blocked, hire a qualified HVAC professional to remove any blockage. To help lower energy bills, have the HVAC professional give your air-conditioning system a tune-up. This may ensures it is running at its top manufacturer-rated efficiency levels.
- Roof and Gutters: If you haven't inspected your roof in several years, be sure to call a qualified contractor to inspect for any damage, discoloration, loss of granules, or missing, worn or curling shingles. Gutters and downspouts should be safely attached, clear of leaves and other debris, and have no leaks. Flashing around vents and chimneys should be secure. Consider the need to have your downspouts direct water away from the house’s foundation.
- Foundation: Visually look for cracks or imperfections, low areas in the yard near the foundation that might pool water, termite damage and signs of other insects or rodents. Also, visually check foundations for signs of settling, such as bulging or shifting. Have a qualified professional inspect if your visual inspection reveals any of the above items.
- Decks/Porches: If you have a deck, inspect the wood for stains, discolorations, or warping. If you find any, consider resealing the deck. Check for any sharp edges, splintered wood, or rotting wood. Also look for rusting nails or any nails that are coming out or weakening their connections. And be sure to check the railings and stairs to make sure they are secure and not wobbly. If any issues are discovered, consider hiring a qualified contractor to conduct maintenance or repairs.
- Basement: Visually check basement walls, floor and trim for water stains or any signs of seepage through the foundation. Look in basement and crawl spaces for dampness and leakage. Consider consulting a qualified contractor if dampness, leaks or standing water is found.
- Sump Pump & Plumbing: While inspecting your basement, keep a close eye on your sump pump (if you have one) to ensure it is in proper working condition. Consider hiring a qualified contractor to make sure the sump pump is clean, operable and the outflow is draining properly. Consider a battery-operated backup sump pumps to protect against a power failure or mechanical failure of the primary pump.
- Attic: Does your attic or basement smell musty? If you have an attic, have it checked for leaks from the roof. An inspection should include the underside of the roof and the insulation to find any discoloration, deterioration or dirt stains, as the leaking water might have dried up.
Spring Safe Driving
Spring also ushers in storm season and it’s important that all drivers understand any amount of rain can cause hazardous road conditions. Here are some Spring Safe Driving Tips:
- Make sure windshield wiper blades and headlights are working well. Replace blades at least once a year for best results. It’s the law in all states to turn headlights on when visibility is low, and many states also require having the headlights on when the windshield wipers are in use.
- Check that rear and brake lights are functioning properly- they help your vehicle be seen in rainy weather.
- Switch from winter to summer tires, if needed. Don’t forget to check tread wear and tire inflation. Both can help with traction.
- Reduce your speed on wet surfaces and allow a safe following distance. Rain, oil and dust equal slippery conditions and traction problems on roads.
- Turn off cruise control. When roads are wet it is best to allow the driver to control speed and react to conditions.
- Pay attention to flood warnings and barricades- they’re typically placed in areas where flooding occurs often and can be potentially dangerous.
- Avoid driving through standing water, putting yourself, passengers and your vehicle at risk. You can lose control in as little as six inches of water; deeper, moving water can cause stalling or carry vehicles away.
- The Center for Disease Control reports that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.
- Hydroplaning, the skidding or sliding of tires on wet surfaces, can happen anytime roads are wet.
- If your vehicle hydroplanes:
- Don’t panic.
- Avoid hard braking and quick turns.
- Ease off the gas, gently apply the brakes (lightly pump standard brakes, apply consistent pressure if you have ABS)
- Steer straight ahead or to a safe open area.
- Check your vehicle owner’s manual to know your vehicle systems and recommended action - vehicle braking and traction control systems vary.
- Warmer weather means children, pets and bicycles will be out and about. Take extra caution, especially in residential areas. Teach new teen drivers to scan for these potential hazards.
- If you’re teaching a new driver, be sure to practice driving in an array of weather conditions, including rain, and cover these tips with them.
- Don’t panic.
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