Spring is a season credited with novel beginnings and the rejuvenation of one’s self and surroundings. In that spirit, how do you celebrate the start of spring at home? Do you plant a garden? Clear out the garage or attic of clutter? Tidy up your home from top to bottom? Spring cleaning is great for you and your home, to be sure; but, if you love your home, and you want it to last with minimal repairs, consider the pursuit of an annual spring home maintenance routine. By inspecting and maintaining the following ten home features, you can fortify and improve your home’s functionality as your place of residence.
Most sources recommend you clean the gutters and downspouts twice a year – once at the end of spring and again at the end of fall; however, if you live in an area prone to heavy rains, it is advisable to clear your exterior drainage systems more frequently.
After you clear away the leaves, twigs, and other debris, check for signs of potential drainage problems, such as mildew in the attic, cracks in the foundation, or roaming soil beds in the yard. See 7 Signs You Have a Drainage Problem to learn more.
When you inspect your roof, look for any one of the following issues:
- Cracked caulk
- Cracked or well-worn rubber boots around vent pipes
- Rusted flashing
- Buckled, curled, blistered, broken, or lost shingles
- Amassed moss and lichen patches
You should be able to inspect your roof from the safety of the ground; however, if you insist upon a closer examination, be sure to exercise the proper precautions for climbing and walking along your roof.
If you own a wood-burning fireplace, your chimney should be thoroughly swept to remove creosote, a flammable chemical that accumulates inside the chimney as you use the fireplace; you can hire a professional chimney sweep if you do not feel comfortable working on the roof. Gas-burning fireplaces do not collect creosote, but instead deposit corrosive substances through condensation; these acidic elements break down the liner, mortar, and brickwork, and the crumbling debris can obstruct the flue. Visually inspect the chimney for cracks, loose bricks, and crumbling mortar and, once the chimney is swept, clean out the firebox. Also, examine the damper to see if it fully closes; if it does not, air inside your home will escape outside, and your electric bill will be high due to an overworked AC unit.
Lower the risk of an accidental fire by removing any debris in and around the chimney; dried pine needles and leaves can easily ignite when encountered by sparks or hot air rising from your fireplace. In addition, trim back any tree branches or creeping vines that breech the chimney space and hinder the ventilation of gases.
A thorough scrubbing with the proper cleaning solution – a ½ cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and a gallon of water, according to the article – removes mold, mildew, and other grime known to weaken the stability of siding materials. Please note though: You should always test your choice cleaning solution in a small, contained area to ensure that no siding discoloration occurs.
Strong siding is important to maintain proper insulation and prevent the infiltration of pests; however, cleaning and painting the siding is not always guaranteed to support the integrity of your home. There may come a time when your siding must be replaced due to weather damage, underlying rot, or termite infestation. See Top 10 Signs You Need to Replace Your Home’s Siding to recognize evidence of compromised siding, including warping, bubbling, peeling paint, and dry rot.
Wooden decks, patios, and porches, particularly those uncovered and exposed to the weather, should be inspected for rot, loose nails, splintering, and lax railings. If you notice rot along the edges of the deck, you can cut and replace the ends with new wood; but, if rot is extensive, part or full replacement of the deck is probably necessary. Cleaning and sealing your wooden deck can inhibit mold and mildew growth, which promote wood rot.
Stamped concrete patios need regular cleaning and sealing to prevent color fading and moisture penetration, the latter of which leads to cracks and surface flaking. If you own a pool or spa, sealing the surrounding deck can block chemical saturation and staining caused by chlorine, salt, and other chemically-based water-treatment compounds. Moreover, sealing your pool deck can improve its stability, making it less slippery; simply purchase slip-resistant sealer when you visit the store.
If your windows are compromised, not only will pests have access to your home, but hot air and moisture can infiltrate and damage the surrounding window structure and interior space. Inspect the caulking and weather stripping for cracks, peeling, or missing sections; check the window screens for holes and loose frames; and search for wood rot around the windows.
If you live in a cold climate area, the soil and underground surrounding your sprinkler system have been frozen throughout the winter season; before you check the system, allow the ground to thaw to avoid pipe damage. Inspect nozzles, sprinkler heads, and valves for wear and tear; replace if needed. Clear any obstructing materials – excess soil, plants, rocks, or debris – from the sprinkler heads’ flow space. If the flow of water from one or more of the sprinkler heads is sporadic, slow, or nonexistent, and you have followed the outlined steps in the provided articles, a broken pipe may be responsible.
Your front yard and backyard need tending to at the early onset of spring to put preventive measures in place against the harmful pests and vegetation that can invade your home; moreover, the upkeep of your front yard preserves curb appeal.
First, remove any dead foliage to make room for what will bloom. Rake up all the dead foliage that smothers your grass and garden beds; you can either toss the debris in the trash, in addition to spent annuals and mulch, or turn it into compost. Prune the deadwood and overgrown shrubbery; clean up any brown patches of grass; and inspect your vegetation for signs of disease.
Once you have cleared away the rubbish, you can fertilize the lawn and put down fresh mulch. If you hope to plant new trees, shrubberies, flowers, or a fruit and vegetable garden, be sure the cold weather has passed and that there will be no surprise cold fronts to kill the fragile saplings.
The spring maintenance of your AC unit requires an inspection of the outdoor condenser unit and indoor air handler unit. Outside, remove debris inside the condenser unit; clean and straighten the fins; check the suction pipe insulation; and ensure the unit is level. Inside, clean the evaporator coil; change the air filters; and vacuum the supply vents and return air grills.
Regular care of your water heater could increase its lifespan. Flush out your water heater to remove sediment buildup that inhibits the water-heating process, and inspect the anode rod, which helps reduce corrosion of the steel tank, to see if it is well-spent and needs replaced. Also, if your water heater is new, it will have a bottom vent that circulates oxygen to support the heating process; make sure the vent is clear of lint and debris.
Please note: Though the sources provided here regarding the routine maintenance of a water heater are reliable, you should always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations on proper procedure(s), which can be found in the manual that came with your water heater.
If you have any questions pertaining to the care and/or maintenance of your Lennar home, please contact Lennar’s Customer Care Service through your myLennar account. Our Customer Care representatives will assist you as best they can in resolving any issues you find during your seasonal and annual home maintenance routines.