Top Home Maintenance Projects for Spring
1. What exterior home maintenance projects should be done with the change in seasons?
- Gutters & Roofing:
- Clean your gutters and make sure your downspouts are clear & water flows freely.
- Clean any debris off your roof, especially the valleys and ridge vents. While you are up there, check your roof for any missing or damaged shingles, cracked or missing chunks of tar, rubber or silicone and make any small roof repairs required.
- Trim any trees, bushes, or other foundation plantings so that they do not rub or grow up against the house. All dead wood, limbs, shrubs, etc., should be removed to eliminate nesting areas for insects. These should be easy to spot when everything starts to bloom.
- For those with crawl spaces:
- Now would be a good time to uncover the vents and really consider looking into a sealed crawl space system.
- Make sure your vapor barrier is in good shape and there are no slow leaks to the plumbing system caused by the cold weather or other reasons.
- For those with basements:
- Check your basement for cracks or leaks, and get them repaired.
- If you have a sump pump, test, clean and lubricate it.
- Patios and decks
- Clean and inspect your decks for damage or rot. Now is a great time of year to re-stain your deck.
- Check all the handrails and steps to make sure they are clean, safe, and secure as well.
- While you are still outside, check the siding and doors. Caulk and install new weather stripping as needed.
2. Likewise, what interior home maintenance projects should I focus on?
I always suggest “The Walk About.” Grab a screwdriver, a vacuum cleaner with attachments, a rag and a notepad. Make a note of any areas that might need to be watched, missing or cracked electrical plates, missing or cracked caulking around the tubs, etc., and as you go:
- How old are the hoses on your washing machine? If older than 5 years, it would be a good idea to write them down and replace them.
- How old are your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? At 5 years, I recommend replacing them.
- Change out your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide batteries.
- Make sure you do have a carbon monoxide detector. Even if you are all electric, you should have at least one.
- Tighten up those loose screws on your cabinet drawer pulls, doors and doorknobs. Make sure all the locks and hinges are working smoothly. If not, add graphite or an appropriate oil.
- Vacuum or wipe off your vent covers, under the refrigerator, the refrigerator coils, light bulbs, the ceiling fan housing and blades.
- Check your fire extinguisher charge, and if it is in the caution or dead area, mark it down for replacement.
- Grab that list from your notepad, write down which size AC Filters you have, and how many carbon monoxide and smoke detectors you have. Head to your local home store, grab this year’s supply of HVAC filters, batteries and everything else needed to knock this list out.
- Change out your HVAC filter.
Sean Lintow, Sr. President and Owner of SLS COnstruction, Inc., is an innovative, solutions-driven, 3rd generation General Contractor with over 20 years’ experience in the construction and project management arena. Certified RESNET HERS RATER, Infrared Thermographer L2, ENERGY STAR Verifier, AEE CEA Challenge America Partner and Verifier.
3. What easy and inexpensive “green” projects can I do to make my home more eco-friendly?
There are many expensive things that you can do to dramatically lower your energy bills; however, you must consider the “low hanging fruit” first if you are looking for maximum payback. “Heating and cooling” and “water heating” make up the largest part of most residential homes’ energy usage. There are a couple of other less obvious electricity consumers that don’t get as much attention, such as lighting and consumer electronics.
Most new computers have power saving modes, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star® program has helped develop guidelines and branding opportunities for manufacturers who comply with these guidelines. If you purchase an Energy Star product, it is designed to save on your power usage, which would lower your cost of living. Another great way to save money in the house is to start converting your lighting to LED light bulbs. The color of LEDs has improved quite a bit and most big box stores have them for a reasonable price. Since they last for many years and don’t use as much energy as an incandescent bulb, you’ll see savings in both replacement cost and energy usage.
Matt Hoots is owner of SawHorse, Inc., a green design/build firm in Atlanta, GA. Sawhorse has won over 125 design awards and is the leading green renovation company in Atlanta. They have won EarthCraft renovator of the year many times and have completed more EarthCraft renovation projects than any other contractor in the Southeast.
While making your spring cleaning checklist, make sure you don’t leave off these commonly overlooked areas!