Spring is Here: Head on Outside for Some Home Maintenance
Home maintenance is a never-ending project and spring cleaning is no exception.
Google, "spring cleaning tips" and you'll find tons of lists. We made one, in fact. You can see our quick list of indoor chores here.
We know that most people don't want to spend multiple weekends during the nicest time of the year cleaning their house. We went through the lists and pulled out a few chores that we thought would be a good place to start.
The weather has been a bit unpredictable lately, but hopefully a sunny weekend with comfortable temperatures will make these outdoor chores a little more tolerable.
Clean your Gutters
Your gutters have an important and underappreciated job. They channel the water from your roof and away from your foundation where it could cause cracks, leaks and other problems. Your gutters can't do this job if they're filled with leaves, pine needles, dirt and other outdoor muck.
If you're feeling really ambitious, get yourself a rain barrel and hook one up to your downspout. The oncoming spring and summer rain can be captured and used to water plants around your yard.
Service and Clean your HVAC System
Most HVAC experts recommend having your system serviced or cleaned once a year. Newer systems can go every other, but older systems should have a good look more often. It may seem unnecessary, but a system that isn't working properly or is clogged with dirt will require more energy to run. More energy leads to higher energy bills. HVAC companies typically run specials this time of year. Since there's no industry standard as to what "service" or "cleaning" means, make sure to read the fine print to see exactly what's included.
You can decide to forgo having your system serviced, but you should replace or clean your air filters. Trim any bushes, grass and other vegetation that has started growing around your system. Proper airflow is needed to keep it working in tip-top shape.
Check pipes for leaks
Finding leaks can be a bit difficult, but it's a project worth doing. A steady leak can waste about 20 gallons of water a day. That's water you're paying for just going down the drain. If not properly insulated, pipes can crack when water inside them freezes and expands. These small cracks aren't usually noticeable until everything thaws. An increase in your water bills is a good indicator that you have a leak somewhere, otherwise check for puddles of water in your basement or crawlspace.
Pressure Wash your House, Decks and Walkways
You can do this yourself by purchasing or renting a power washer or you can pass the responsibility to a professional. Either way, before you start, be sure to find out if your home's siding can handle it. Some materials aren't fit for power washing while others are just fine. Power washing removes all the dirt, mildew, pollen and other gunk from your home's exterior. If you wait too long, this gunk could cause permanent stains.
Power washing companies start advertising their services in the spring. Like with HVAC companies, read the fine print and ask what is included in the price before handing over any cash. Be wary of any company that asks for money up front before the job is started or any contracts are signed.
Have a problem with any company providing maintenance services? File a complaint with the North Carolina Department of Justice.