Goodspeed: Tips for keeping your house in good shape
QUESTION: What are some good spring maintenance things we should be doing at our house to keep it in good shape?
ANSWER: There is never a lack of things to do when you own a house. After a long and cold winter, not to mention an enforced quarantine because of the pandemic, people are anxious to get outdoors.
Take advantage of the great spring weather to walk around your yard. Pick up any downed branches. Trim bushes and trees away from your house. Check other landscaping for winter damage and prune and fertilize as needed. Check drainage ditches and drain tiles for obstructions. Check your yard for large depressions which could indicate water pooling or drainage issues. Don’t forget to examine your driveway and repair and seal any asphalt cracks.
Now examine your home itself. Check and repair any damaged or cracked windows and doors. Wash windows and replace storm windows with screens. Check and touch up peeling paint and any cracks in bricks and masonry. Check decks and porches for any damaged steps and railings and replace them.
Have your heating system serviced and cleaned. Make sure you clean and replace any heating system filters. Filters not only protect your heating and cooling systems from unwanted debris, they also keep the inside air you breathe free of allergens, increase system productivity and prolong the lifespan of your heating and cooling systems.
As you walk around your house, look for any cracks where insects might get in. Loose-fitting thresholds, cracks in the foundation and exterior walls, utility line entrances and appliance vents are just some of the ways insects can get inside your house. Use caulk or foam (for larger cracks) to help keep your home bug-free and avoid using dangerous pesticides.
Now look up. Inspect the roof surface, flashing, eaves and soffits. At a minimum you should be inspecting your roof annually or biannually as well as after a bad storm for any peeling shingles or moss or other damage.
Remember to check your gutters and down spouts for any leaks or cracks. Your home’s rain gutters play an important role in protecting your house from water damage. Gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year. Late spring and fall are usually the best times.
And remember to extend your down spouts away from the house to prevent moisture entry into the basement and potential damage to the foundation.
(Thanks to Criterium-Lalancette Engineers for providing some of the tips in this column.)
Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.” Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.