Prepare Your Home For Spring - Home Improvement Projects Before Summer

Maintaining Your Home This Spring

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It's been a difficult winter for many areas of the country. As the weather warms, it's tempting to think of spring as an end to all our troubles. But spring brings its own challenges, especially to your home.

If you live in an area that experiences "April showers," you'll want to ensure your roof and gutters are ready for the downpours. And before it gets hot, make sure your central air is up to the task of cooling your home all summer.

Spring Maintenance

1. Check Your Roofing

It's a good idea to have a roofing contractor inspect your roof every other year. If this isn't one of those years, you can perform your own inspection. Use a pair of binoculars and examine your roof from the ground, or get a ladder and climb up to examine it. Make sure someone else is around whenever you get up on the roof, just in case.

Most roofs are made of asphalt shingles over tar paper, or "felt." Look for cracked, loose, or blistered felt. Look also for loose or cracked shingles. If you find problems, talk to a pro, or if you have the tools and don't mind heights, consult a how-to guide and repair your roof yourself.

2. Check and Clean Your Gutters

Leaves, sticks, mud—all kinds of things find their way into your gutters during the fall and winter, especially if you don't have gutter covers. Before the spring rains, clean out your gutters and run some water into them to test if they're working properly. A ladder, gloves, and even a flexible cable to clear blockage in the downspout can all make your job easier.

As you're cleaning your gutters, confirm that they're securely attached to the house. If you find a loose gutter, tighten it up. Using a garden hose with a spray nozzle, run water into your gutters to make sure they're working properly. If you find a leak, you can patch it yourself or call in a pro.

3. Check and Clean Your Central Air Conditioning

Most central air problems can be traced to dirty air conditioners. At the very least, debris and dust lowers the efficiency of your system. So it's pretty much a no-brainer to at least check your air conditioning unit every year. As usual, always shut off the electricity before you begin fiddling with your air conditioner.

Vacuum the dust out of the evaporator (that's the part that's inside your house, usually in the basement). Be sure to check the filter and replace it if it's dirty. Even if you have easy access to the unit, you should have a pro check and maintain it every few years. The steep cost of replacement or repair makes the $100 - $250 charge for maintenance service seem cheap.

You can use a shop vac to clean winter debris off the outside of the compressor (that's the part that's outside the house). Also, look for dark drips near any of the hoses that lead into your house. This might mean your unit is leaking oil or that case, you'll want to call a pro.

If this sounds like a lot of work, or if you don't have the tools, schedule an air conditioning contractor to come out and clean and service your air conditioner. Schedule early, before the first heat wave arrives and all the experts are overbooked.

Start By Getting Your Roofing Estimates Now »