As winter fades away and warm weather approaches, it’s finally time for your annual spring cleaning activities. But while many homeowners associate spring cleaning with tidying up around the interior of the home, there are also a lot of outdoor spring cleaning and maintenance projects to complete.
Why Outdoor Spring Cleaning and Maintenance Is Important for Homeowners
Winter weather is rough on homes, particularly those located in snowy parts of the country. Snow and ice can cause structural damage to various features of your home, and as the snow melts away, the water can cause even more damage. So with that in mind, here are four outdoor home maintenance tips that you should tackle along with your traditional spring cleaning chores, as soon as the weather permits.
1. Check Your Outside Faucets for Freeze Damage
Frozen water pipes are prone to breakage during the winter months as the water inside them freezes and expands. Hopefully, you winterized them properly before the winter season began, but there is still always a risk. Now that the snow is melted and your pipes are ready to be used, it’s time to turn them on and check the pipes for freeze damage.
With the faucet running, plug the opening with your thumb. If the water pressure is strong enough to shift your thumb out of the way and let the water come through, that is a sign that the pipe probably did not break. But if you can completely stop the flow of water with your thumb, there’s a good chance that you’ve got a broken water pipe somewhere inside your home and will need to call the plumber.
2. Clean Rain Gutters and Downspouts
An important task for outdoor spring cleaning and maintenance is cleaning your gutters. Cleaning out your gutters and downspouts prior to winter is crucial, as blockages can cause ice dams, allowing ice and water to back up onto and into your roof. While you are on a ladder at eye-level with your roof, look for any roof damage that may have occurred over the winter. If any shingles are loose, it’s possible water has found a way in and there may be a leak in your roof. If any sections of the gutters have broken away from your roof, fix those right away. Thoroughly clean them all and make sure that water is flowing freely through your downspouts. The water should drain away from your home’s foundation.
3. Check for Roof Damage
Now back to the roof. On a rainy day, get up in the attic and look for drips and moisture on the ceiling, walls, rafters, and insulation. If you see any wet spots forming, or if you notice a damp, musty smell, then these are signs that you likely have a leak. Roof repairs can be costly, but if you can get the leaks patched right away, you can save yourself a lot of additional cost and headaches down the road. It’s a good idea to call in a professional home inspector if you notice anything questionable so they can thoroughly evaluate the cause and best route to take. Click here for an article from Angie’s List explaining how to tell if it’s time for a new roof.
4. Check Your Foundation and Driveway for Cracks
All that freezing and expanding water can also do a number on your cement foundation, brickwork, and driveway. Some larger cracks in the driveway or decorative bricked areas might not signal an emergency situation, but cracks in your foundation need to be checked out by an inspector right away. Foundation damage can be serious and could lead to major problems over time if not remedied. For some tips on how to keep your basement dry, read our blog on this topic!
Everybody enjoys the arrival of spring, with warmer weather allowing for outdoor activities. But there is also work to be done. Make sure that your spring cleaning checklist includes these four outdoor spring cleaning and maintenance tasks in addition to all those indoor cleaning and maintenance tasks you have in mind. If the harsh winter weather caused any damage, now is the time to detect and address them, before they have the chance to grow into more serious problems over time.
1st Alert Home Inspections provides inspections for homeowners as well as home buyers and sellers with home inspection and testing services. Contact us to discuss how we can help you better understand your home.