Spring Maintenance Tips


By: Dominic Blago, Home Inspector

Blago Home Inspection

The best part of spring is the thawing of the snow, and the inevitable arrival of the summer. The worst part of the spring is the snow melting away to reveal all the work the winter has left us. As a home inspector, I see many costly repairs that could have been reduced by early detection and routine maintenance. As you begin your spring clean up here are a few tips:


Check fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

The most important item to consider is the health and safety of you and your family. Seasonal changes are a good time to change the batteries and test both your fire and carbon monoxide detectors. The National Fire Protection Association recommends you replace your fire alarms every ten years. If you are not sure how old the alarms are then replace them. It is worth the investment.


Your furnace kept you warm all winter, show it some love 

Through all those frigid winter nights your furnace has worked hard to keep you warm. Now is the perfect time to show that furnace you appreciate all the hard work by changing the filters. Many dust particles and allergens are circulated during the winter. A clean filter will help filter the air in your home and help your furnace work properly. You may want to contact a service professional for a check up, and to get the air conditioning unit ready for the summer.


April showers bring May flowers, so have a peek in the attic 

Most people hate rainy days, and in the spring there are a lot them. It is a good time to open the hatch to the attic, grab a flash light and look to see if there are any leaks. Don't enter the attic, because of the risk of compacting the insulation and going through the ceiling. Pay special attention to the roof vents and plumbing stacks. If you see any water penetration, it may not mean you need a new roof, you may just require a repair.


Foundation from the inside 

If you have a unfinished basement, you will want to check to see if any of the foundation cracks are allowing water penetration. Remember to check the cold cellar, if you have one, as water may enter where the porch meets the foundation. If your basement is finished, and it seems excessively damp and it smells musky, you may want to contact a home inspector or foundation repair professional to determine the cause.


Unlike Gene Kelly you may not want to sing in the rain, but you should check out the gutters and down spouts. 

During the winter, a clogged gutter may have pulled away from the house allowing water to fall between the gutter and fascia. This water can land near the foundation causing water to enter the home. During a rain fall, grab an umbrella and make sure the gutters are performing there job. You will want to make sure the rain water is discharging away from the house, so it doesn't pool near the foundation.


Go for a nice spring walk around the foundation and yard 

Have a nice spring walk around the foundation of your home. You will want to look to for any depressions next to the foundation. These holes can hold water and harm your foundation. Fill any depressions you may find with compacted soil and plant grass. Ground cover such as grass helps dissipate water and helps against soil deterioration. Avoid planting any gardens next to the foundation. Also have a look for any water pooling in the backyard. It may overflow and enter the foundation.


From the outside looking in...checking windows 

During the winter you may have noticed that there was a cold draft coming from a particular window or condensation. Have a look at the caulking around the outside of the windows. It should be soft and flexible. If the caulking is hard, cracking or brittle it will be time to re-caulk the windows. This is something that a skilled home owner can do, or professionals can be hired. Properly caulked windows are more efficient and also help protect interior finishes.


The great glacier has now receded, and the patio has shifted

If you have patio stones in the backyard or pathways ice may have shifted the stones or made them uneven. Have a walk along the pathways and backyard patio. Shifted patio stones can be cosmetically unappealing and a trip hazard. Patio stones and pavers can levelled out with relative ease to make them ready for those nice backyard barbecues.


Just like your hands and lips, the winter can make things on your home crack and peel. 

Paint may have started to peel on fences, decks and trim around the outside of the house. Paint helps prevent rot, and should be maintained. Look for rotted boards, supports, post and columns on decks and fences. Maintaining paint will help extend the lifespan of wood products around your home saving you time and money.


Spring time is warm enough for water game 

It may not be warm enough to go swimming, but many people want to wash the car or do some outside cleaning. Turn on the water, make sure there are no leaks on the inside and outside. Make sure you are getting good water pressure. The garden house should not be brittle and hard. 

The spring is a good time to check and do some basic maintenance on your home. Inside and out. The old cliché is true, a ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Basic home maintenance will could save you thousands of dollars, and most maintenance can be completed with a novice level of knowledge. If you are feeling uncomfortable with how to maintain your home schedule an appointment with Blago Home Inspection, and a certified home inspector will be happy to go through a basic spring maintenance inspection.