Courtesy Chicago TribuneThe Associated Press
Winter can be hard on a home. As the weather warms, it makes sense to give your home a good checkup. Spotting minor problems and fixing them can save homeowners headaches and money later on major repairs.
Here are ideas from HouseMaster Home Inspection Services and AllState for keeping the outside of your home in shape.
Gutters should be inspected for debris and proper mounting. The expansion and weight of ice and snow from winter storms can sometimes loosen gutters, changing pitch and water flow. Make sure downspouts are extended far enough to carry water away from the foundation.
Look over the yard.
Check the grading to ensure it drains away from a home's foundation. Wet and snowy winter weather can cause soil to settle in plant and flowerbed areas adjacent to a home's foundation wall. This can cause water to build up next to the foundation. If needed, re-fill or re-grade depressed areas.
Basement window wells should be cleaned. Covers can prevent rainwater buildup and leaks.
Repair driveway and walkways that are cracked, broken or uneven to provide a level walking surface.
Remove all dead trees and keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires.
Check the heads and operation of automatic sprinklers.
Test sump pumps to make sure they are working. Be sure the motor, float switch and check valve are working and water is draining from the chamber. A back-up pump is worth considering in areas with groundwater problems.
Check roofs, siding and windows.
Look at roof valleys, chimneys, skylights and vent flashings. Temperature changes from summer to winter can cause expansion and contraction, which may lead to cracking in some roof cement and window caulking materials, creating potentially damaging water leaks. Include exterior caulk maintenance with spring cleaning. Check for rot in window sills and door thresholds; repair and repaint, if necessary. Inspect and clean siding.
Condition air conditioners.
Check the drainage pan and lines. The drainage pan and drain line should be free of dust and debris. An obstructed pan and line can lead to an overflow and water damage.
Have the air conditioning system inspected by a professional as recommended by the manufacturer.
Safely store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, secured area. And check outdoor light bulbs in all fixtures to be sure that they are the correct wattage as recommended by the manufacturer.
Some work, particularly on roofs, may require professionals. When looking for professional help, check references with a Better Business Bureau, homebuilders association or contractors association.