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For months, snow piled up on your roof and wind pelted twigs and leaves into your gutters and rain hardened into black icy puddles in the driveway. But now purple hyacinths are shooting up in the front lawn, and you can leave the office when it’s not midnight-black outside.
Spring is here, which means spring cleaning and checking up on the damage that fall and winter might have done to your house and yard. Here are some DIY tips and advice for proper spring home maintenance.
First, fling open those windows and air your house out. Next, go down a basic spring cleaning checklist:
- Beat your doormat silly on the back deck.
- Wring a sponge in dishwashing detergent and give the baseboards a vigorous bath.
- Get comfortable with a step ladder or an extendable Swiffer that lets you dust hard-to-reach places such as skylights, tall ceiling corners, fans and air vents.
Other pro tips include running the drapes in the dryer with a wet towel, hanging your sheets and quilts on a clothesline, and scrubbing down the refrigerator with a solution made from salt and soda water.
Outside Home Maintenance
Once the grit and gunk are up from the inside of your house, turn your attention to the outside. Remove your window screens and place them on a tarp in the driveway. With a garden hose and a soft brush, clean the frame and black grid without damaging the material. Clear out your garage and spray down the floor with a pressure-washer, then turn your aim to the driveway. Replace your air conditioner filter, or steep it in a combination of water and vinegar for one to four hours.
Ice, hail and fallen tree branches might have damaged your roof over the winter. It’s best to use a ladder and sweep away branches or pine needles to check if any shingles were broken and look for streaks of mold and mildew. Nail back down any shingles that were torn or bent or blown off. Power-washing your roof will likely damage it, so, instead, mix together a water-bleach solution kill any moss or algae that you find.
Cold weather can also damage the bones of your house, including your plumbing. At worst, your pipes might freeze and burst, but even a mild winter could cause them to leak, or tamper with the main line leading into your home.
Evaluate the projects you can tackle and the more complex tasks best left up the pros. For instance, if you style yourself a DIY master, you could stop a running toilet, switch out a leaky shut-off valve, or unclog a pipe with a set screw or a Snake. And whenever you’re crawling behind the water heater or craning under the sink, keep a reliable flashlight in your toolbox so you can see what you’re doing.
But if that faucet keeps dripping, consult a professional. More formidable plumbing problems include having low water pressure, a toilet that won’t drain, a backup in your tub or shower, or not having any hot water. These jobs involve an understanding of the structural integrity of your house, and a small leak, if mismanaged, can quickly escalate into a water damage problem with a bill that can soar upwards of thousands of dollars. And whenever you smell gas, no matter how much it costs, call a specialist immediately.
Spring is blooming season filled with blustery afternoons, the clear songs of birds and a blaze of plum trees. But to truly enjoy it, make sure that your house is in proper repair after the long doldrums of winter.