Get Your Home in Shape for Summer
By Mike Croxall
President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga
The fitness levels of many of us tend to wane during the fall and winter seasons, and then a renewed motivation comes each spring as we endeavor to get ourselves “beach ready.” Similarly, a home endures a variety of harsh elements during the winter months, and springtime is a great opportunity to get it back into shape.
The spring maintenance to-do list can be quite long for some in the Chattanooga region, but the good news is that many of the items on the list can be completed—or at least initiated—by the home owners themselves. The following are a handful of critical areas to assess as you prep for the warm weather ahead.
Air Tightness. Take a look at all of your windows and doors for drafts and air leaks. Caulk any seams and re-glaze windows if needed. It’s a good idea to clean all of your windows, inside and out, including the screens. Replacing any worn weather-stripping around doors will help keep cool air in the house and your electric bills down.
Air Quality. Consider hiring a professional to clean your ducts where dust and air-borne particles are likely to build up. Spring is also the ideal time of year to inspect your fireplace and chimney. Look around for visible cracks, nesting animals or other signs of damage. Use this opportunity to have a professional chimney sweep clean your chimney, check it thoroughly and make any necessary repairs.
Energy Efficiency. Spring is a great time to service your air conditioner. Don’t risk having it break down in the middle of a summer heat wave. A small amount of time spent cleaning the unit and nominal investment in professional maintenance now could save you days or weeks of suffering this summer.
Water Damage. Inspect the outside of your house to ensure proper drainage. Some key areas to examine include overhangs, awnings and exposed siding where snow and water tend to collect and cause materials to decay over time. If possible, venture outside during the next rainfall and observe how the rain rolls off your roof and down your gutters. The water should empty a good distance away from your foundation so that it doesn’t seep into your basement.
Keeping gutters and downspouts clear of debris and in good working order will help eliminate water from pooling close to the house, which will not only cause damage but also attract insects like termites. Repairing leaky plumbing in and around crawl spaces, and properly ventilating those areas will help keep them dry and much less hospitable to insects.
General Safety. Check the condition of stair railings, steps and sidewalks around your home. Tighten any loose connections and smooth out cracks or ridges in the walkways. If your steps have settled or shifted, consult a professional to have them repaired.
Focusing on these small jobs now will save you time and money in the very near future. They’ll also give you added peace of mind so that you can enjoy a safer, cooler and healthier summer. For more information about getting your home in shape for summer, visit Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net.