Spring Thaw Tips
Thank goodness spring is almost here! That’s probably great news for your morale after a long, gloomy winter, but the seasonal transition can create some costly problems for your home . But don’t worry! We’ve got some simple tips to help you ensure that the place you live is ready for the warmer months ahead. You’ll save time, money and stress and that means you’ll be able to enjoy every moment of the sunny spring. Our list below goes from top to bottom, so take an hour or two this spring and use this as your spring thaw checklist:
- Roof & Gutters.
Outside, find your ladder and do a visual inspection of your roof and to see if there are any leaks. This is also a great opportunity to clear out any leaves or debris that may have worked their way into your gutters since you cleaned them out last fall. On a rainy day, you’ll also want to do a quick walk-around to see if your gutters and downspouts are functioning properly. If there are any leaks, or if you see the water pooling on the ground, make sure to patch the gutter or extend the downspout so the water gets away from your home’s foundation. This will help you avoid shifts in your foundation wall as water freezes and refreezes this year.
Inside, you’ll want to dig out your basic personal protective equipment like safety glasses, gloves and a breathing mask. Then make a trip into the attic to safely explore your roof from the inside. Check your joists and any insulation for evidence of water damage. Sniff for any moldy smells, and consider having a mold inspection and mold testing service if you have any concerns at all about a possible infestation. Black mold and other nasty spores in your attic can affect the air quality and energy efficiency of your entire home. If you have exhaust fans, check them for functionality so that when things start getting hot, they’ll be regulating the attic temperature.
- Outdoor Walk-Around.
Check any pond pumps, spigots, pipes and other devices or fixtures that use water. If there are any leaks, repair or replace these items to avoid water damage issues inside your home. You’ll also want to check any sewer drains to ensure they aren’t clogged with debris. If your home uses a well and septic service, schedule your annual maintenance check and consider investing in a water quality test if it’s been a while. You don’t want toxic bacteria in your drinking water!
- Main Floor. Check under your cabinets for any sink or pipe leaks, and also take a look at the seals around your toilet and shower fixtures. If you can identify any leaks early on, you’ll save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars from a water removal and water damage restoration service! Also conduct a visual inspection and a smell test of all your rooms, including the closets or storage areas that may not have been opened in a while. You’re looking for any discoloration in the surfaces or funky smells that might be an indication of water damage and mold problems. Again, err on the side of caution when it comes to mold removal and mold remediation because you don’t want to let these kinds of problems get any worse. Finally on the ground level, open up the windows and let some fresh air in to help ventilate your home! Indoor air pollution is worse than outdoor, especially in winter. Enjoy that lovely spring breeze, and take a deep breath before you finish your list!
- Basement & Crawl Space.
Now that you had a moment to enjoy spring, it’s time to go down into the lower level where you might not want to investigate. But it’s downstairs that some of the most costly water damage problems can show up during the spring thaw. Look at your foundation walls and floors and check for any cracks. Over the winter and now in the spring, as water has been freezing and thawing outside, it can start to push apart your foundation and create gaps where water and even toxic radon gas can creep and seep their way into your home. If you don’t already have a dehumidifier downstairs, then now’s the time to get one because just like your attic, the humidity and air quality downstairs will ultimately have an impact on the quality of the air on your ground floor. Check your HVAC unit, water heater and sump pump and make sure they’re working properly. Maybe it’s time for that routine maintenance service call you’ve been meaning to schedule. You’ll especially want to install a backup power source for the sump pump in case the electricity goes out. The last thing you want is to open your basement door after a flooding event and see your possessions floating across the room! Last but not least, squeeze yourself inside your crawl space too and inspect for any leaks.
More info? For more spring maintenance ideas, check out our other post: SPRING HOME CHECKLIST