I originally wrote this article for Snehta’s blog on March 14, 2014. Snehta has since rebranded itself into DataClover and removed the post. However, I wanted to include it as a sample of my writing.
Atlanta–This winter especially, it seems like the cold weather will not easily loosen its grip on us. But warmer weather is coming, if this week was any indication. No doubt your home–particularly those in the unprepared South–took some heavy hits with the amount of snowfall and ice it was forced to endure. We’ve compiled a brief spring maintenance checklist here to help you get started in the coming weeks.
- Check your AC unit. Make sure the filters are clean enough and working properly, and clean the drains; otherwise, you’ll come to regret it when summer weather hits.
- Clean your gutters and downspouts. You never know what may have gotten trapped in there or how compacted the debris has gotten. Install gutter guards if you haven’t already to avoid such trouble in the future.
- Check out your roof. You can probably spot any problems from the ground with a set of binoculars, but if you must climb up there, do so carefully. Check your chimney while you’re at it. Make sure there are no leaks or loosened joints.
- Inspect exterior wall work, bricks, and stucco. Ensure that you don’t have water stains anywhere, since that could mean your gutters are failing to work properly. For bricks, make sure they’re not chipping or deteriorating as that can invite larger problems later on.
- Pressure wash your home. This is an easy way to make your home look new again if your exterior appears faded or dirty. Wash your windows while you’re at it (not with a pressure washer, but by hand. The former probably would not end well).
- Maintain your concrete. Spring is an excellent time to seal any cracks or holes that have come along, as opposed to waiting until fall, when those cracks or holes could become big problems by then.
- Visit your basement and attic. Use sump pumps or apply a sealant to the walls to keep your basement dry. Check for ventilation problems and birds’ nests in your attic. Make sure there are no wet spots anywhere, since that could indicate a leak problem with your roof.
- Reseal your deck. Not only does resealing makes your wood look prettier, but also it strengthens the wood to withstand the weight that’s put on it by grills, family members, and picnic tables.
- Start prepping your landscapes. No doubt they need a little pick-me-up after this winter. Maybe you’ve realized with the heavy ice and frost this year that there are certain trees in your yard that need trimming as well.
- Set your thermostat. No doubt your thermostat has been on autopilot, running winter appropriate temperatures in your home. Go ahead and adjust your AC schedule for warmer temperatures, and even consider setting higher indoor temperatures to save money, if you can stand it.
- Clean your dryer lint from your vent. We know everyone forgets. That’s why we’re reminding you now. Even if you clean the lint trap every time, enough lint can build in the vent to make it a potential hazard to your home.
- Change the batteries for your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s probably been a while since you thought of doing this, but it’s important since functioning detectors increase your chance of survival exponentially, as opposed to going without.
- Clean the windows and mirrors. We know half of this point is with the exterior inspection, but that’s because we don’t want you to think that you can get away without doing both sides of the glass. There’s little point if you don’t, anyway.
- Check your food dates. You may have accumulated a lot of food–especially packaged food–that has expired without your knowledge. Go through your freezer, refrigerator, and cabinets and throw away all the sad mistakes you find. The same should also be done with medicine.
- Flip over the mattresses. This will increase their longevity, even out the weight, and help you sleep better at night.
- Go through your closets. Get rid of–preferably by generous donation–any items that are too little or that you don’t wear anymore. You’ll be thankful you made room after summer clothes shopping.
- Wash the shower curtains. These can accumulate filth and mold like you wouldn’t believe and can be easily neglected. If you have a plastic shower curtain, it’s probably time to replace it with a new one. Also steam clean the bathroom rugs and any other rugs you have to remove bacteria and make them look more vibrant.
- Polish or dust your surfaces. Your wood and metal hardware could use a good shine, and no doubt dust has easily piled on the ceiling fans, electronics, picture frames, and end tables when you weren’t looking. It’s annoying like that.
For more tips we recommend you going online or asking a local professional for advice! If, however, you can’t afford the time to do this yourself, we recommend that you hire a local contractor to come out and lend you a hand. Most general contractors offer home inspections at a low price–and some even do it for free.