The Harsh Realities of Winter on Your Home

After going through a very long, snow-filled winter, Spring has sprung and the bright warming sun and warm spring breezes are like a breath of fresh air. However, now that all the snow has melted all that warming sunshine highlights the ravages of our winter season. Gutters are filled with leaves and debris and last summer’s forgotten plants line your flowerbeds. A certified home inspector, with the American Society of Home Inspectors, put together this checklist to help you target the areas that need repair, so you can get your yard work done quickly and enjoy your time outdoors with family and friends under the Sun:

  • Check around the house for leaky gutters. When water is left to pool around the foundation, you can expect to see leaking in the basement or crawlspace. Make sure you have extended downspouts and that they drain away from the foundation. Keep your downspouts clear from any garbage or toys.
  • Go over your yard and identify low areas. These areas, along with the space beside your foundation, should be filled with compacted soil to level them out and create a slope away from the house or foundation. In the Spring we generally experience a lot of rainfall which can cause yard flooding and that can lead to major foundation damage and basement flooding. These low-laying areas, if not filled, are havens for mosquitoes in the summer months.
  • Go around your home and use a screwdriver to push into the wood trim (if you have any) around the windows, doors, railings and deck. Finding “soft” spots are the result of rot and should be repaired now before the Spring rains and hot summer sum do more damage to the wood that has been left exposed.
  • Stand back from your home and examine your roof shingles and make sure none were damages or are missing from the winter months. If your home has an older roof, it could be time to start budgeting for a new one. The hot summer sun can really damage worn shingles. Shingles that show signs of cracking, having buckled, or are loose and missing or missing the protective granules will need to be replaced. Flashing around the roof vents, chimneys and skylites (if you have them) need to be checked regularly by a qualified roofer.
  • You will need to go over the exterior of the chimney checking for any signs of damage. The chimney should be cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweeper.
  • Inspect your concrete for any signs of cracks or movement over the winter months. All exterior concrete should drain away from the house and foundation with the exception on a pool deck. If any cracks are noted fill them with a concrete crack filler of a silicone caulking. Finish with a power-wash and then roll on a good concrete sealant.
  • Don’t store any firewood close to your home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground and at lease two feet from your house.
  • As you are circling your home be sure to check your outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Here’s a little tip on how to check it: turn the water on and put your thumb or finger over the opening, if you can stop the water, it is more than likely that the pipe inside is damaged and will need to be repaired/replaced and since you are right there, check your garden hose for any leaks or rot.
  • If you have a central air condition unit, now is the time for a qualified heating and air conditioning tradesman to clean and service the system. Your central air conditioning will work at peak performance levels with clean coils and a regular system maintenance schedule will ensure your system will perform, at its best, year after year.
  • Go over all your lawn care equipment to make sure it’s ready for summer use. Cleaning the equipment and sharpening the blades will make your yardwork much easier.

 Now you can get out and enjoy those wonderful summer months with your family!