Look and See: Inspect the Areas Around Your Home
As you venture outdoors this spring, you should consider making your first stop your own backyard. Your next stop should be your side yards, then your front yard. In other words, you want to check on the conditions in the exterior areas of your home to evaluate the effects from winter weather.
An Outdoor Checklist Includes:
Gutters – Check and clear out debris (ask for professional help, unless you know how to do this job yourself without injury). Clogged gutters don’t direct water away from the house, as intended, and could lead to basement flooding. Check for loose gutters or leaks. And check to ensure that downspouts are clear and drain away from the foundation.
Roof – Again, thinking of safety first, conduct your examination of your roof from the ground (unless you’re trained in safe roof inspection, that is). Examine your roof shingles to see if any have blown away or been damaged during the cold weather. Replace any shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose. Inspect other roof materials too, including flashings, skylights, vents and trim, and be on the look out for cracks, leaks or other defects that are causing problems or could create problems.
Chimney – Check the exterior for signs of damage.
Foundation – Check for unevenness, shifting, cracks or bulges. Fill any low areas near the foundation with compacted soil. Pooling water can lead to foundation damage, as well as serve as a breeding ground for insects.
Doors and Windows – Check to see if they open and close properly and if they seal well when closed. That helps keep down your heating and cooling costs.
Walkways/Driveway – Check for cracks and signs of movement in asphalt or concrete.
Outside Faucets – Check for damage from the cold.
Air Conditioning Unit – Clear away any debris around your outdoor unit. Also, be sure to have a service professional tune up your system before the cooling season begins. You want to make sure it operates at peak performance, keeping you comfortable and saving on energy bills.