March Maintenance Tips

With stronger sunlight, longer days, and maybe even a few flowers springing from the renewed earth, March always brings the promise of change. Of course, the return of warmer weather may also serve as a reminder to fix up your house after a long winter season. Now that spring is in the air, there are a number of maintenance tasks that you can tackle in preparation for an active growing season.

1. Fix your gutters. Even if it hasn’t been a particularly cold or snowy winter, temporary ice buildups could have knocked your gutters off-balance. This can create two serious hazards. First, listing gutters can send rainwater straight into open windows or cause it to pool next to your house and eat away at the structure’s foundation. Alternatively, weakened gutters can fall without warning and create a hazard for people on the ground. Prevent these eventualities by straightening, reinforcing or replacing damaged gutters.

2. Inspect your roof for leaks and damage. Like gutters, tiled and shingled roofs can be susceptible to harsh winter weather. If a visual inspection of your roof reveals some loose components that could become airborne in a windstorm, you’ll need to patch them before the severe weather season hits. Also, be sure to check your attic and upper-floor walls for signs that your roof is leaking through to the inside.

3. Take a look at your interior ceilings as well. If a roof leak has damaged your attic insulation or drywall, use readily-available supplies from a home improvement store to patch or replace the affected material. A re-insulated attic can significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs.

4. Clean out your central HVAC ducts, vents and exterior units. You can manually remove leaf litter, twigs and other debris that may be stuck in your exterior unit, but you might need to call a professional if it’s seriously clogged. Inside, take the time to remove all of your vents’ covers and dust them. Then, use a damp paper towel to remove dust bunnies, pet dander and other foreign material from inside the ducts. They don’t have to be like new: Simply removing these easy-to-reach clogs will improve your home’s airflow and interior air quality.

5. Patch your pipes. Even a single winter freeze can damage older insulated pipes. If you were out of the house when the freeze occurred or habitually keep your heat turned down, your pipes could have sustained significant damage over the winter. Check every visible length of pipe in your basement for cracks, leaks or bulges. You may be able to patch small leaks on your own.

6. Manage outdoor dangers. During the spring and summer months, the threat of sudden wind gusts and severe storms can turn seemingly innocuous objects into dangerous hazards. If you stored your grill in your garage over the winter, move it to a safe location outside of your home’s shadow before firing it up. Likewise, inspect your yard for any trees with loose branches that could become projectiles in a strong storm. Remove them before the first thunderstorm of the year.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to face whatever challenges the warm season brings! Be sure to check back often for more home maintenance tips.