Maintenance Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring
Maintaining a healthy home goes beyond dusting and vacuuming. When is the last time you checked your smoke alarms? How about the last time you cleaned out your dryer vent?
It’s finally the season when everything springs into action again — including you. Now’s the time to roll up your sleeves and take care of the things you’ve neglected during the winter months. You’ll want to make sure your home is ready for April showers and the impending summer weather. I personally can’t wait for my garden to start growing, grass to start greening up, and enjoy the sounds of the canal from my backyard.
Turning on your Sprinklers
I just received the following information from my Everist Irrigation friends and thought it meaningful to share. April is Irrigation Fools Month. It’s the time of year when the snow starts melting, we get a couple of nice weather days, and we start to think about turning on our irrigation systems.
But before you do, be warned! You’re just being tricked into wasting your water because it might snow in a few weeks! I’m not the first person who has fallen for this April foolery… we have all done it and gotten that itch!
We want to go into our landscape and make it beautiful. Rake the beds, clean the gutters, edge the lawn, lay bark, but don’t water yet!
Jerry Everist personally doesn’t start watering until mid-May. He waits for it to wilt (not permanent wilting) up until the time that he gives it its first drink. By doing this, he is training the plant to search out water and grow a root structure that is more sustainable. The result will be much healthier and better-growing plants with stronger roots – one who’s not so dependent on their human caretaker.
1. Cool-season grass seedlings can’t survive without a warm temperature range. Cool-season grasses prefer the soil temperatures to be between 50°F and 65°F for optimal germination rates, but are not able to live in colder environments where they will have difficulty growing at all with their roots being frozen.
2. Microbiology in the soil is not active until soil temperatures are higher than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but when it does start to kick into effect, there’s no stopping its ability to create life.
Clean Gutters and Inspect your Roof
Even if your roof didn’t take a beating from snowy conditions, spring is still a great time to have it inspected. In our dry weather roof ridge caps can split and wind storms can dislodge or blow off shingles.
If you live in a shaded area under pine trees and notice moss on your roof you should definitely clean it or hire someone to clean it. Moss can cause asphalt shingles to lift and curl. Don’t pressure wash or scrub as you might damage the shingles.
There are many local companies that offer gutter cleaning services, but if you have a single-level home and are up for it you can take on the chore yourself. Remove as much as you can with your hands (don’t forget to wear gloves). Remove any leftover gunk with a garden hose. Take off any nozzles and have a helper turn on the water when you’re ready. Shove the hose into the downspout to power out anything in the goose-neck bends. Make sure your downspouts channel water at least five feet from foundation walls. Reattach the gutters if they are sagging or consider replacing them if they are beyond repair. Notice any holes? Prevent leaks by caulking them.
Run Outside Faucets
The winter weather temperatures may have caused some models of hose bibbs to crack. If the problem isn’t caught early enough, all that water leaking from your outdoor faucet can result in water damage and allow for mold to potentially grow inside your home – not to mention all the wasted water and energy.
Follow steps to see if your hose bibb was damaged this past winter. Place your thumb or hand over the spigot then turn the water on. If you can hold the water in, with your hand or thumb, that means there is a crack somewhere in the piping and water is leaking out. However, if you feel a lot of pressure and you can’t hold back the water, you should be fine.
Have your Air Conditioning Unit Serviced
Remove debris from around the unit, replace filters, and clean ducts and vents. If your filters are clogged, air can’t easily pass through and your unit must work harder to cool your home. Clogged filters can lead to lower air quality in your home. Don’t skip this step; you may be able to lower your energy consumption by up to 15%. Maintenance companies are seeing unusually dirty air filters this year due to the fires last year. Even if you recently replaced your filters it may be time for new ones.
You can also schedule a professional tune-up. An expert AC technician can check your system’s efficiency, check coolant levels and address any issues before the summer heat arrives.
Clean Vent Wells
A house with a crawl space has vents along the foundation walls. The vents provide air circulation that helps prevent excess moisture and mold growth, and they prevent critters from taking up residence underneath your home. During the winter in Central Oregon we install foam block to keep freezing air out during the winter. At this time of year it is important to remove the foam blocks and make sure screens are free of leaves and other debris from fall and winter and open up the vents. Repair any damaged screens — critters can get through even the smallest holes.
It is also a great time of year to grab a rake and make sure landscaping slopes away from and gutters drain away from vent wells. When sprinklers get turned make sure they don’t spray into the vent wells or onto your house and/or fence. Keeping water out of your crawl space is important. During the warm months with cross ventilation this is an important time to dry out your crawl space for next winter. I try to also check my crawl space once a year to make sure it stays dry and clean.
Spruce Up Your Lawn and Landscaping
Trim any overgrowth and clear your landscaping. Spring is also the best time to tidy up flowerbeds and give them a good facelift. You can also use dead organic matter from the compost pile as fertilizer. Add a layer of gravel on top of the soil to suppress weeds. Make sure to use compacted soil in low areas of your yard as rain can cause foundation damage and flooding (as discussed above).
Tend to your lawn now to ensure lush green grass during summer. Start by raking the lawn deeply to get rid of thatch and dead grass. This will also allow fertilizer and seed to penetrate easily. After cultivating, ensure that the lawn is firmed and ready for sowing. Try a shade-tolerance seed mix if your yard has a lot of tree cover or use a hard-wearing mix if your lawn gets a lot of traffic in the summer. Bald patches should be over-seeded. Apply nitrogen fertilizer to give your grass a boost.
If you plan on growing vegetables, prepare the beds by getting rid of weeds and forking in garden compost. Cover the beds with plastic sheets to keep the soil warm until you are ready to sow the plants.
Contents for this blog derived from the following websites: