Spring into the new season by doing some routine maintenance, safety checks and energy improvements. You can save money on energy bills, protect your home from potential damage and prevent big repairs later on.

Here are 8 things you can tackle this spring to help your home recover from the harsh winter and prepare for the warmer months ahead!

 1. Get Your Mind IN the Gutter: April showers bring May flowers. Now that most roofs are cleared of ice and snow, it’s a good time to check the gutters to make sure they’re draining correctly. Check to see if any visible debris is sticking out of your gutters (small plants, leaves, sticks) and clear



that debris. Tap on the vertical downspouts around your house; if your gutters are metal, you want it to sound hollow and empty. If it doesn’t sound hollow, you likely have a clog and need to clear it. Also, check the fittings where the downspouts and ground drains connect. Fix any connections

that have come apart and clear away any obstructing debris around the ground drain to ensure proper drainage.

2. Home is Where the Hearth Is: Now is a good time to make sure your fireplace is in good shape for next season. Do a visual check outside and look for a few key things that can pose a danger: missing or damaged chimney cap, bird nests or debris by the chimney cap, nearby tree limbs, crumbling or missing mortar and bricks and roof flashing. Take a look from inside your home using a flashlight: check the opening/closing of the flue damper, see if there are debris or objects obstructing the flue or if there are cracked or missing mortar or bricks. If you spot issues with any of these areas, be sure to call a licensed chimney professional.

3. Light Up Your Life: Check your electrical appliances and electrical cords under rugs or carpets and look for any frayed wires or damaged cords. Take a look at your outdoor, garage and basement outlets and extension cords and make sure none of them are frayed, damaged or overloaded. If you do have a damaged outlet or frayed wires, contact a licensed electrician to make the repairs. Also, one of the most important tasks you can do this spring is to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them to make sure they’re working properly.

4. Windows to the Soul: Your windows and doors might have some air leaks that you can easily seal and save energy when the hot weather arrives. Can you see rays of sunlight coming in around the door or around the window frame? Try to rattle your doors and windows; if there is movement, you likely have air leaks. Weatherstripping and caulk are simple do-it-yourself solutions to these air leaks. If your windows on your old home have never been replaced, considering replacing them with newer, high-performance windows. Plus, certain energy-efficient home improvements may reduce your taxes. New, energy-efficient windows = win-win for your wallet!

5. Don’t Get Hosed: Every spring, you should check your irrigation system to make sure it wasn’t damaged by the winter temps. According the EPA, an irrigation system that has a leak about the thickness of a dime can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month! That’s not good for your finances or for the environment. Also, inspect your outdoor spigot and look for any visible signs of damage around the spigot or cracks in the pipe leading to the spigot. Attach your hose and if it leaks at the connection, replace the washer or use pipe tape around the threads to prevent leaks.

6. Everything Under the Kitchen Sink: In this case, open up your sink cabinet doors. The sink is frequently used in the home, but the base of the sink is infrequently inspected. Check for any leaks or moisture – even a small leak should be fixed right away. Sometimes tightening the pipe connection or replacing the caulk seal (if moisture is coming from the top of your sink) fixes the problem. If your pipes look rusty or the connections look cracked, they will need to be replaced. Also check for spilled bottles of kitchen or bathroom cleaners; some chemicals can be dangerous when mixed together and the spill can damage your cabinet.

7. Check for Bald Spots: An annual roof inspection is a preventative maintenance job that shouldn’t be skipped. Don’t like heights? No worries…you can still do a good inspection using binoculars. Check your flashing for rust or cracked caulk. Are there any shingles that are missing, curled or buckling? Inspect the rubber around vent pipes for cracks. Do you see any moss? Look for any grit in your gutters that might have come from your asphalt roof tiles. Now that you’ve identified potential issues, you can make a plan to make those repairs before the spring showers begin. Missing or damaged shingles should be replaced with new ones, loose flashing should be resealed, rusting flash or vent boots should be replaced, moss killer for roofs should be applied. If you have grit and pieces of your shingles in your gutter, your roof might be at the end of its life and due for a full replacement. Remember, safety first! Call a roofing professional for extensive repairs that you can’t easily and safely make.

8. Just a Trim, Please: Now that the weather is warmer, it’s a good time to trim overgrown branches, dead or broken limbs that could cause damage to your home or power lines if they come crashing down. If it’s a large limb, or if the limb is not within easy reaching distance, be sure to call an

expert! For many places across the country, when rainfall and melting snow occur at the same time, your landscaping can suffer flood damage. If you have trees that are diseased and your lawn is flooded, this can be a dangerous combination. Root rot, for example, causes a loss of structural

integrity. Add a swampy lawn to that equation and it could equal disaster. Look for signs and symptoms of disease: an unhealthy appearance and foliage loss or discoloration (withered or yellow). Some diseases can be treated, but others like root rot, cannot be fixed and those trees need to be cut

down. Your local tree experts can help you determine the best course of action.

Take advantage of the warmer temperatures and get a head start on spring maintenance. Annual physicals are just as important for your home as they are for you and your family