Although it seems like winter just arrived, warmer days are just a few weeks away for most of the nation. And while spring weather always feels like a breath of fresh air after the doldrums of winter, it’s also an opportunity to prepare your home for a sudden change in temperature, weather, and sun exposure.
To make sure your home is adequately equipped for the coming change in seasons, check out our to-do list of spring weather tips for homeowners.
Clean the exterior of your home.
Winter isn’t just harsh on your energy bills and your vehicle—it can also do a number on your home’s appearance as well. Dead leaves, snow, ice, freezing rain, and cold winds can all leave a mark on your home, and the winter sludge that builds up from November through February can become particularly unsightly once the weather warms.
To get your home looking its best before spring, take the time to clean out any dead leaves, sticks, and other debris from your gutters. Rain showers are a sure bet during April and May, and clogged gutters can cause soil erosion and even damage to your roof due to the accumulation of heavy rainfall.
You should also clean the outsides of your windows, as winter can leave a thick film of dirt, dust, and grime that clouds the glass and reduces the amount of warm sunlight your home receives.
Finally, consider pressure washing the exterior of your home to blast away any unsightly stains caused by exposure to winter weather. Repeated snowfall mixed with dead leaves can also stain sidewalks and driveways, but these stains are often no match for a pressure washer.
Prepare your landscaping for spring planting season.
Even the most well-manicured lawn can take a serious hit during winter, as heavy snowfall, rain, and dead leaves can cause the greenest yards to turn a dull brown.
Once the snow melts and the temperatures start to rise in your neck of the woods, take the time to rake and bag up any dead leaves from your yard to give your grass a chance to breathe and also a chance to spot any problem areas that need to be re-seeded in the coming months.
You can also use late winter/early spring as a time to trim any trees or bushes that are brushing up against your home or posing a threat to your roof. Trimming trees is often easier during the winter months before they bloom, as you’ll have an easier time spotting potentially troublesome branches.
Prepare your air conditioner for warm weather.
Temperatures can rise quickly even during the early months of spring, and it’s not uncommon to run your air conditioner in early March depending on your area’s climate. To get a head start on the warm weather headed your way, make sure you replace all air filters in your home’s HVAC unit.
If you’ve had any issues with your HVAC over the winter or during the previous summer, it’s a good idea to have a repairman visit and inspect your unit for any problems. It’s much easier and cheaper to fix a potential problem before it occurs than it is to fix a completely broken or damaged HVAC unit.
And if you or anyone in your family suffers from seasonal allergies, the weeks before springtime fully arrives is a great time to have your vents cleaned. Allergens, dust, and dirt can build up in your vents, especially during the winter, and the mixture of those contaminants combined with pollen and ragweed can wreak havoc on your immune system.
Test your emergency equipment.
If you’re like most homeowners, you keep a wide variety of safety equipment in the house to make sure your family stays safe year-round. But that equipment doesn’t do any good unless it’s tested on a regular basis. While you’re taking the time to prepare your home for spring weather, it’s also a good time to prepare your home for the possibility of disaster.
Test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home and replace any batteries that are running low. You should also make sure you have adequate fire extinguishers, including at least one on every level in your home as well as one designed specifically for grease fires in your kitchen.
And because springtime brings with it the threat of severe weather, make sure you have a battery or even hand-powered weather radio. In today’s digital age, it’s common to rely solely on cell phones to receive weather-related communication, but a weather radio can outlast cell phones and is invaluable in the event that your home loses power for an extended period of time.
Protect your home from pests.
Most homeowners get a brief respite from insects and other critters during the winter months, but once the weather begins to warm, they come back in full force. To protect your home from bug and insects, take the time to caulk and seal any possible entrances to your home, including windows, doors, and any cracks on or near your roof.
You can also get an exterminator to spray in your attic, basement, and crawl space for common pests like termites, spiders, ants, and beetles. Another way to keep pests under control is to keep kitchen counters and sinks clear of dirty plates or leftover food, as these can quickly attract pests and cause small infestations to grow out of control in no time.
Make your home more energy efficient.
Depending on your area’s climate, your home may cost more money to air condition and run in the spring and summer than it does in the winter. To cut down on your utility bills during the warm months of the year, take the time to do routine maintenance and make a few upgrades to reduce your home’s overall energy consumption.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your utility bill is to replace light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Not only do these bulbs last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs, but they also consume much less energy while producing more natural light.
Investing in energy-efficient window treatments is another way to cut down on your energy costs by keeping excess heat out of your home. Blackout shades are perfect for hot summer days, as they not only help insulate your windows, but they also block out warm sunlight from heating your home and making your air conditioner work even harder to maintain a cool temperature.
Finally, take the time to clean out any excess lint and other debris that builds up in the vent attached to your dryer. Over time, lint can block dryer vents and not only make them less energy efficient, but it can also create a serious fire hazard for homeowners.