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Springtime House Maintenance

Even better news is that many of the projects can be done inexpensively during evenings or weekends.

One bit of good news as we weather the current economic change is that homeowners can still do many things to maintain or increase the equity that they have in their own home. Even better news is that many of the projects can be done inexpensively during evenings or weekends.

Developing the habit of making seasonal inspections provides the opportunity to monitor the condition of your own home and stay current with maintenance, small repairs and minor improvements. This habit allows you the luxury of extended time to plan for larger projects, like reroofing, by avoiding emergencies that can result from neglect.

Important outside projects for your spring maintenance list are:

Inspect roofs for winter wear or damage. Remove branches and litter from the roof.

Clean and inspect chimney flues and check flashings and chimney exterior.

Clean gutters and make sure that downspouts direct water well away from the foundation.

Low spots where water may pool against the foundation should be filled so they drain away.

Walls, including the foundation, should be checked for winter wear or damage.

Garage doors, including openers, should be inspected for loosened parts and lubricated.

Decks, patios, sidewalks and driveways should be checked for winter wear or damage.

Trees should be inspected for dead or broken limbs.

Energy and resource costs can be reduced by these simple spring cleaning and inspection tasks:

Clear leaves and other debris away from the outside air conditioning unit.

Plumbing valves, including exterior faucets should be checked for leaks.

Windows and doors can be cleaned and adjusted for proper fit and operation.

Safety and health is important year round, so spring maintenance chores should also include these simple, but very important items:

Smoke alarms should be tested after replacing the batteries.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be tested after replacing the batteries.

Fire extinguisher placement and pressure indicator should be checked.

Furnace, air cleaner and exhaust fan filters should be cleaned or replaced.

Each seasonal change brings a new list of opportunities to maintain the home as an investment. In addition to the obvious financial payback, keeping up with the simple tasks that accompany home ownership provides additional benefits to the homeowner. By spreading the chores out over the year and keeping the home in good condition, homeowners can also maintain a safe, healthy, durable, comfortable and affordable home for their family.

– Richard Stone is a housing technology educator

with University of Minnesota Extension.

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