It’s the start of April in Chicago and while it may still feel like December, many Chicago homeowners are beginning to think about spring! Whether you are putting your home up for sale during the spring market or staying where you are, there are essential spring maintenance tips that should be completed and can help you save money in the long run.
Start maintaining your Chicago home by taking a walk around the exterior of your home. There are some essential things to look at, and outside is a good place to start your spring cleaning.
Roof: Take a ladder and binoculars, or just use your eyes from the ground and take a good look. Chicago winters can take their toll on your roof. Look for missing, cracked or loose shingles. If any of these are an issue, hire a handyman or reputable roofer to fix them.
Siding: The siding on your home is both important for function and curb appeal. While it may seem like a big job, repairing the siding can actually be done in a timely manner and save homeowners money. The longer you wait to repair the siding, the more likely that water will get into the wood, causing the wood to rot, which can then cause mold. The curb appeal of your home will decrease as well. The cost of repairing your siding can range anywhere from $300 to $1000. In order to save money and do the repairs yourself, do your best to match new siding to the old. If this is possible, you can save money on painting that particular section to match.
Gutter Cleaning: Gutters add to the beauty and protection of your home. If your gutters get clogged up with pine needles and leaves, they can overflow and cause damage to the wood below and eventually causing leaks. You can save money by keeping your gutters clean so you don’t have foundation and roof repairs later on.
Hiring someone to clean your gutters can be very costly, ranging between $100 and $140 for a two-story house with a fair amount of debris. However, it could cost up to $500 for a multi-story home if your gutters and downspouts are clogged.
In order to save money, consider installing gutter guards, which will help keep them from clogging. Not only will this save you money all year round, it eliminates the need for cleaning and helps prevent damage that clogged gutters can cause. Head down to your local hardware store or Home Depot where you can purchase about three feet of vinyl snap-in gutter guards for as little as $12.00.
Foundation: Carefully inspect for cracks, chips or flaking. Make sure to repair these quickly and effectively before they get worse. There are special products that you can purchase at your local Home Depot such as Sikaflex or Quikrete. If you are not sure whether you need to call a repairman for the foundation or if you can repair it yourself, put a nickel into the cracks and if it fits, call the professionals.
Windows: Inspect all of your windows for cracks and leaks. Remember, you can lose warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer. Use an exterior caulk to refill any open areas that you find. Don’t forget to wash your windows! You can create your own cleaner by mixing, one cup of water, one cup of rubbing alcohol, and one teaspoon of white vinegar and wash with a soft cloth. Your windows will sparkle!
Decks: Before you bring out the grill to barbeque for your first spring gathering, check your deck for loose floor boards, nails that are sticking out, loose railings and deterioration. Also, inspect areas that might have become damp during the winter because they have become decayed or rotted. Replace any areas that have become rotten or decayed.
Before you think about hiring someone to stain your deck, which can cost around $400, power wash the deck yourself the day before it gets stained to help save on the cost of labor. If you are able to stain your deck on your own, this can help you save anywhere between four to five hours of labor costs.
Lawn: Pull your lawnmower out of the garage along with a rake and clippers. Cut back your bushes and trees so there are no loose branches and dead vegetation.
Now it is time to inspect the interior of your Chicago home.
Attic: Use a flashlight or crawl up into your attic and peek inside to make sure that no critters have taken up residence in your attic during the winter. Call an exterminator if you notice any signs of insects or animals. Make sure your attic has proper ventilation and insulation to prevent mold growth. Mold will look like black blotches that can appear as stains.
Basement: An important part of spring maintenance is to check all areas in your basement that you suspect get damp during the winter. If you notice water stains on the walls and/or a musty smell, call a water damage restoration company to help you find the source of the water and to remove any mold that has developed.
Air Conditioning: This is another essential part of your spring maintenance. Make sure to vacuum the outside of the unit and all the connections. When you are changing the filter check the hoses for leaks and check the drain pans. Keep an accurate record when the filters were changed in order to keep it on schedule. Some filters can be changed monthly or every three months. By keeping up with this simple task, your system will continue to run efficiently; helping remove allergens and dust from your home.
Smoke Detectors: This is the single most important maintenance you can do inside your home! Test your system to ensure that it is working properly and replace the batteries. Inspecting your smoke detector should be done on a regular basis along with replacing the batteries several times a year. Put it on your calendar to change the batteries when changing your clocks twice a year to fall back and spring forward.
Cleaning: Make sure to do a thorough cleaning of the interior of your home. Vacuum tops of book shelves, furniture and any other places that might have been neglected during the winter months. Wipe down the refrigerator and kitchen too. Inspect the tiles in your bathroom for any areas that need to be re-grouted as well.
Whether you are staying right where you are or getting your home in Chicago ready for the “For Sale” sign on the lawn, these spring maintenance tips are sure to get your home ready for summer! These are a taste of some essential tips, as you continue to clean you might think of more that are specific for your home. How do you prepare for spring? Leave us a COMMENT with your tips below.
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