Spring has officially sprung! Now is the perfect time to start planning out those home improvement and maintenance projects that you’ve been putting off all year long. Consider these recommendations from BBB to spring your home back into pristine shape and avoid big repair bills later.
Spring Home Maintenance Checklist:
Examine the roof
Your roof is your home’s most important protector against water damage. Now is the time to inspect your roof for missing shingles or signs of water damage carrying over from winter. Shingles that are cracked, loose or missing granules should be replaced.
Clean out gutters
Pull any leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters can cause water damage to your home. Keeping your gutters clean ensures the irrigation plans for your home are releasing water to the appropriate locations.
Replace HVAC filters
Cleaning or replacing your A/C filters can save you money on energy bills and extend the life of your unit by not having to work as hard to cool your home.
Check the washing machine fill hose
Check for cracks and leaks in hoses connected to your washer. Leaky hoses can create water damage to your home’s floors and foundation if not caught in time.
Inspect concrete and pathways
Inspect your driveway and the walkways around your home for cracks and loose particles. Small cracks can often be easily sealed before they become unsafe and require costly repairs. If there are cracks then fill them with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk.
Touch up paint
Do a checkup on painted areas inside and outside of your home for peeling or chipped paint. These touchups keep your home looking fresh and can protect it from further damage. Leaving exposed areas of wood can make it rot.
Clean around and under the refrigerator
Pull out your refrigerator and inspect the coils and clean any dust or debris. Dust on the coils makes the refrigerator work harder, thus causing higher electrical bills. This is also a great opportunity to collect trash and give your appliance a deep clean.
Replace the batteries in smoke detectors
Test smoke detectors and install fresh batteries on a regular basis. Homeowners should also replace detectors every 10 years.
Prepare the lawn mower
Change the oil and sharpen the blades of your mower and other outdoor gas-powered equipment. These quick fixes extend the life of your equipment and improve the quality of lawn work.
Examine seals around doors and windows
Cold weather can creak caulk and other weather seals. Examine and repair as needed. Sealing your home prevents water damage and saves on heating and cooling costs by reducing the energy used by HVAC units.
Drain the water heater
Your water heater tank builds up debris through the flow of water. Drain the spigot at the bottom of your tank to prolong its life and reduce energy usage.
Clean the dryer vent
Lint can escape your dryer vent and get stuck in the dryer trap. Cleaning out clogged vents can save you money by reducing drying times and prevent house fires.
Test sprinklers and outside faucets
Check your sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines and improperly working sprinkler heads. Adjust any heads that are spraying the house or windows, as this can cause a moisture problem in your home.
Home improvement can be an overwhelming process, from starting a new project to choosing a trustworthy contractor. Let BBB help make the process easier with these tips for hiring a contractor.
- Use BBB to find trustworthy businesses. Start your search on bbb.org to find BBB accredited contractors in your area. BBB’s Business Profiles can tell you how long a contractor has been in business, as well as provide contact information, verified customer reviews, complaint details and how the business responded.
- Compare prices. Get at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the same specifications, materials, labor and time needed to complete the project. BBB’s Request-a-Quote service is free to use and will allow BBB Accredited Businesses to send you quotes via email.
- Verify licenses. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation requires a license for HVAC technicians, electricians and other trades. However, other contractors may require registration or licensing to do work in specific counties or cities. Ask to see a copy of the license before work begins.
- Beware of high upfront fees. Contractors may require a down payment before work begins, but it should not be a significant portion of the total cost. Make payments that align with the progress of the work completed. Make sure you are satisfied with the work before making a final payment.
- Verify insurance coverage. Find out if the company is insured against claims covering worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. If possible, verify coverage directly with the business’ insurance company.
- Check references. Ask the company for references and photos of previously completed projects. Call references and ask about their experience working with the company and if they were satisfied with the services provided.
- Get a written agreement. A contract should clearly state the services you will receive, guarantees and refund policies, as well as how and when payment will be handled. Make sure it includes all the materials needed to complete the job, an itemized list of all costs involved, any subcontracted labor and a warranty for all work performed.