The brief, damp chill that passes for winter is over. The sun is bright, the plants are bursting with color and shedding pollen, and it’s time to welcome spring! That means Louisiana homeowners have a lot to do to get their houses in great shape to weather the Louisiana dualities of extreme rain and brilliant sun. Let’s not forget about contending with invasive subterranean Formosan termites, high humidity, and other not-so-fun weather situations the coming months will bring.
How to Prep the Exterior of Your House for Spring and Summer
Check your roof.
Spring in Louisiana is the best time to pull out the ladder and climb up, or have a professional roofer do an inspection. Make sure none of the tiles looked cracked or damaged, none are loose and there are no irregularities or gaps around vents, skylights or chimneys. If you find mildew or algae, you can clean it with a 50/50 mix of water and bleach. If you find or suspect any damage, call a professional as soon as possible, so that your roof will be as sound as possible to weather the worst part of hurricane and tornado season.
Check your gutters.
Debris-blocked gutters and downspouts can lead to major water damage and pest problems for roofs and siding. Additionally, standing or pooled water has the potential to harm your foundation and is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Check the exterior of your home for damage.
Look for signs of termite or rodent activity along the exterior of your home. These may include cracks in walls, paint bubbles, mud tubes (often discovered near your foundation), or gnawed areas. If you find signs of a pest problem, call an exterminator.
Check your trim.
Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around doors and windows, as well as the railings of decks and staircases. If the wood is soft or brittle, repair things now, before spring and summer moisture cause more damage.
Check your chimney.
Visually inspect your chimney, its cap and surrounding flashing for damage. Consider having it professionally cleaned.
Look for cracks in driveways and walkways.
Moisture that freezes and thaws in cracks over the winter can knock our sidewalks and roadways for a loop. Fill any cracks in the concrete surrounding your property with silicone caulk or concrete crack-filler and sealant, to prevent further water damage.
Check your outside faucet for freeze damage, and check under your house for leaks.
Despite our typically mild winters, Louisiana does experience some seasonal temps that can damage pipes. Turn your outside spigot on and stick your finger in it. If the water continues flowing around your finger, your pipes are probably in good shape. But if you can stop the flow with your finger, you may have a broken pipe. Be sure to check for leaks or call a professional plumber or home inspector to locate the problem areas.
Check for air leaks around windows and doors.
Casings and caulk take a beating during any season. If you find any gaps, figure out if anything needs to be replaced. Then bring out the caulk and sealant. Your labor will be rewarded with lower energy bills.
Give your A/C a tune-up.
Have an HVAC professional clean your air-conditioning unit and interior ducts to ensure your system is running at top efficiency. Stay on top of maintenance throughout the year by removing any grass clippings, spider webs, dried leaves and other debris from around your unit.
Remove any dead branches from the trees in your yard, as both a fire precaution and to prevent them from breaking and damaging your home during a spring or summer storm. Using compacted soil in low-lying areas helps prevent erosion during potential floods.
Interior Home Maintenance for Spring and Summer
Inspect your attic, ceiling and basement.
Check for any signs of discoloration, water stains, mold or mildew that may indicate a leak.
Check your home safety equipment.
Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Keep a weather radio handy in case of power outages!
Check your windows.
Make sure they open and close easily and fill any gaps around the frame with caulk. Look for hairline cracks in panes that might be missed during faster inspections.
Drain your water heater to clear out winter sediment.
Safety first! The process you follow will depend on whether or not your hot water heater is powered by electricity or gas, so if you’re feeling like this might be a bigger task than you’re up to, contact a plumbing professional.
Clean your dryer exhaust hose.
You’ll have to clean more than just the lint trap, but the peace of mind is worth it! This is a top cause of house fires, so make sure to clear the lint trap, the vent and the duct itself.
Replace your air filter and wipe down your air vent and return air exchange.
To keep your HVAC system working effectively and your home free of pollutants, you should replace your air filter every three months.
Repair any holes in screen doors and windows.
While you’re inspecting those screens, double-check window frames and tracks for any dents or damage as well.
Spring is a great time to deep-clean all those parts of your home that are often neglected during regular cleaning. This means vacuuming upholstery, mattresses and even the coils behind your fridge. (The latter will lower energy costs and keep your fridge working efficiently.)
Call an exterminator.
During warmer weather, critters and insects are becoming more active. Many of these insects are harmless, but if you see signs of a roach or rodent infestation or hear a clicking noise coming from your walls (which could indicate termites), it’s time to find a professional.
Home Maintenance is Key Prevention
Regular home maintenance may prevent an expensive catastrophe. Avoid unexpected major appliance replacement and keep your home weatherproof and energy efficient. Most of us don’t have the time or money to deal with something as expensive and inconvenient as major weather events or termite infestations, so a little proactive home maintenance can go a long way towards keeping your property in peak condition and your life as stress-free as possible.
Protect your biggest investment! Speak with one of our agents about insuring your property today.