Spring Time Readiness

Getting Your Chicagoland Home Ready for Spring

After a long, brutal winter, spring’s arrival is always a welcome relief for Chicagoland residents. The cold, snow, and ice will soon give way to warmer temperatures, green grass, blooming flowers, and ample opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors once again. However, before you can fully embrace the new season, it’s important to get your home ready with some key spring cleaning and maintenance tasks. From the yard to the basement to the roof, there are a number of areas that could use some extra attention. Here’s a comprehensive guide to prepping your Chicagoland house for spring:

Exterior and Yard Work

Inspect the Roof, Gutters, and Downspouts
The winter elements can take a toll on your roof, gutters, and downspouts. Once the weather allows, use a ladder to visually inspect the roof for any cracked, curled, or missing shingles that may need replacement. Check that the flashing around chimneys, skylights, and vents is intact and properly sealed. Then turn your attention to the gutters, scooping out any leaves, sticks, and other debris that may have accumulated over the winter. Make sure downspouts are draining properly by running a hose at the top to flush them out. Consider installing gutter guards to cut down on future debris buildup.

Landscaping and Lawn Care
It’s time to start thinking about your yard! Once the ground has thawed, give your lawn a thorough raking to remove any leftover leaves, branches, and other detritus. This allows the soil to absorb more warmth and oxygen to promote healthy grass growth. If you didn’t apply a winter fertilizer in the fall, look into having your lawn professionally fertilized in early spring. Around mid-April, you can begin planting annuals like pansies that can tolerate cooler temperatures. Prune any dead branches from trees and shrubs.

Once dandelions and other weeds start popping up, apply a weed treatment solution. Towards the end of spring, you can reseed any bare or thin patches in the lawn. Make sure to keep new grass seed well-watered until it germinates and becomes established.

Wash Windows and Exterior Surfaces
After being exposed to months of harsh winter weather, the outside of your home could probably use a good cleaning. Use a hose, scrub brushes, and exterior-safe cleaning solutions to wash down windows, siding, decks, patios, outdoor furniture, and other surfaces. For a deeper clean, you may want to rent or invest in a power washer. Just be sure to closely follow all safety instructions and precautions when operating this type of high-powered equipment.

Check Sprinkler and Irrigation Systems
If your yard has an in-ground sprinkler or irrigation system, inspect each component to ensure everything is ready for the spring season. Flush out the mainlines, check for any clogged or broken heads, make certain the system’s timers and controllers are working properly, and ensure none of the piping was damaged over the winter. Once you’ve given everything a thorough inspection, feel free to set your system to begin regular waterings.

Interior Tasks

Let the Fresh Air In
There’s nothing quite as refreshing as being able to open up the windows again after months of having the house sealed shut. On a mild spring day, go around and crack open as many windows as possible to let in some fresh air and get rid of any stuffiness that built up during the winter. Take this opportunity to also clean out window tracks, wipe down sills, and launder curtains and window coverings.

Deep Clean and Deodorize
Spring is the perfect time for an intensive deep cleaning to rid your home of any buildup of grime, odors, dust, and general ickiness that gathered over the winter. Move all furniture and appliances so you can thoroughly vacuum floors, corners, and baseboards that may have been neglected during routine cleanings. Use a steam cleaner on carpets, drapes, and upholstery. Scrub down showers, tubs, sinks, countertops, and tile surfaces. Deodorize trash cans, disinfect toilets, and even clean out your oven.

While you’re at it, purge your closets and living spaces by donating or getting rid of any clothes, toys, furniture, or household goods that you no longer need or use. This will reduce clutter and give you a nice fresh start. Replace HVAC air filters and consider having air ducts professionally cleaned if it’s been awhile.

Check Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
With all your cleaning and organizing, make sure to also inspect and replace any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors with old or expired batteries. These life-saving devices should have their batteries swapped out twice per year. Use this bi-annual schedule as a helpful reminder and stay on top of it every spring and fall.

Basements and Foundations

Take a Thorough Look for Moisture Issues
The spring thaw combined with heavy rains can lead to moisture problems in basements and foundations that were exacerbated during the winter months. Do a comprehensive inspection looking for any signs of water damage, staining, cracks, leaks, mold, or mildew. Check window wells and ensure they’re draining properly. Consider running a dehumidifier, using fans, or installing a sump pump if you have recurring moisture issues. While you’re down there, purge the basement of any clutter, rearranging and cleaning things up for better air flow and visibility.

Check Sump Pumps and Backup Batteries
For homes with sump pumps, spring is a crucial time to ensure these systems are operating accurately. Remove the pump and clean the pit or basin, clearing out any debris. Reconnect everything, pour a few gallons of water into the pit, and make sure the pump’s float valve and switch is kicking on like it should. Also inspect the discharge pipe to certify it can expel water as intended. If your sump pump has a backup battery, replace it annually for proper flood protection even during power outages.

Inspect Foundation and Waterproof
While you’ve got the basement uncovered, perform a close inspection of the exposed areas of your home’s foundation. Look for any cracks, chips, or other potential entry points for moisture, insects, or rodents. If you find problem areas, consult with a professional to have them properly sealed and waterproofed. Applying a waterproof coating to your foundation walls can protect against leaks and water damage while also making it more energy efficient.

Mechanical Systems

Schedule HVAC Tune-Up and Maintenance
Throughout the winter, your furnace and heating system put in a ton of work keeping your home warm and comfortable. As you switch over to regularly using your air conditioning during the spring and summer months, it’s strongly recommended to schedule a tune-up service with a certified HVAC professional. They’ll thoroughly inspect, clean, and repair all components, replace air filters, ensure proper airflow, check refrigerant levels, and make any necessary adjustments. This simple preventative maintenance helps your system run at peak efficiency while also extending its lifespan.

Flush Hot Water Heater
Over time, sediment and mineral buildup can accumulate in your home’s hot water heater tank, causing it to operate less efficiently and run the risk of springing a leak. Every spring, hook up a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and allow it to fully flush out. This will remove any collected residue, keeping your water heater running smoothly. Older tanks may need to be flushed more frequently.

Clean Out Dryer Vents
Lint accumulation in dryer vents is one of the leading causes of house fires. Dedicate an annual spring cleaning to clearing out your dryer’s exhaust vent and ductwork of any lint, dirt, or other obstructions. First, disconnect the vent from the back of the dryer and use a vacuum hose to suction out as much lint as possible from both ends. Then use a vent brush kit made of plastic rods and synthetic bristles to thoroughly brush out the entire length of pipe. This will eliminate any remaining clogs and improve the dryer’s efficiency and airflow.

With these comprehensive spring cleaning and maintenance tasks tackled, your Chicagoland home will be thoroughly refreshed, reorganized, and ready to take on the warmer months ahead. Welcome spring with a clean, safe, and well-prepared living space that the whole family can fully enjoy.

Do you need a home inspection in the greater Chicagoland area? You book an inspection online with Castle Home Inspection 24/7 at www.castleinspectors.com

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