Now that winter is over it is time to inspect the damage those cold harsh temperatures may have caused. Suit up and go in attics and crawl spaces to check for any evidence of water. Walk around the exterior of your home and outbuildings looking at hose bibs, exterior pipes, gutters, downspouts, flashing around doors and windows, etc. You’re looking for leaks, cracks, or anything broken. Keep your eyes peeled for standing water, signs of moisture, basically any indication of damage. Remember that if it looks unusual or out of place, it most likely is. Follow your instincts and call a professional for a second opinion if you’re unsure. Better to be safe than standing in a preventable mess.
It is also time to de-winterize. You can take the cover off your AC systems, take the foam covers off your hose bibs, and remove whatever you used to insulate your above ground pipes for winter. And of course spring is the PERFECT time to reinstall drip lines, sprinklers and irrigation lines to prepare for all that lushness coming your way.
2. Pressure Wash
Another spring item is to pressure wash off the winter sludge. The exterior of a home takes quite a beating during the winter months and spring is when we can give our homes a refresh. A good power washing on a home’s exterior will clean it up real nice and expose any damage that might have occurred during hibernation. It is also a great way to get patios, walkways, driveways, and furniture ready to enjoy! Not to mention boost curb appeal.
If you do uncover any damage make sure to have it looked at and evaluated if needed. Otherwise add it to the ‘honey do’ list.
3. Treat Moss
Moss is not uncommon in the Pacific Northwest. It may be a beautiful landscape element but it is not ideal when it comes to roofs, home exteriors, driveways and walkways. It is slippery and dangerous and retains moisture, which is never a good thing to linger around a roof.
A simple rinse of a hose can get off most moss, pressure washing the roof should really be left to the professionals.. But for the stubborn stuff, we have found that OxiClean or Moss specific solutions and a shop broom can manage most jobs. We like to mix the solution and water in either the inexpensive handheld or backpack style pump sprayer from your local hardware store. This method does require a bit more safety awareness though because you are using both a sprayer and a broom. Once you’ve finished with the sprayer and the broom, go over the surface again with the pressure washer to rinse off any remaining debris.
If your roof has a pitch too steep to do this safely or the mossy surface is too high or out of reach, we recommend letting a professional attack it. Don’t try to be a hero over a little moss. It’s not worth it.
4. Lawn Care
It won’t be long before we are living outdoors again. The days are getting longer, new growth is everywhere and color is starting to come back into our worlds. Time to dig out those lawn tools, get them serviced, prepped and ready to roll.
Before trees and foliage really come alive they can be pruned and cut away from the house, walkways and driveways. The garden can be cleared, tilled and prepped with new soil for the growing season ahead. And the lawn can be seeded and fertilized. It is actually recommended that grass be seeded, fertilized and aerated in early spring and again in fall.
Another easy way to refresh your yard is to spread fresh mulch or bark dust around flower beds and new gravel on driveways, walkways and decorative borders. It’s a day’s worth of work but the impact is huge.
5. Service Septic
Most septic systems don’t require cleaning and maintenance but every few years. But can you really remember the last time you had it done? Sometimes we forget. So better to just get after it.
If we don’t service our systems then at least they should be scoped every year or so. A sewer scope on a septic system works the same way as a sewer scope on a city line, it is just that the end destination is different. Both are designed to explore what can’t otherwise be seen; blockages, cracks, pinches in the pipe, critters, vegetation, etc. Scoping your sewer lines is important and necessary for healthy plumbing but not all septic services provide this. If they don’t, PacWest does and is happy to jump in and help.
We’ve written more on this topic in our blog Sewer Scopes and Septic Systems.
6. Repairing Screens
As the weather starts to warm up we are more inclined to open our doors and windows and let our houses breathe. However, we are not the only things to come out of a winter slumber. The bugs are back too. If you have any tears or rips or holes in your screens there is a very probable chance those bugs will make their way into your house. Better to repair those screens now than spend our time perfecting our Karate Kid fly catching skills. Don’t you think?
At your local hardware store you will find screen repair kits. They come with a roll of screen and a few tools to help get the job done. If they don’t come with the tools then there will be instructions of what to buy on the back label. Or some hardware stores even provide screen repair services. Where you drop off the damaged screen and pick it up repaired, good as new. It is a pretty painless process to do yourself and once you get the first screen done the others go a lot faster. There are also repair patches available, if you’re not looking to replace the whole screen. These are basically like a mesh tape that can be applied to any minor tears in the screen. It’s not pretty, it looks like a patch, but it keeps the bugs out for the time being.
We encourage this chore to be done in spring because the urge to open windows and the fight to keep bugs in their natural habitats becomes stronger as summer approaches.
Speaking of bugs, we should probably address those too. Eggs are starting to hatch so it’s best to get to them while the weather is still cool. Knock down nests and spray eves, around your homes exterior and any entry points, around doors and windows. There are specific home barrier solutions on the market now that cover a variety of species.
Same goes for the yard and garden. Spray for fleas, ticks and other insects that can attack your pets or your plants. It might even be time to place traps around the yard for yellow jackets and ants.
If you know you have a bug problem though, and these prep tips are only going to catch the first wave, it might be time to call in the pros.
8. Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is just a procrastinator’s way of saying “do all the cleaning you loath”. The reality is that it is just a deep clean to get the things that regularly get missed. You live in your house. You know what those things are. For most people its cobwebs, inside appliances, baseboards, window tracks, light fixtures, vents and fans. It is even a good time to shampoo the carpet and rugs, maybe wash the curtains and polish some furniture. Definitely shake out those couch cushions. You should also probably replace that pink shower curtain liner and bath mat and throw out those stinky towels and flat pillows. Replacing them with new fresh ones. The whole family will appreciate that I’m sure. Some of these to-dos literally only take a few minutes but when they’re done it is so rewarding.
Declutter. This is a big spring cleaning task but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and it doesn’t have to happen all in the same day. Spend 15-30min in each area of your home. Set a timer so you don’t spend your time tripping down memory lane. Then, take everything out. We mean EVERYTHING! Make a huge mess. Sort through things quickly and put into piles of keep, trash, donate. Anything that gets kept gets put back.
Once the whole house is done you will physically feel lighter, we promise. You’ll get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, not look up and follow the maze of cobwebs from one light fixture to another. Bonus, you won’t have to do most of this stuff again until next spring! Unless you want to of course or the kids need to regain some sort of privilege.
9. Replacement Reminder
Daylight savings is a good reminder to check on some of your homes systems. There are 2 big ones that require regular checking and replacement, HVAC air filters and smoke alarm batteries. Like clockwork, springing forward or falling back creates the perfect opportunity to check and replace these safety items.
Pretty soon this cadence will become second nature and you’ll never have to wonder when the last time those filters were changed or chase smoke alarm beeps in the middle of the night. Plus the added bonus of knowing you’ve done your due diligence to make your family as safe as possible.
10. The Grill
Good weather equals grub from the grill. Right?! Dust off that beautiful primitive cooking machine. Give it a good cleaning, inside and out. Fill the propane or pellets or charcoal and fire her up! Invite over some company, set the out door table, and enjoy all that this new season holds. You’ve earned it!
Of course we advise you to use grill safety. Keep it 10 feet away from any structure to protect the siding, eaves, and any other overhangs. Also keep the outdoor cooker away from any hanging baskets, branches, mulch, deck railings and dry foliage or plants. Anything that has potential to catch a flame. But maybe, most importantly, we take our steaks medium rare.