By Emma Haselton

When the clocks jump an hour ahead, most people start getting excited for days with more sunlight, flowers blossoming and warmer temperatures, but with daylight savings also comes spring cleaning. Spring cleaning usually means dusting, mopping and vacuuming, but aside from the typical cleaning tasks spring is also a great time to perform routine home maintenance.

As each season changes, it is always important to evaluate tasks around the house that need to be attended to, but sometimes it isn’t always easy to decide where to start.

That’s why we’re sharing some insider tips to make spring home maintenance an easy, affordable breeze.

Repair damaged screens: Warmer weather means changing out storm doors and windows with screens. Screens allow fresh spring and summer air inside, but if they are ripped or damaged, they are virtually useless. A ripped screen isn’t able to keep pests like mosquitoes and other insects outside. Screen repair can be easy and quick, with either a simple patch over the hole or even replacing all of the wire mesh.

Clean out vents: Air filters are a vital part of a home’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. All of the air in a home passes through an air filter, which captures harmful bacteria and pollutants. Replace used filters with new and clean ones at the end of winter to ensure the house is filled with fresh air at the start of spring.

Repaint chipping: A fresh coat of exterior paint is aesthetically pleasing but also beneficial to a home’s outside surfaces. Chipped paint is the easiest point of entrance for moisture or dampness to seep into walls. Leaving the wood exposed from chipped paint can ultimately damage insulation and lead to mold and rot, so spring is a great time to fix areas in need or even repaint the house entirely.

Check gutters and shingles: Gutters and shingles protect the home from water and debris. For water to stream through the gutters, they must be clear of leaves, sticks and other items that may get caught during the winter. Loose or leaky gutters can ultimately lead to water draining into the basement, so it is also important to make sure the downspouts are directed away from the home’s foundation. Similarly, the roof should also be examined to see if any shingles were lost or damaged during the winter. Shingles that are cracked, loose or buckled can result in ceiling leaks and extensive interior damage to the home.

Test alarms: Batteries in smoke and C02 detectors need to be tested and changed on a regular basis to protect the home and everyone inside in the event of an emergency. Inspect all alarms in the home to make sure they are functioning properly. To simplify the smoke and C02 detectors in the home, one easy trick is to invest in combination alarms, which serve the purpose of two alarms in one and will sound for both smoke and carbon monoxide threats.

Refresh the lawn: Dead plants and grass take up space needed for new growth and are also fire hazards on very hot summer days. Make sure to spend a day outside pulling up dead plants to make room for new spring growth, and give the lawn a head start by using an easy four-step seed and fertilizer system.

Wash and stain decks: Warped, loose and splintered boards leave the deck vulnerable during the summer months. Take some time to remove any leaves or debris that have gathered between boards or under the deck. Once the wood is cleaned and repaired, add a coat of stain and sealant to extend the life of the deck. This will not only give a nicer look to the wood, but it will also preserve it from damage caused by insects, decay and the hot summer sun. For a lower maintenance solution overall, explore a deck option such as AZEK. With an enhanced real-wood look and strength backed by Alloy Armour Technology, AZEK’s capped polymer decking materials are top of the line in quality and beauty.

By spending a little time on home maintenance in the spring, a home will be safer and far less prone to damage in the summer and all year-round. These easy and economical tips are just a few ways to better the home, and doing these tasks early on will alleviate much bigger headaches down the road.

Emma Haselton is the Marketing Specialist and Graphic Designer for Mid-Cape Home Centers. She can be reached at (508) 760-4459, or ehaselton@midcape.net.

This article was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Health & Wealth.