Spring home maintenance tips - CBS News
(MoneyWatch) Spring has finally sprung, and that means it's time for seasonal home maintenance.
Whether it's a fresh coat of paint or a new roof, the experts at Travelers Insurance have tips to help
homeowners get their space ready for the warmer months.
Before you call the handyman, do a thorough check of your home both inside and out. "Every dollar
you spend on little repairs or fortifications can save four dollars in storm damage," says Jim Gustin,
senior property specialist with Travelers' risk control department.
A visual survey of your home is the first step to preventing damage from water, wind, and fire.
Regular maintenance is necessary in every season to make sure your home is a danger-free zone.
Universal design: Good design that makes homes more livable
Prevent water damage from heavy spring rains. "Make sure the main components of your home --
the roof, foundation, windows, and doors -- are directing pooling water away from your home,"
Gustin says. Check gutters to ensure they are hanging properly and are free of debris, which could
force water to collect on the roof. Position downspouts so they drain at least three feet away from
Don't forget to check indoors for signs of existing leaks. Look at the ceilings and rafters for
discoloration or water damage, and examine windows for peeling paint and caulk. If the paint or
caulk is peeling up, fill the cracks and re-paint to ensure water doesn't find its way in.
If you find any issues with your appliances, call in a professional to fix them
Make sure your appliances and pipes are in working order. According to Gustin, homeowners have
more than rain to worry about. "Water damage from inside the home is one of the most frequent
causes" of insurance claims, he says.
Inspect your plumbing to ensure there are no signs of leaks or corrosion. Flexible supply hoses, like
those found on washing machines and dishwashers, should be examined annually for cracks or
Inspect all plumbing for leaks, and check toilet tanks for leaking flappers and fill valves. Gustin
warns that these need to be replaced as soon as there's a problem because they waste water and
"can fail catastrophically causing serious water damage." He also notes that dryer vents can be a
leading cause of fire and reminds homeowners to clean out the exhaust duct. If you've never done
this before, it may require professional help.
Inspect your roof for damage. Get on your roof and look for signs of damage. This includes missing
or lifted shingles, holes, or wear. If you can't do this safely, call in a professional to check it for you
and make any necessary repairs.
Look around your home for potential flying debris. In high winds anything can become airborne, so
do a thorough examination of what's outside your house. Remove dead trees or limbs that are
precariously close to your home. Are there any plants overhanging utility wires? Call the utility
company to trim them. Make sure all deck furniture and grills are secured to keep them from flying
into your home in high winds.