How do I pre­pare my home for spring?

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Real Estate - By Paul F. P. Pogue

With the change of sea­sons, it’s time to up­date your home task list and get ready for spring.

Don’t over­look ba­sic main­te­nance dur­ing your prepa­ra­tions.

These tasks may be among the least glam­orous, but they’re cru­cial to keep­ing your home in tip-top shape.

GET AN HVAC IN­SPEC­TION

You should hire a pro­fes­sional to as­sess your HVAC sys­tem twice a year — shortly be­fore you be­gin to use heat­ing in fall, and again when you be­gin to use air con­di­tion­ing in spring.

A thor­ough in­spec­tion will ad­dress the ther­mo­stat, all elec­tri­cal con­nec­tions, lines and hoses, clean the con­denser coil, all seals, re­frig­er­ant lev­els, the com­pres­sor, fan blades and all mov­ing parts.

They’ll also make sure the drain pain and evap­o­ra­tor coil sur­face are clean.

An HVAC in­spec­tion usu­ally takes only an hour or two and costs be­tween $50 and $200.

You may also have one avail­able if you main­tain a yearly ser­vice plan.

Also, as al­ways, check your HVAC fil­ter and re­place if needed.

CLEAN YOUR GUT­TERS

Branches, de­bris and leaves can build up on your roof or in your gut­ters over the course of the win­ter.

A good gut­ter clean­ing gives wa­ter a clear path off your roof, pre­vents roof leaks and helps pre­serve your foun­da­tion and base­ment walls.

Also, ver­ify that your down­spouts di­rect wa­ter at least three feet away from your walls.

On av­er­age, you can ex­pect to pay be­tween $100 and $190 for gut­ter clean­ing.

CHECK THE OUT­DOORS

Clean­ing the lawn, flower and gar­den beds. Clear out all branches and de­bris, in­clud­ing leaves and yard waste in flower beds.

Turn on any closed ex­te­rior wa­ter lines you shut down for the win­ter. Un­pack and reat­tach hoses, and check for leaks.

If you have an ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem, en­sure it’s turned back on ac­cord­ing to lo­cal codes. You may need to con­tact a qual­i­fied pro­fes­sional to check out the sys­tem and per­form a back­flow test.

Get a pro­fes­sional to tune up your lawn­mower and sharpen the blades. Dull blades tear grass, and can dam­age your lawn in the long term.

If you’re plant­ing this year, per­form a soil test to de­ter­mine your pH lev­els and nu­tri­ents.

You can pur­chase a DIY test, but it’s best to have a lo­cal ex­ten­sion of­fice or a pro­fes­sional help you un­der­stand the re­sults and de­velop a plan to ad­dress your soil.

CHECK EX­TE­RIOR IS­SUES

Take a close look at your roof and at­tic.

The ef­fects of snow and ice buildup of­ten don’t usu­ally re­veal them­selves un­til spring. If you no­tice in­te­rior wa­ter dam­age or had sig­nif­i­cant ice damming over the win­ter, con­tact a rep­utable roof­ing com­pany to per­form and in­spec­tion.

You may have dam­age you can’t see. In ad­di­tion, if you had ice dams, you may need to add in­su­la­tion to your at­tic.

In­spect your deck or fence for safety is­sues. In par­tic­u­lar, wood struc­tures can de­te­ri­o­rate over time due to mois­ture or in­sect dam­age.

Loose fas­ten­ers, rail­ings and stairs can present haz­ards.

A pro­fes­sional can con­duct an in­spec­tion and ad­dress is­sues.

Also, check your stain­ing, seal­ing or paint job to see if it needs to be re­done.

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