Spring is just around the corner which means that its time to pay attention to your home (inside and out) and evaluate how it fared through the winter months. Its also a good time to think about hiring contractors since most tend to get busy as the warm weather approaches.

Below are just a few items to include on your “Home Maintenance To Do List” this season:

1. Check your foundation and exterior masonry: Small cracks in the homes foundation and masonry walls are normal and can be filled with patching compound purchased from a home center. If you detect bulging, buckling or cracks that exceed 1/8 inches in width, or whose edges dont line up, consult an engineer or licensed builder/general contractor to determine the cause of the problem.

2. Inspect windows and doors: Inspect and replace missing or loose caulking around window and door frames. Repair holes in screens and cracked windows, replace broken or missing window or door hardware, and tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

3. Program Your Thermostat: By programming the thermostat to bring the HVAC system on and off based on your occupancy schedule, and/or to turn the heat down at night when youre snug in bed then turn it up just before you arise, you can save anywhere between 3% to 5% on your heating and cooling bills.

4. Close/open air vents: Since heat rises, it makes sense to give warm air maximum access to your lower level rooms in the winter and cool air maximum access to the upper rooms in the summer. You can accomplish this by closing the HVAC vents in upper rooms and opening them in lower rooms in the winter and doing the opposite in the summer.

5. Check your deck!: Powerwash your deck in the Spring to rid it of mold and moss that build up over the winter, then have it sealed to protect the wood. Check for loose boards or raised nails. Also check the footers and areas where the deck fastens to the house for any structural damage or weakness.

6. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: When you change your clocks, change the batteries in these devices. If you live in one of the two states that dont change their clocks (AZ and HI), mark your calendar to change the batteries every 6 months.

7. Inspect, clean and repair gutters and downspouts: Clear debris from gutters and downspouts. If you have gutter screens, make sure nothing is sitting on top of them or otherwise preventing water flow through them. Reattach any gutters or downspouts that have pulled away from their moorings.

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