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10 areas of your home that you need to check on after winter

Whether it has been an easy winter or a hard one, it?s always a good idea to give your home a once=over when temperatures start to warm. Here are 10 things you can do to make sure your home survived the winter weather.

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1. Check the seams

As you walk around your home, take a look at the edges of your home. Check caulking around windows and doors, as well as weather stripping. Replace old or cracking caulk and replace weather stripping.

2. Think about landscaping

While it might not be time for planting yet, it?s never too early to be prepared. Replace cracked or old garden hoses. Rake away tree debris from sidewalks, plant beds and surrounding areas. Pressure wash concrete and paver areas that have become dirty.

3. Check the interior as well

The changing seasons ? fall and spring ? are the two most important times to check the HVAC systems in your house. Make sure air filters have been replaced or cleaned, and stock up on new air filters if you use disposable one. If your air conditioner needs to be serviced, the sooner you book the appointment, the more likely you are to get it done quickly.

4. Inspect the roof and gutters

Inspect the roof for broken or missing shingles, or tiles, and clean out gutters and downspouts at the same time. Make sure gutters are still securely attached to the house and haven?t been damaged by ice dams. Blocked or loose gutters can let water into the house and damage trim.

5. Cleaning

Part of a good inspection is cleaning out the dust and dirt that has accumulated after a long winter. Fireplaces and chimneys should be regularly cleaned to avoid creosote buildup, which can lead to chimney fires. Clean off the dust that has built up on ceiling fans, and see how much more you can see out of your windows after a good cleaning.

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6. Testing the emergency systems

A spring house checkup is the perfect time to test the home alarm, fire alarm, fire extinguisher, and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are working properly. Most home owners forget to test these regularly; fall and spring maintenance time is a perfect opportunity to ensure they?re in good working order.

7. Look for leaks

Leaks can sneak into your home, starting from a bit of moisture that freezes and widens a hole. As ice melts, you should start looking for wet spots. Common culprits for hard-to-find leaks are attics, crawl spaces and washing machine hoses. Inspect these areas, look under sinks for damage from frozen pipes and check your water heater for signs of corrosion.

8. Make sure your home hasn?t moved

Repeated freezing and thawing can shift the ground your home is built on. One way to prevent issues is making sure the grading of your yard slopes away from your home?s foundation. That will prevent excess water from pooling around your foundation, freezing and moving it.

9. Check the driveway

Small cracks that develop naturally in asphalt are the perfect place for water to collect. When that water freezes, it expands, causing what?s known as a frost heave. Frost heaves are responsible for large cracks, as well as potholes in your driveway, making pulling into your garage an adventure. Sealing an existing driveway with tar can help prevent potholes and major cracks by filling up the smaller cracks before they have a chance to expand.

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10. Tidy up the yard

Trees can leave branches on the ground all winter long ? out of sight until the snow melts. Getting your trees regularly trimmed can help prevent this type of damage, as well as keep your trees healthy and looking great. Always hire a company that is registered with the Tree Care Industry Association.

Joshua Trudell About the author:
Joshua Trudell is a freelance writer, photographer and graphic designer living in New Hampshire. Follow Joshua on Twitter and Facebook and check out his website.
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