Igor Stravinski’s Rite of Spring almost caused a riot when it was first performed in Paris in 1913. It simply wasn’t what people were used to when they went to the opera. There’s another “rite of spring” that most of us are familiar with when it comes to springtime in our homes—and we pretty much know what to expect! Many of us perform the yearly ritual of Spring Cleaning after a long and cold winter. And while it’s an important thing to do (and by the way, here’s “The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist” to help you out), there are other spring tasks that are equally important to protect our homes after a long winter. Here’s a look at “How to prepare my Poconos home for spring.”
Making Sure Things Are More Than Just Clean
There’s more to maintaining and protecting your home than simply making sure it’s clean. Winter can be hard on homes—especially in the Poconos region. So here are some things you’ll want to look into to make sure your home continues to deliver a comfortable and secure environment.
Look for Leaks
Precipitation is always an issue in the Poconos region. In March the average precipitation is about 4 inches. It dips a bit in April, but then increases in May through July (with July being the heaviest month for precipitation at about 5”)*. So it’s a good idea to make sure that the cold and snow from winter haven’t caused areas where leaks might occur. *https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-precipitation-Rainfall-inches,mount-pocono-pennsylvania-us,United-States-of-America
Inspect the roof. Winter storms can be hard on your roof. It’s not unusual for ice dams to form on Poconos roofs—and when they finally thaw, the water can work its way into your home. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your attic for signs of leaks. If you detect a damp, musty smell, you may have mold growing and you’ll want to take care of it before it grows. If you haven’t had your roof inspected for a few years it may make sense to have a professional roofer check it out to put your mind at rest. It’s a lot more cost effective to pay for an inspection (and even correct a small problem) than it is to replace your roof—or fix interior damage.
Check On Your Driveway and Walkways
The freezing and thawing we go through in late winter and early spring can really be tough on concrete, asphalt. Simply take a walk around your property and check for damage to your sidewalk, garden paths, and your driveways. Most materials will hold up to the ravages of winter pretty well, but it’s always better to catch problems early.
Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause serious problems. Ineffective drainage can cause the wood trim at your eaves to rot. Not only can that let moisture in, but it can also make it easier for squirrels and other animals to get into your attic. Having good drainage also keeps moisture away from your home’s foundation. Take a few minutes to make sure your downspouts are positioned properly so that water flows away from your house.
Check Your AC Before You Need It
Early spring is a good time to make sure that your AC is working properly. Chances are, the unit hasn’t been used in many months. What you don’t want to do is wait for the first heat wave when everybody in the Poconos is turning on their AC for the first time. If it’s running smoothly you’re in great shape. It’s still a good idea to make sure everything is clean (including filters). It there is a problem it will be much easier (and faster) to get it fixed in early spring than in the heat of summer.
Do a Window Walk-Around
It’s a good idea to do a visual check on all of your windows. That’s particularly true if you use your home as a vacation home or a rental during the winter months. Make sure all windows are in good mechanical shape (that they open and close easily). Also, check your screens so that you can let fresh air in when you want. Sometimes wind-blown debris (or even wayward birds!) can damage screens. It’s a quick and easy thing to check.
Spring is a good time to check on things such as your smoke detectors and CO monitors. Many homeowners take advantage of the switch to Daylight Savings Time to replace batteries. Your batteries may still be good, but changing them every six months is cheap insurance. This is also a good time to monitor your fire extinguishers if you have any in the house (and it’s a good idea). Make sure they are still fully charged and ready to go.
Watch Out for Termites
According to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, “Eastern subterranean termites are present throughout Pennsylvania and often damage structural timbers in buildings. When this damage becomes evident, it is usually the result of years of infestation. Thus, damage by termites is not a sudden onslaught that will cause a building to collapse in a few days. Generally, termite problems only occur some years after construction—usually 10 years or more.
“Many houses in Pennsylvania are unlikely to ever have termites because they are either located where the risk from termites is low or they are constructed to resist termite infestations.” That being said, spring is when these winged insects start to swarm. So keep an eye open for swarms of insects flying out of a hole in your woodwork. Once again, catching the problem early makes it easier (and cheaper) to remedy.
To be honest, maintaining your Poconos home isn’t just a springtime activity. Here’s a look at periodic home maintenance you’ll want to perform at various times throughout the year to ensure that you protect your investment in your home.