On our latest podcast episode Kirk Thomas, Schloegel’s Production Manager of Handyman and Paint joins us to discuss 10 things we can do as homeowners to get ready for summer. Kirk is an expert in just about everything related to your home including carpentry, plumbing, flooring, siding, and electrical. So if you have a question or issue, Kirk is your go-to.
1. Clean Gutters
We run into a lot of wood rot issues, and the majority of them are due to gutters, not being cleaned out the snow and ice just backed up into the gutters. That water tends to go over the gutters on the backside and rots out the facia and soffit. It can rot out the rafter tails. And usually, by the time you see the rot, it’s already too far gone to save it. A lot of it can be eliminated by simply cleaning out the gutters. That’s what they’re designed for is to get the water away. And if they’re clogged that water’s going to go somewhere.
Our team does clean the roof gutters out but we also clean the downspouts where it’s completely sealed. You can’t see inside there so you have no idea if the downspout is clogged. Our team will clean out the underground drain lines that are attached to your downspouts.
We also have bladders that we put down in the underground drains to clean them out. When those underground drains get clogged they can cause water to back up into your gutters and house.
2. Check Your Roof
Roofs are a large investment and painting can elongate their life. In the winter the snow and ice dams and can lift shingles up allowing water underneath them. In Kansas City, we have a lot of wind that can also blow them loose. Our cold winters cause the shingles to get brittle, so Spring is a good time to check them. The warmer weather makes them a bit more flexible.
While we are up on roofs we also check your vent lines. These can get clogged by tree debris or in some odd instances animals such as the time Kirk had a situation where a squirrel put a walnut down the vent line.
3. Take Care of your HVAC
Your heater and air conditioner are big investments and similar to a car. When you need them, you need them. With all the pollen in the air, this time of year checking and changing your filter is even more important. It eliminates a lot of pollens and other allergens. Replacing your filter all ensures your system is working properly and not overworking. This prompted me to personally go change my filter and wow gross! All that dirt was entering our home.
Also, spring is a great time to have your air conditioner serviced. They can tune it up to make sure it’s working at it’s peak. This helps avoid AC issues when the heat is excruciating. There is nothing worse than a 100-degree day and your air conditioner goes out and you have to call for an emergency fix and you’re at the bottom of the work order list.
Finally, Kirk suggests cleaning your outdoor air compressor with your blower. He does his every time he mo
4. Proper Insulation
An attic inspection will identify any areas that may have been missed when your insulation was laid or where the insulation has settled unevenly. These gaps can lead to uneven temperatures in your home or even prevent your home from cooling during the hot weather. This job may best be done by a professional unless you know what to look for.
5. Clean Your Chimney
Now might be the best time for inspections and cleaning after the winter season, when the weather starts getting warmer. In this case, you won’t be using your chimney for a long period of time, and there’s little to no chance of more soot build-up This is another job that’s best handled by a professional because not only is it messy but important it’s cleaned correctly.
6. Seal leaks around doors and windows
You typically don’t notice it if you have a window leak until it’s too late. It’s a great idea to do an inspection of your windows to make sure they’re flashed properly and to look for any signs of leaks. This is especially true in stucco homes as they tend to expand and contract with the KC climate changes which can cause cracks in between the stucco and trim. with houses with stucco because of the different temperatures that we have here, the expansion and contraction, you can get cracks in there in between trim and stucco. Don’t forget the second floor, you can’t see those problems from the ground.
It’s a good idea to caulk any questionable areas with a good quality calk and tighten any loose hinges. New weatherstripping may be in order as well.
7. Check your patio, deck, driveway, walkways, etc.
Just like everything else general wear and tear and the KC elements tend to cause breaks and damage to your outdoor areas. When concrete is laid down flat, it’s not a matter of if but rather a matter of when it will crack. It’s going to crack. If that crack gets too large and water gets into it and freezes, then it does what they call heaving. Once that happens there is no saving it. This is preventable by checking your cement and filling the cracks. Cement laid today has grooves which are called control joints and they are put into control where cracks happen. They do a good job but aren’t foolproof.
A deck or wood-frame structure also needs to be checked because that wood can rot. Sometimes you’re not even aware it’s rotted as you’d have to go underneath the structure to see its frame. When that structure rots it can be quite dangerous.
8. Repair Siding & Touch Up Paint
Wood rot is a common problem and can cause long-term problems. It’s a good idea to check out the siding on your home and if you see any wood rot replace that siding as soon as possible. A hairline crack in stucco can also lead to substantial damage behind that wall and rot out the studs. This could be prevented by patching any cracks you find.
Paint is an excellent shield against water which is why it’s important to check your paint job. It’s not just cosmetic although that helps too. We also recommend having your paint matched that’s up on your home vs. touching up with the original can. Paint fades and unless you’re ok with a mismatched home it’s an important step.
If you notice your paint is really faded, peeling, or cracking it may be time for a new paint job. We generally recommend repainting your home every 5 years.
9. Wash Windows & Screens
One great reason to clean your windows is we want to see what’s outside but there are also other reasons. Cleaning your windows, screens, and doors rids them of pollens and allergens. If you don’t clean them all of that ends up coming into your home and flowing through your HVAC. So get your bucket and window cleaner out and enjoy that fresh KC air!
10. Check Your Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Homes nowadays have hard-wired smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, but there’s also a battery in there. So if that battery goes bad, you’re you could get woken up. But two o’clock in the morning with the lovely smoke alarm chirp that everybody loves. Then you’re trying to figure out which one it is. Finally, they all get ripped down out of this ceiling. That late-night endeavor could have been prevented by checking them and regularly changing their batteries. Furthermore keeping those batteries fresh gives you peace of mind that your family is safe. We suggest swapping batteries whenever you spring your clock forward or it falls back. The same hold trues for testing your carbon monoxide detector and changing your batteries twice a year.