With spring comes warmer weather as windows are cracked open for the first time in months. Ice melts, trees bloom and everything feels new again, prompting many of us to give the interior of our homes the same treatment as the outdoors are receiving from Mother Nature.
While spring cleaning involves the usual organization of closets and planting of perennials, turning your attention to other areas of your home can prevent serious damage (and headaches) throughout the rest of the year. The team at Sheltr -- our partners and the leaders in protective and preventive home maintenance -- recommend using the start of spring to perform minor maintenance in and around the home. The minor fixes can help prevent bigger problems during the harsher weather of fall and winter. Here, the Sheltr experts share how to get the best results from proactive spring cleaning.
Did you know? Sheltr’s Home Pros have conducted more than 25,000 preventative actions and recommended over 3,000 critical actions, helping America’s homeowners save thousands of dollars on potential repair costs down the line.
Springtime Home Checkup
Rain, snow and heavy winds may have left your home in need of some repairs following the winter months. Inspecting and repairing minor damages to your home as winter fades can prevent larger issues that ultimately cost you much more time and money down the road (think thousands of dollars and weeks of work). Your Sheltr checklist starts here:
Replace window caulking and door weatherstripping – With an average replacement cost* of around $80-125, benefits include higher energy efficiency for your home, prevention of moisture seeping through and wreaking moldy havoc on your interiors, and fresh, clean lines framing your doors and windows. *Potential cost savings will vary.
Did you know? Caulking and weatherstripping should be checked and/or replaced up to twice a year depending on the severity of weather in your area.
Clean your gutters – It is recommended one or two times a year for homeowners to get their gutters checked at a cost* of around $285. Ignoring your gutters, on the other hand, can lead to damage of foundation, wood and landscaping, which comes with a much bigger price tag to repair. *Potential cost savings will vary.
Repaint cracked or peeling areas – Making sure your home looks fresh and clean is just one benefit, while patching paint (with an average cost* of $135) can also help prevent cracks where moisture can seep through to the siding or sub-materials resulting in possible mold or weakening of the structure over time. *Potential cost savings will vary.
Seal driveway cracks – This should be done every few years, especially after a tough winter with lots of snow and rain. A pro team can seal driveway cracks in a few hours for an average cost* of $514. Considering the average cost of repaving a driveway if cracks are left to progress can range between 4 and 5K dollars or more, sealant can be well worth the investment.
Trim overhanging tree branches – Spring is a time of new growth for your landscape which means it’s time to cut back old brush and branches that can become potentially hazardous when hanging over or leaning against your home.. Professional services cost an average of $650 (vs. up to $8,400 for roof repairs).
Service AC/HVAC units – Maintaining optimal operation of these units goes beyond keeping you comfortable during inclimate weather. The average $235 service cost also helps prolong their lifespans and can save you the roughly $4,820-9,350 in replacement costs. Bonus: Replacing the HVAC filter (recommended to all homeowners) runs just $70-100.
Did you know? Total potential savings from this checklist = more than $20,000, plus repairs from further damage or any deductibles associated with insurance claims.
There are time- and seasonally-sensitive maintenances you need to care for prior to harsher seasons. However, ongoing maintenance can save you a tremendous amount of money when faced with replacement versus routine repair. Again, relatively small investments of time and money can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Purchase a fire extinguisher – Known to be sufficient to handle 80% of all fire incidents, whereas without an extinguisher, a small spark can quickly escalate to a danger of damage and injury. The cost is about $50 and they last between five and 15 years, while the average claim amount from fire in 2018 was more than $68,000. *Potential cost savings varies depending on your home insurance deductible.
Did you know? Sheltr research shows that only 31% of homeowners own a working fire extinguisher.
Clean or replace dryer vents – Ensure proper air flow and prevent overheating (uncleaned dryer vents lead to 34% of home clothes dryer fires each year). The average cost of this service is $130, as opposed to upwards of $1,700 for a new dryer. *Potential cost savings up to $1,669.
Replace damaged washing machine hoses that can lead to major flooding if not functioning properly. At around $50* to replace, the average claim amount for flooding is more than $42,000. *Potential cost savings varies depending on deductible.
Service your water heater – It costs an average $285 for professional service, which prolongs the life of the unit, versus an average cost of $1,118 to replace a water heater. *Potential cost savings up to $833.
Did you know? The most overlooked home checklist item is flushing your tank water heater. Similar to changing the oil in your car, flushing your water heater clears out sediment and minerals that can impede its performance and efficiency while also increasing its lifespan.
Check the health of your bathtub and shower grout – Cracked and peeling grout leads to leaks, which leads to mold (see next checklist item) and flooding. The average cost to re-grout a bathtub or full shower falls anywhere between $416, vs. an average cost of $2,873 for repairs to flood damage. *Potential cost savings up to $2,457.
Routinely check common areas for mold, including under sinks, baseboards, ceiling tiles, bathroom tiles and seals. The Environmental Protection Agency has some tips for cleaning mold away from surfaces. If you’re not sure whether mold has been eliminated completely – it may be worth a professional mold inspection as CDC reports potential health symptoms associated with mold exposures can include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints. A professional inspections can run an average of $300-500. Mold remediation for severe cases costs an average of $2,228. *Potential average cost savings up to $1,928.
Pro Tip: Repairs and remediation from mold damage may be covered by your homeowners policy only if the mold resulted from a covered peril – hurricane, malfunctioning covered appliances etc. Insurance will likely not cover mold repairs if mold resulted from a preventable leak or other negligence.
Total potential savings from this checklist = nearly $7,000, plus any deductibles associated with insurance claims.
As seasons change, the needs of your home also shift. Paying attention to and anticipating these shifts will almost certainly pay dividends. Don’t procrastinate! Minor issues have a way of becoming major issues which will cost quite a bit more money if left ignored. If you’re unsure where to start your home’s spring cleaning, contact the experts at Sheltr to make a plan.