(BPT) - Maintenance is an important part of home ownership, but many people delay tasks, thinking a few weeks or even months won't do any harm. However, putting off home maintenance is risky because small issues that are simple to fix now can quickly lead to complex problems that are expensive to fix later.
Spring is the ideal time to give your home a once-over both inside and out to flag any issues and create a maintenance to-do list. According to the experts at State Farm, here are some top spring maintenance tasks to help protect your home:
Roof and gutters
Your roof provides fundamental protection of your home from the elements in all seasons. Inspect your roof at least once annually for damage, discoloration, loss of granules and missing, worn or curling shingles. If you have the skills, you can do this yourself, or, call a qualified contractor who can come and do an inspection.
Some additional things to keep in mind, especially during rainy spring months: Gutters and downspouts should be safely attached, clear of leaves and other debris, and have no leaks. Position downspouts to direct water away from the home so it doesn't impact the foundation. Also, check that flashing is secure — the thin, metal material that's around windows, vents and chimneys to direct water away.
HVAC stands for your home's heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. These systems work together to keep your home comfortable throughout the seasons. Regular maintenance helps keep them working well today and extends their life in the future while also saving on energy costs.
Start by setting a reminder every few months to replace filters. Dirty filters can block airflow and make the HVAC system work harder, decreasing efficiency and increasing energy costs. Then, schedule a spring maintenance check with a local HVAC professional. Pros will often check the thermostat, clean or replace filters, lubricate moving parts, check refrigerant levels, inspect the condenser and coils, and investigate unusual noises.
Garages can quickly become cluttered and certain items pose risks, such as fuel that can start a fire or items that can be attractive to pests. Embrace spring by planning a day to clean out the garage so it is organized and safe.
If you store any fuel in the garage, use dedicated, leak-proof containers out of the reach of children and pets, and away from potential sources of fire ignition such as water heaters or power tools. Be smart about paint and home-improvement chemicals, too. A shed away from your home may be a better storage spot for combustible items.
Many people also store furniture, clothing and food in their garage, but these are all tempting to insects and rodents. Clothing and furniture can also soak up dust and fumes that destroy their integrity, even if pests don't. As for food, it's just too risky to store any in the garage. Even nonperishables like canned goods can spoil due to temperature fluctuations in garage spaces, so opt to store extra food elsewhere.
Get in the habit of checking your smoke alarms on a regular basis, such as at the start of every season. Do this by hitting the test button on each device. If you don't already have them, make sure a smoke detector is located in every bedroom and living space. This small investment and maintenance step can help save lives.
Additionally, don't wait until the alarms chirp at you to tell you batteries are low. Once a year, replace all the batteries in all the alarms to give you peace of mind that these critical devices are set up to work well in an emergency.
If you need assistance with any of these spring home maintenance tasks, consider hiring a qualified, insured contractor in your area. Reach out to your local State Farm agent for a list of trustworthy professionals who can help.