tony bock/torstar news service file photo

 

New flowers, such as orchids, can spruce up a home.

 




New blooms, sweet green leaves, and birds singing — a period of renewal.


That’s what we think of when we think of spring. Your home should also go through a renewal.


First, take a walk around your home and property and take notes about areas that need normal upkeep and the problem spots that need a professional’s touch.


Second, look at your trees’ branches. Locate branches that dangle and check for damaged bark. Wait until the snow and ice are off the branches until you take care of problems — this is better for the tree and safer for you. For badly broken and easily reached branches, saw a clean cut near the main branch that is not too close to the trunk. Cut away and smooth down broken bark to ensure that insects and disease don’t have an entryway. Seal off cuts with paint or varnish.


Spring’s new growth needs your help. When the frost has finally gone, cut back your perennials, clean up branches, and put blown leaves into your compost. Research your gardening catalogues for what’s new in flowers, shrubs and fruit trees.


A next step would be to check your fences for signs of rust, warping, debris, painting and varnishing work that needs doing.


Check handrails to make sure they haven’t pulled away from walls or become loosened from their supports. Due to frost and soil settling, the steps, flagstones, paths, decks and your children’s play equipment may have shifted. These pose a potential hazard for your family. Sidewalks may also have cracked and sections separated. Note the location of these problem sections and get them fixed as soon as the ground has warmed.


Look up and look below at your vents. Ensure that air and heat vents are clear. Remove built-up leaves, debris and soil. Cut back shrubs that might prove to be a problem during summer months.


While looking up, inspect your roof for loose shingles and eavestroughs that are plugged or loose. This is a good time to ensure that downspouts won’t direct water around your foundation. In places where it does drain out, plant shrubs or a garden to absorb the extra water.


The next step on your list it to take a look at your chimneys. Look for damaged, loose and bulging bricks. Get an inspector to check it over and have a cleaning done inside as well. Brick walls should also be in good order without white staining or cracks in the mortar.


When the weather signals it’s warming up, your storm windows can be removed and your screens put up. Look around window frames for cracking paint, lose caulking and warping frames.


Inspect inside your home too. Your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be checked and new batteries put in. Your fire extinguishers should be filled as well.


Spring sometimes means flooding. In the basement, put your valuables on raised shelves. Put down tiles on the floors and impermeable flood-wall finishes.


As a final step, have your furnace inspected and its humidifier turned off.


Spring is a time of new beginnings. Take a few easy steps to make your home a source of pride for the new season.