Sprucing Up for Spring

April 2024

article by stephanie hobby | photos by nathan satran

Montana winters can be harsh on a house, and it’s best to get in front of needed repairs before you face a potentially much bigger issue. Spring is a perfect time to take stock of any damage, so get ready to roll up your sleeves for some maintenance work and know when to call the pros.  

When to DIY 

Contractor Brad Krupa, owner of Simply Modern, LLC, encourages homeowners to start by taking a slow walk around the outside of their house and doing the following: 

  • Look for missing or damaged roof shingles, flaking paint, missing panels on siding or exterior woodwork, and cracks in or pooling water near the foundation. 
  • Inspect decks and patios; paint and reseal as necessary. 
  • Pressure wash the house's exterior, patio, deck, and driveway. 
  • Check screens for holes or tears and replace them now to keep bugs out later. 
  • Check your gutters and clear out debris if you can reach them safely. 
  • Ensure downspouts are pointed away from your foundation. 
  • Not a DIY, but how’s the septic tank? Are you due for a pump?  
  • Check weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors; if damage is minor, you can handle this yourself. 
  • Hose down your external AC unit and clear of any brush or debris. 
  • Inspect copper pipes and electrical lines running from the AC unit into the house, ensure the caulking is still intact, and replace it if not. If you use a window AC unit, now is a great time to wash it thoroughly. 

Inside, you can keep your house in great shape by doing the following:  

  • Inspect your attic, crawl spaces, or basement for signs of leaks or mold.  
  • When you turn on your hoses and sprinklers for the first time, ensure no pipes are broken and water is not running into your basement. 
  • Change your air filters monthly. 
  • Check smoke detectors. 
  • Vacuum coils behind your refrigerator. 
  • Clear lint and debris from the back of washers and driers. 
  • Wash upholstery and drapes. 
  • Thoroughly wash windows. 
  • Seal bathroom and kitchen grout. 
  • Deep clean your oven.  
  • Replace caulking around windows and in the kitchen and bathroom. 
  • Clean light fixtures. 

When to Call the Pros 

It’s important to know when to call for help; if you start to work on any of the above-mentioned DIY projects and encounter a bigger problem, it’s usually more cost-effective to stop and address the issue with a pro rather than risk inflicting more damage.  

If you see signs of leaks or mold in your attic, basement, or crawl spaces, contact a restoration company immediately. Sonya Scheetz, business development manager for Alpha Omega Restoration Company, says the number one issue that brings people to their business in the spring is water damage. “A lot of what we see in the winter and spring is ice damming that occurs on roofs,” she said. After a heavy winter storm, snow melts, freezes, and potentially traps moisture under the shingles. This trapped moisture can lead to all kinds of issues in the attic, including mold, which can spread into the ceiling. 

To keep your HVAC systems in optimal shape and extend the life of your unit, have a professional service your system at least yearly. Jeffrey Scherr, owner of Comfort Heat and Air Conditioning, says that keeping your AC unit clean and cared for is key to extending the life and effectiveness of a unit. “If the coils aren’t clean, the energy transfer doesn’t take place as well as it should,” he said. “It may not cool as well, and may have to run longer and harder, and probably uses more electricity to provide that cooling. If it’s severely dirty, you could also potentially damage the unit.” The best time to evaluate your system is in April or May, or when the temperatures reach the 60s, to give yourself plenty of time if you need a service call before really hot weather strikes.  

And while it’s cliche, in this case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. “It’s always important to take care of all the smaller issues with your home right away because typically those smaller issues will cause a domino effect and lead into bigger issues,” Krupa said.  

Originally printed in the April 2024 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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