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Paying attention to just a few extremely important outside maintenance tasks can eliminate costly repairs caused by moisture/water problems.

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Spring cleaning is as American as apple pie. We welcome being outside, but sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the tasks at hand or would rather just have fun. To ensure peace of mind and prevent water problems or other types of home damage, there are a few tasks that must be addressed.

Gutters
Without proper upkeep, trapped moisture can make a home prone to moss and mildew and cause water damage to the roof and walls. Although gutter maintenance is usually done in the fall, double your protection and also do it in the spring. Are the gutters detached from the building? Make sure there are no critter nests. Check gutters for debris that may have clogged downspouts during the winter season. Look for loose granules from your shingles. It could signal that your roof needs repair/replacement. While on the ladder or on the ground, give your entire roof a look (binoculars?) for curled/missing shingles, rusted/pitted flashing and cracked caulk around pipe collars or skylights. Anything suspicious may require a SAFE/SECURED walk on the roof for verification. Do not forget the downspouts – make sure they are clear. Consider gutter guards (not expensive and fairly easy to install).

Windows
Check the screens for holes. Ensure that your windows are sealed. You want water out and plenty of fresh air coming in. Caulking or weather sealing may need replacing. Wash the windows and screens to give you a wonderful view of the outside. To limit wear and tear, consider removing your screens and storing them for the winter.

Outside faucets
A spigot left undrained or unprotected during the winter may have cracked by freezing, creating a possible leak in the wall. If you suspect a water problem, investigate thoroughly inside your home. Take the time to inspect all your inside plumbing – particularly in the basement – where you spend less time. Make it a practice in the fall to shut off the valve leading to the outside faucet.

Do these tasks and you will have peace of mind and feel good about the look and condition of your home. Your home is a reflection of your personality and the pride you show will be shared with friends, family and neighbors. You waited all winter to get outside, so go and enjoy!

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